Aug 27, 2021
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Japanese women are looking to Korea for style inspiration

Aug 27, 2021

Korean style, as worn by K-pop icons, is having the biggest inspiration on what women are wearing on the streets of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.

According to a recent study conducted among users of the Rakuten*-owned Rakuma marketplace application in Japan, Korean fashion is by far the most influential when it comes to the style of Japanese women, from all generations (or nearly), ahead of the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and China. 

The breakdown indicates that more than three quarters of Japanese girls and teenagers aged 10 to 20 (77%) answered Korea to the question "Which country besides Japan do you reference the most when it comes to fashion?" Japanese women in their 20s (57%), 30s (36%), 40s (24%), and 60s (22%) also see Korea as a must-have fashion reference. Only those in their 50s place France at the top of the list of most influential countries in terms of style (23.5%), but Korea remains in the top three (21%). Note that for Japanese women aged 10 to 40, it is the United States that gets second place in the ranking.

American style is a reference for men

For Japanese men, style references come straight from the United States, and this for all age groups with at least 40% of votes. In second position, is Korean fashion for the youngest, the 10-20 year-olds (29%) and the 20-30 year-olds (14%), while Italian style takes second place for Japanese men aged 30 and more. And when asked to name the most inspiring celebrities when it comes to style, men said Japanese singer Takuya Kimura, then K-pop group BTS, as well as Japanese comedian George Tokoro.

The study looked at the reasons why respondents chose a particular country as a fashion reference. The verdict: Korean fashion is unanimously appreciated by men and women of all age groups because it is accessible and easy to find (65%), while the appeal for American fashion is mainly explained by the fact that it allows Japanese to express their own personalities. Finally, French and Italian brands are deemed trustworthy by Japanese consumers.

* This survey was conducted by Rakuten's "Rakuma" nationwide on July 1 and 2, 2021, among a sample of 5,124 users, including 3,896 women and girls and 1,228 men and boys over the age of 10.

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