Jul 13, 2018

Challenges With Body Image in Japan

Many women these days these days seem to be struggling with body image...and I am no exception. When I first came to Japan, I struggled a lot, but lately it has gotten a little better.

I come from America, where people are much bigger than women in Japan. Back home, I am considered thin, but healthy. I am about 55kg, I go to the gym and do pilates. In general, I had a decent body image in America. 

Challenges With Body Image in Japan photo

When I came to Japan my body image plummeted. Women are way thinner here. I go to the gym with one of my friends who is maybe an 3cm shorter than me, and she is 45kg. That is a huge difference. I of course know that they have a different build, but it is still a hard pill to swallow. Not to mention, when I open up the exercise magazines, the goal weight they have listed for a girl my height is 47kg, which would never be possible for me in a healthy way.

Challenges With Body Image in Japan photo

I generally look bigger in every photo. Also my height is not that different; I am wearing heels.

Going to clothing shopping at first was hard as well. My sizes are smaller in America. Not to mention, sometimes I can fit the skirts or pants over my hips, which are quite large. Even now, when I try something on and this happens it immediately hurts my self image. I have gotten better at coping with it now. 

Many things are helping me get through this. Part of it is talking to other foreigners who are feeling the same way about it. Another thing that has helped me is realizing that the Japanese health standard does not include muscles. Back in America, toning and muscles are important and they are the goal for many women including me. On the other hand, in Japan, most girls just do cardio, they do not want muscles. And lastly, I am working on valuing myself for other reasons.

If anyone else living in Japan is struggling with this and they need someone to talk to about it, please shoot me a message! 

You are beautiful!



Teacher, Traveler, Dancer -
Currently living in Gifu -
I love Japan, dance, cats, food, and fashion!