One of the things which may surprise foreigners who came to Japan is the high rate of Japanese businessman who wear suits.
Even in hot summer, cold winter, commuting time trains are full of suit salary men.
Everyone is wearing dark brown pants, white or light-colored shirts, and a jacket tightly, tightening a tie.
Even in cities around the world such as Bangkok, Jakarta, New York and London, if you see several Asian people wearing a suit together, that would definitely be Japanese businessmen.
Probably, there are many people who feel weird or curious when seeing Japanese people wearing suit anywhere in the world.
Women are wearing free clothes, but men have overwhelmingly suits. In this time, I will explore why Japanese like to wear suit all the time.
Suit History in Japan
Speaking of Japanese people, many people in the world have image of “samurai” and a “ninja”. But since when did it come to wear a suit rather than a samurai fashion or a ninja fashion?
It is said that suit culture in Japan came in after the American ship came to Japan in 18, which was isolating at that time, and pressed for opening the country. However, there were still many Japanese wearing traditional clothes in fact. Speaking of that time, “Suit” was a three pieces suit of British, American, French products.
After that, in the Taisho era (1912 -), the style of men’s suit is also generalized, and eventually it will change to Japan’s standard fashion.
By the way, in this era suits were only made-to-order products. It is made in accordance with the body form of each person by craftsmen.
However, after finishing the World War Two (from 1945), with the shift to machine development and industrial automation, the era had been changed to mass production with ready-made products.
From the opening of the country in 1853, due to the rapid transition to Western culture, the understanding of manners about suits culture was delayed, and eventually a unique suit culture in Japan has been built until now.
For example, since the custom of changing clothes according to the time zone is not in Japan, the wearing of morning can be seen well even in the evening wedding, and black suit is widely accepted as a formal suit, but in fact the black suit is only for funeral use from the suits manner perspective. Japan actually have many unique suits culture built in itself.
Do not want to think about fashion on busy morning.
Japan is also famous for its unique fashion. For example Lolita, Visual, etc.
But not all Japanese are particular about fashion. There are plenty of Japanese people who are not interested in clothes that they wear.
For such Japanese people, it is troublesome to think “what should I wear today? Which pants look good? Which color will suits on this pants …?” in the very busy morning.
They do not want to take time to make decisions for daily fashion.
Like Steve Jobs wearing Issei Miyake’s black turtleneck and Levis jeans, New Balance sneakers to save decision-making opportunities,
Japanese people are wearing white shirts, dark colored pants and jackets, and leather shoes.
From among the options of “suit” hanging in the closet, just by wearing the one which hand reached, it looks professional, nor does the negotiating partner feel bad. My colleagues have nothing to say about my fashion.
From the viewpoint of comfort, you may think wearing suit is nonsense in a hot summer,
however for many Japanese, who care much about how they are seen from others, suit is the easiest and best choice from the viewpoint of efficiency, impression and cost-saving.
Recent business fashion trends in Japan
As Japanese recent trends for business fashion style, it is also true that casual style is beginning to be popular these days. Even in famous large companies “casual wearing jeans” campaign has been installed. The fact that the number of foreigners working in Japan is increasing may also be affecting.
No-tie culture has already penetrated in Japan. Since summer in Japan has become unusually hot due to global warming, “Cool Biz” was introduced led by the government in 2005, and recently it is normal not to wear a tie in office in winter as well as in summer. Still, there are many Japanese people leave ties in offices or putting them in bags just in case for sudden appointment with customers. (It is very “Japanese” who takes the impression from customers as important)
Besides, creative professionals such as engineers and designers originally do not wear a suit. Suits are preferred for occupations that need to appeal “reliability” and “professionalism”, such as bankers and salespeople of manufacturers, rather than “creative” jobs.
So you do not have to wear a suit just because you are in Japan. Just more people thinks that a suit is the best choice in Japan than in other countries. It may be said that the culture that often tends to emphasize “thinking about other people’s feelings” is more influential than “comfort of one’s own” affect this Japanese suit culture.