It's my observation about how women are expected to behave in the society in Japan. Some are outdated that they have already become a joke, but most of the part is still alive. This text was written around the time I moved to Holland. It became the basis for the perfume series Perfect Japanese Woman that I created for the exhibition OTENBA.
-MANUAL- HOW TO BECOME A "PERFECT" JAPANESE WOMAN
[1. GENERAL MANNER]
1.1. Smile all the time.
1.2. Smile cute.
1.3. Don't show your emotions too much.
1.4. Don't be opinionated too much. Behave as an innocent being. Follow men always faithfully.
1.5. Don't show your cleverness too much, but it is important to be clever not to make any mistake on following things which are written here.
1.6. Care and stay attentive to people around you all the time.
1.7. Be nice and generous to the people around you all the time.
1.8. Create the nice and soft atmosphere while talking, discussing, speaking.
1.9. Speak Japanese Language in woman's style. (There is quite a big difference between man's Japanese and woman's Japanese.)
1.10. Don't talk loud. Speak softly.
1.11. Don't smoke.
1.12. Don't wind.
1.13. Don't belch.
1.14. Don't pick your nose.
1.15. Don't yawn without putting your hand over your mouth.
1.16. Don't laugh too loud, but laugh softly. If you want to laugh loud, then put your hand over your mouth.
1.17. Don't appeal your sexuality too much but stay sexy: Don't wear too tight trousers, because men could see through the line of your panty. Don't wear the white shirts with dark-colourd brassiere, because men could see through your bra, which is considered too sexy.
1.18. Don't make-up in the public space. Go to a toilet when you do it.
1.19. Show your weakness. Don't try to carry a heavy suitcase by yourself,
try to ask men to help you. That will make your impression cute.
1.20. Sit in woman's style. Bend your knees, and don't open your legs.
1.21. When you stairs up, be careful not to let anybody see your panty.
1.22. Don't walk bandy-legged.
[2. BODY CARE AND FASHION]
2.1. Shave your legs.
2.2. Shave under your arms.
2.3. Shave your chin.
2.4. Keep your skin as smooth as possible.
2.5. Keep your skin as white as possible. Don't let it sun tanned.
2.6. Wash your face every morning and evening. After washing the face, put the cosmetic water (called "keshousui") and then milky cream (called "nyuueki"), and on the top, put UV-cut foundation. Pack your face once in a while.
2.7. A liver spot on your skin is evil.
2.8. Put make-up on always.
2.9. Make up your hairs too.
2.10. Keep your sole soft and clean.
2.11. Wear skirts.
2.12. Use the feminine color like pink efficiently in your fashion.
[3. SANITARY CARE]
3.1. Carry tissues or a handkerchief all the time with you. Be ready to use it when it is needed.
3.2. Take a bath everyday and keep yourself clean.
3.3. The impression of 'clean' is important.
3.4. Don't let any man suspect when you have a period. Off course don't even tell him that you have a period.
4.1. Don't let anybody suspect that you are going to the toilet. It will damage men's fantasy for women: "oh my god... how could such a lovely beautiful lady pee and poop...!" , for example.
4.2. If you have to excuse yourself, say "Excuse me, but I go to pick up some flowers."
4.3. Don't let anybody hear the sound when you pee/poop. Flush before you start things so that the water sound erases the sound you make. A lot often each room has a speaker which makes an fake water sound, so use this one to be ecological friendly.
[5. AT THE OFFICE]
5.1. Make a tea or a coffee for men always. You offer before being asked.
5.2. Don't say your opinion.
5.3. Don't show your ability of work too much; always respect a man;Remember that you are a woman and stay smile, patient, passive, then you will never get fired from companies.
6.1. If you've bought some toilet papers, then you should put them in a bag, not to make it too obvious that you carry toilet papers with you. Be aware that holding toilet papers is not for perfect Japanese woman.
6.2. If you buy some napkins or tampons at the convenience store like Seven Eleven, and if a man is working at the checking counter, be aware that he would be shamed to touch them. Better to avoid it, and look for another convenient store. But if it is urgent, get something else as well, for example,
drinks. He would be educated to wrap napkins/tampons separately in a non-transparent paper bag.
[7. AT HOME]
7.1. Cook always. Women have to cook. Don't even ask men to cook. Follow the cooking book not to make any mistakes.
7.2. Do the houseworks proper. Be ready before your husband comes back home.
7.3. When your husband comes back home, ask first "Would you like to eat now or take a bath first?"
7.4. Perform an ideal housewife for your husband. Marriage for men is often all about this fantasy.
8.1. Stay passive like a beautiful doll.
8.2. Don't finish the whole dish. Always leave some food on the plate. That will make an impression as a modest girl.
8.3. Be careful about alcohol. Wait for men to suggest you to drink. You may accompany them with drinking, but not too much. Stay sober. Any mistake should not happen.
8.4. Fill men's glass always. It is especially important if you are at the company dinner. Don't ever make their glasses empty. Pour before they finish the glasses. When you pour beer from a bottle, right hand should be on the label of the bottle, and the left hand should hold the top part of the bottle.
8.5. Care and maintain your make-up all the time.
9.1. Don't seduce men. Women are to be seduced. Don't say no when men ask for it.
9.2. Stay passive. Men insert. Don't request too much. Behave like you are feeling good.
9.3. Behave yourself like you are unexperienced and ashamed as if you are virgin. Men have a big fantasy for virgins.
9.4. Make a sexy voice.
(ver.2 June 19, 2002 Maki Ueda)