See-through skirts from Japan: fad or fiction? Last month, an Australian newspaper reported that skirts with thongs painted on the derriere are the latest fashion craze to hit the streets of Tokyo. Subsequently, according to major international newspapers, photos of Japanese women supposedly sporting the risqué garments were circulated widely in an e-mail that claimed, “What you see below are skirts made to look as if the panties are visible—they are the current rage in Japan.”
Last month, however, media outlets were in a flurry after the images were determined to be a hoax. Japan-based street-fashion photographer Kjeld Duits claims that these pictures—photoshopped to perfection—are regular fare in porn magazines. Worldwide credulity and the enthusiasm of Western business moguls to import the fake trend, however, highlights the larger cultural issue of the “Asian Fetish.” Harvard-Radcliffe Japan Society spokesperson and Student Activities Council representative Sae Takada ’03 says, “I think it’s appalling how eagerly people believed it—it shows how Japanese pop culture, especially Japanese women, are exoticised in the eyes of the Western world.”
Regardless, Allison T. Tanenhaus ’05, co-president of the Harvard Fashion Design Club, is excited. “They are HOT,” she declares. “But I feel kind of shafted since I’ve been walking around with the real thing. On Fridays, I wear skirts with holes cut out to show off my undies.” But reports are that at least one importer has started to make the skirts, so keep on the look-out, because they just might be coming to a store near you.