Photo: aqr | PIXTA

Dress more motherly? Japanese TV talent, single mom Kuran rejects criticism of revealing photos

By grape Japan

The illustration we used for this article depicts three women which the stock photo service PIXTA has captioned "fashionably dressed mothers." This reveals a certain expectation about the limits of acceptable fashion for mothers.

But what happens when a mother decides to go outside of those rather staid "limits" and wear something that embraces their sexuality? Some people get critical.

Japanese TV talent and single mother Kuran Kusakari, daughter of famous actor Masao Kusakari, has recently been in the media spotlight for speaking out against this kind of criticism in reaction to photos she posted on her Instagram account. On Sept 21, Kuran posted the following photo in her car wearing jeans and a revealing top.

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 9.21.32.png

In the tweet, she writes:

"Recently, I've been getting a lot of comments and direct messages telling me to: 'Dress in a more motherly way.'

To begin with, what is a 'motherly look'?...

What kind of clothes does that correspond to?

Who decided it?

Are you no longer able to wear the clothes you want to wear when you become a mother?

When you become a mother, are you no longer allowed to wear clothes that show cleavage?

Who is it whose ideas ended up becoming the common view of so many people?

I think it's really cool to wear the clothes you like and to be fashionable in a way that's true to yourself.

What exactly is the 'image of a mother'?

I personally like clothes with a plunging neckline.

Not only that, but I also think strapless dresses are very pretty so I like them.

I dress up when I go out with my daughter, I wear a boyish look when I go to the park, and a blouse when I go to work.

I like to choose different clothes to wear depending on the time and place.

That's who I am!"

This provoked positive reactions from her fans such as:

  • You tell them! There's too much pressure in Japan to "be a certain way"!
  • The criticism must be from other women who are jealous of your figure! Don't pay attention to them. You're great the way you are!
  • Don't be fashionable once you become a mother? What a joke! It doesn't matter if you're a wife or a mother. Wearing your favorite clothes and putting on makeup makes you feel good and gives you energy to do what you need to (...)
  • I think those people who go around saying "Be more motherly" are totally uncool.

Taking a look at Kuran's Instagram account shows her having a great time with her daughter and looking sexy and fashionable while she's at it:

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 9.23.34.png

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 9.24.44.png

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 9.25.21.png

The stereotyped notion that a mother can't be sexy is hardly limited to Japan. In fact, Kuran's message is very similar to one posted by author, director, and screenwriter Kelly Oxford two years ago: "I get so annoyed when people say, 'You don’t look like a mom.' What’s a mom supposed to look like? This is a Mom."

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 9.26.39.png
Photo: @kellyoxford

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© grape Japan

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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seems her idea of “fashion” is anything that draws direct and immediate attention to her chest.

but hey it’s her choice and I agree with what she says.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

My mum dressed like that so I was really embarrassed and grew up to never want to dress like her. So my mum dresses "younger" than me. XD

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Japan is a culture that unconsciously adopts a uniform even when it's not strictly required. Riding a train you can immediately ascertain which age group a person fits into, their socio-economic class, and whether they are country or city folk. Just as you can tell whether a group of men has come from a business meeting, a funeral or a wedding based on the color palette of their ties. This uniformity is much more noticeable and restrictive for women than it is for men whose suits are pretty much the same but for quality and price.

All my Japanese women friends have an innate sense of what they should wear appropriate to their age and what they should avoid. I never think about it. I never avoid a certain look or shade because it is "too young." They do. And they especially avoid clothes that are form-fitting or revealing. Normally a tank top like Kusakari's has a t-shirt under it. That Kusakari is getting nailed for her atypical style is no surprise.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

She can wear what she damn well likes, and to be honest, looks good in the clothes that she has chosen. If she is comfortable in them and they make her look and feel good, that's what matters The fact that she is a mother is irrelevant.

Japan just seems to have an obsession with 'uniforms' whether official or not. People are expected to look a certain way so they can be identified as belonging to a certain group. I.E Salarymen, housewives with aprons at the supermarket, white gloves if you are doing physical work, politicians in work clothes when visiting construction/reconstruction sites etc.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Nice car.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This is soooooo Japanese in its sexism. And disgusting, to boot!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If nothing else, it's good to see her baby won't be starving any time soon.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Decades ago I was surprised to see female friends who dressed 'young' up until the day after they got married. Then they dressed 'married.' Like a uniform for married women who, yesterday, were young and fun.

Like the day after Christmas here in Japan and everything Christmasy is zip-slap! gone.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Ugh, dress with more class please.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

This is soooooo Japanese in its sexism. And disgusting, to boot!

I reckon the vast majority of negative comments will be from other women, which would be very "Japanese in its sexism". Women putting another woman down. See Shiori Ito etc.

A good number of Japanese men pay to drink next to a woman dressed like that in a snack bar. I don't think they have a problem with that look.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

You don’t look like a mom.' What’s a mom supposed to look like? 

There's a 21st century online dirty acronym about mother's looks I won't add here.

This is a totally bogus and outdated fashion 'advice'. Let the women decide for themselves! This IS the 21st century, isn't it? It seems that some haven't evolved beyond the 1950s and that's pathethic.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Actually more mothers could do with dressing like her.....

7 ( +9 / -2 )

let the person wear what she wants, we're not in a communist state where even your hairstyle is regulated. There's a mother in her 50's in my neighborhood who has the same style of clothing of her 20-something daughters and have heard the grannies talk behind her back about it. to each their own.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Women have the right to dress any way your want at any time. I once asked a J-mom why she went from vixen to nun after having a kid, though. She replied that she was just too tired to dress up, apply make up while juggling a kid, house work and lazy husband (which counts as 1 more kid) which makes total sense. My friend's wife, no kids, totally lost the high skills, mini-skirts and make up after marriage...go figure.....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If you look good, show it. If the dress fits, wear it. If other people don't like it, time to flip them something.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Will she be upset when JAL greets her with "Good Morning" and not as a Lady? Is the real question.

I like her in the first top most.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


seems her idea of “fashion” is anything that draws direct and immediate attention to her chest.

but hey it’s her choice and I agree with what she says.

Absolutely, and why not? She knows what looks good, let her enjoy flaunting it. The daughter looks happy and healthy, that is all that counts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I see NO reason to expose the child too, she can expose all she wants of her own body, but NOT the poor child.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's controversial? Really? There were a couple of girls in my 6th grade class showing as much cleavage as that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I like cleavage of course as a man. But I don't show off on social media with my big ... and large... I am just educated.

I have a niece doing so. For sure she won't get soon a job where high responsibilities are expected.

Everyone's choice we agree but there are consequences.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She will be hated more by the nationalist oyajis for having foreign blood. They will blame of her foreign background to pollute the pure Japanese cultures.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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