June is the start of the rainy season in Japan, so we’re about to start seeing a lot more umbrellas popping open. That doesn’t mean they’ll be going away once we get into the dryer weather of the second half of the summer, though. We’ll just start seeing more people in Japan carrying parasols instead.
Well, we’ll start seeing more women in Japan carrying parasols, anyway. The vast majority of the male population will be toughing it out under the punishing rays of the midsummer midday sun, as parasols are still widely seen as a feminine way to stay in the shade. That image nay be changing, though, if a recent survey is anything to go by.
First off, let’s talk about the design of parasols in present-day Japan. While the word “parasol” might bring to mind images of dainty things with lacy decorative accouterments, most parasols sold in Japan are of a pretty reserved design. The material used is selected more for its UV-blocking properties than its ability to hold up under the impact of pounding rain, but otherwise they’re pretty much normal umbrellas, as you can see with the parasol pictured below.
You can also find parasols with even more understated designs such as solid black or navy blue, that are visually indistinguishable from the umbrellas carried by countless Japanese men during rainstorms. Manufacturers sometimes market these as “parasols for men,” but are men willing to use them?
That question was part of a recent survey by Men’s Rize, a chain of men’s hair removal clinics, which conducted a survey collecting responses from a total of 660 Japanese men in their teens, 20s, 30, and 40s. 64.3 percent of them said they worry about the effects of UV rays on their skin, and an overwhelming majority of them, 79.7 percent, said they support the idea of men using parasols to keep the sun off of them.
The breakdown by age group for respondents in favor of men’s parasols was:
● Teens: 89.6 percent
● 20s: 76.4 percent
● 30s: 80 percent
● 40s: 72,7 percent
This probably isn’t a guarantee that we’re going to suddenly start seeing eight out of ten dudes in Japan popping open parasols this summer, though. In Japan, protecting your skin from UV rays is still more widely thought of as a cosmetic preference than a health concern. With the survey being conducted by a hair removal clinic, odds are the respondents are men who are already more concerned with their personal appearance than the average Japanese guy. Still, it shows that there’s a lot of support for men’s parasols in at least one subset of the male demographic, so it could be a sign of things to come.
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