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Why aren't sunglasses as popular in Japan as they are in Western countries?

21 Comments

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21 Comments
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I wear them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Because "white people's eyes are weak" or so I've heard many times from Japanese people who seem keen to point that "fact" out...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"white people's eyes are weak" or so I've heard many times from Japanese people who seem keen to point that "fact" out...

Well in my case it is a fact, not a "fact". Got a collection of sunglasses that serve me well in summer glare and the current winter crystal-brightness. People comment that I'm 'fashionable' to wear sunglasses all year round. I'm not. I need them.

Though it's not so much 'white people's eyes' as 'baby blue eyes'.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Though it's not so much 'white people's eyes' as 'baby blue eyes'.

We have a BINGO! Folks.

The sun can give me a slight head pain at times, but I don't make it habit to put them on as soon as I walk out the door. And they are totally useless for me when driving because of all the tunnels on the highway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Photophobia is real so there is no question some ppl 'need' sunglasses.

Having said that, there's also no doubt a substantial number of westerners wear sunnies 24/7 cause it's 'cool' (well they reckon it is). Perso, I can't stand ppl who wear sunnies ALL the time (dark day/rain/indoors/night etc) or, even worse, wear them on the forehead/top of the head 24/7 (white oakleys being obviously the worst!!).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Some sports coaches in Japan ban their kids from wearing them. I think they are still banned at Koshien, and tennis coaches don't like them either. Something about "disrespectful to your opponent" or other such handed down never-question-sempai logic. I'm sure the Koshien people couldn't give two hoots about baseball's greatest hero Ichiro Suzuki wearing sunnies all the time.

I suppose we should just be grateful "having a drink makes you weak" has seen its day.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well in my case it is a fact, not a "fact". Got a collection of sunglasses that serve me well in summer glare and the current winter crystal-brightness. People comment that I'm 'fashionable' to wear sunglasses all year round. I'm not. I need them.

I'm a bit like that too. The bright sun affects me terribly... and if the sun's shining after a little rain that's the worst for me. Also hate the brightness in drugstores and cosmetics areas of department stores. If it's too bright I walk right out. Still got basically 20/20 vision though... so I wouldn't say my eyes are weak.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just been looking at buying new sunnies this afternoon after mine broke a couple of days ago.

Driving in bright sunshine was no fun yesterday.

Absolutely need them as I suffer from the same problem as Cleo - baby blue eyes.

Talking to the shop staff today about lenses - smoky  vs  brown  vs  yellow  vs red  vs  green  vs  blue....

was enough to give me a headache.

I'd like to buy 5 pairs for the varying conditions, but...!

And on the topic of the title question - years ago a friends friend said straight out to me - "We Japanese don't need sunglasses because we've got black eyes". I guess that's the reason then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's true that light color eyes seem to be more sensitive to sunlight, but a lot of the aversion to them in Japan goes back to when they were associated with Yakuza. Not so much anymore but I remember people telling me that when I would wear them when I first got to Japan some 40 odd years ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Like Cleo, I have blue eyes which are sensitive to the harsh Japanese sun, even in winter. I wear contact lenses with a UV filter to protect my cataracts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I need sunglasses, my eyes are green and can't handle the glare.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Because many still think that they look like a Chinese mafia when they wear them, a double whammy! You get the "I'd like to wear them , but cant" statement from many Japanese people, which I've always thought is pish weak. I guess they haven't hit that critical mass yet, so the nail in sunglasses is still sticking out.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

so I wouldn't say my eyes are weak.

Exactly. And what defines 'weak'? I like to wear sunglasses because it seems that I'm always trapped indoors in some poorly lit place ever since I moved to Japan. My eyes never get a chance to get used to the bright sun outside.

I am nearing a respectable age and only recently I was unable to read the very smallest line in the eye test (was pretty tired at the time though). I see many more Japanese at my age struggling with their eyesight.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Because sunglasses, like many other things in Japan, are twice the price they are back home?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It ain't just blue eyes either ya'll! Don't be discriminatin' against us folk that have light brown, green or hazel eyes!

I went to an ophthalmologist to have my eyes checked out and found out "officially" what I had know for a number of years, my eyes are light sensitive I wear sunglasses when driving on rainy days!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Years ago, some Japanese colleagues told me that sunglasses are not common here because they tend to have a small nose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because sunglasses, like many other things in Japan, are twice the price they are back home?

We're not all from the same "home". You'll find quite a bit of price variation, if you take the trouble to remember that other countries exist.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I suffer from the same problem as Cleo - baby blue eyes

It isn't a problem, it's a feature. :-)

And don't go getting upset Yubaru - light brown, green and hazel are also features!

(Personally, I'm a pushover for green...)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We're not all from the same "home". You'll find quite a bit of price variation, if you take the trouble to remember that other countries exist.

Thanks for pointing this out. It should be obvious but there seems to be a lot of assumptions that "we" are a homogenous mass who all hail from the same neck of the woods!

That low winter sun does cry out for a pair of shades to have handy...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Japanese black eyes and their eye shape have evolved to be more resistant to light. They can definitely take more sunlight than I can.

Also, any good Japanese knows that a guy wearing sunglasses is kind of a bad guy...that goes for facial hair too....bad guy!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Photochemical smog, which diffuses/softens the sunlight, especially in summer. Also, the ozone is thicker here than in my own country, owing to its closer proximity to the equator. I rarely wear sunglasses in Bangkok as well, for example.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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