Japan's Face Fetish : A Museum Spotlights the New National Obsession

By Itoi, Kay | Newsweek International, September 27, 1999 | Go to article overview

Japan's Face Fetish : A Museum Spotlights the New National Obsession


Itoi, Kay, Newsweek International


With a click of the mouse, Misa Kondo gives herself bigger eyes. Click, click. Now she has a smaller nose. The 11-year-old stands back and admires her new image on the computer screen inside Tokyo's National Science Museum. "I could look this cute with only a few changes!" she exclaims. Misa's 9-year-old sister, Kimiko, leans over the monitor, waiting impatiently for her turn. Their mom, Hiroko, glances nervously at the long line of people behind them, worried that her daughters are monopolizing the virtual cosmetic-surgery booth. "This is the first time my children did not get bored within 10 minutes at the science museum," she says.

The display holding them in thrall is the centerpiece of the most talked- about show in town: the "Grand Face Exhibition." Since it opened in late July, the show has attracted more than 120,000 visitors with its colorful and interactive exhibits on the human face. In addition to creating their ideal look, visitors can study facial musculature, see life and death masks of famous leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon Bonaparte, learn how Japanese faces have evolved over the centuries and even get a few makeup tips.

The show's popularity taps into a growing Japanese obsession with facial expressiveness. Talking about faces, especially among men, used to be taboo in Japan. "What counts is the mind, not the face," goes an old saying. But recently facial studies have been the subject of dozens of new books, TV shows and magazine articles. The world's only Academy of Facial Studies was founded in Japan four years ago, and now boasts more than 700 active members, including dentists, psychologists, anthropologists, computer scientists and makeup artists. "Japanese now think that a face is an important communications tool they have traditionally not been trained to use," says Hiroshi Harashima, a University of Tokyo professor and director of the academy.

Indeed, the image of the poker-faced Japanese stoic is as outdated as the all-mighty Japanese economy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Japan's Face Fetish : A Museum Spotlights the New National Obsession
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.