Tokyo: Japanese department stores and other retailers are currently promoting red underclothes, in connection with the arrival next year of the Year of the Monkey, one of the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. Such underwear is available in many types and is enjoying popularity as a lucky item, too.
Monkeys are called “saru” in Japanese, a word that also sounds like “go away.” According to an old saying, wearing red underwear in the Year of the Monkey can make diseases go away.
The women’s underwear section at the Seibu department store’s Ikebukuro main store in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, set up an area promoting about 30 red underwear items, including shorts, in September.
The products feature slogans such as “Yanakoto Saru” (Unhappy things, go away) and “Mayoi Saru” (Indecision, go away).
“Over the last few years, more and more people have bought red underwear for good luck,” said Mariko Nishiyama, a buyer for the section.
According to Nishiyama, more young people wear red underwear at Christmas, while Chinese tourists buy large quantities of red underwear. The store plans to increase its stock of red undergarments toward the year-end season.
Wacoal Corp., an underwear manufacturer in Kyoto, this autumn added belly-warmer bands, leggings, thermal underclothes and pelvis bands for pregnant women to its existing lineup of red underwear products, which already included bras and shorts.
According to an online survey conducted by the company in July asking about perceptions of red underwear, many respondents had a good impression of such garments. The survey covered 1,236 women in their 20s to 70s and allowed respondents to give multiple answers. Of the respondents, 34.7 percent mentioned a “power” association, while 34.1 percent described red underwear as “bringing good luck.”
“As underwear isn’t visible to others, people can choose items with bold designs and colors unlike outer garments,” said an employee in charge of the survey.
Men aren’t excluded from the trend. This autumn, Gunze Ltd. in Osaka launched red briefs and other underclothes for men through its Kaiteki Kobo brand for mass retailers.
Their packages declare that the products are “good luck underwear for the Year of the Monkey.” Some products are sold in gift boxes, too. Red underwear is good for purchasers’ own use and is also suitable as a gift for friends and family members.
Source: The Japan News