Why do some Japanese men carry handbags? 4th attempt

A theory I hadn’t heard before that I recently read in a book about Korea is that it is connected to the wads of cash it is still common to carry around in many Asian countries, making them large wallets rather than handbags. Makes sense, but so did the other three theories I have somewhere elsewhere on this site…

Why does the average middle aged salaryman put up with plastic suits?

Meaning feeling like nylon rather than actually made of plastic- although if it doesn’t say 革 (kawa- leather) on shoes they probably actually are. Some theories:

– Their wives have control of the budget and won’t let them buy anything more expensive
– The clothes retailers know all the money is in youth and women, leaving 洋服の青山 the monopoly position to sell any old crap they like
– Not the most adventurous of market segments, they are scared off by anything that looks young, unfamiliar or foreign
– Most Japanese don’t have the fear of the manmade and artificial that has taken hold in the West, here meaning artificial fabrics but also including things like food additives
– It’s just because all the suits come from China
– They have to be careful not to dress better than their boss

Why is a man’s hakama (very formal kimono worn during weddings) padded to emphasize the belly?

Possible influences:

-Showing your wealth (in the same way as men in some societies show off being able to feed many fat wives)

– The Chinese and Japanese philosophy of your mystic energy (気-ki, or chi in Chinese) being centred on your belly

– Wanting to look like rikishi (sumo wrestlers), the ultimate Japanese men

– Just to make a distinction between the female shape (also in a kimono and with breasts flattened, but with a big obi emphasizing any bumps at the back) and the male shape (obi worn under the belly to emphasize its shape at the front)

– Some kind of cultural universal of manliness that has been lost in the West (see paintings of Henry VIII of England for examples)

Why do young Japanese guys have such girly haircuts etc?

Just like the UK in the 70’s, when macho guys started wearing high heels and make up, the main male fashion leaders in Japan are gay but not out (SMAP etc.)