The return of the real man in Japan
Dandy House is a men’s aesthetic salon that provides muscle toning, massage, diet plans, hair removal, facial treatments and the like for the Japanese gentleman, and the face of the brand for some time has been Kimura Takuya of SMAP.
Dandy House have just released their new campaign with ‘Kimu Taku’s and the way it represents masculinity reinforces something we’ve been sensing for a while at Flamingo Tokyo – real men are making a comeback in Japan.
Earlier campaigns featured our hero in full on ‘host’ mode, strolling languidly through diamante corridors of lushness, dressed in a tux, polka dotted silk in his jacket pocket, and a sound track of crooner love music. Confident and seductive also effeminate – think Richard Gere in American Gigolo.
In the new campaign the codes have changed. Dandy House is still about effortless good looks – Kimura mocks the body builder self-improvement ethos at the start – but other than that, things have definitely moved on.
The music’s a high energy dance track. Kimura’s in espadrilles and a cool, slim cobalt blue suit. He’s got a new haircut, a sort of flat top / regent that’s much more Dean Martin than nightclub host. He’s got a pair of aviators AND some clubmasters – two classic Rayban looks in one short commercial. And he’s jumping all over the place, growling, throwing things, leaping over the balcony, and if he is relaxing, it’s in a chair made from animal hide.
And just in case you were still in any doubt that this Kimura is not a ‘herbivore man’ (soushokukei-danshi / 草食系男子) we finally see him wolf down a big piece of meat.
Grrrr…real men eat chicken
The Roppongi Hills lifestyle of expensive suits, enormous bachelor pads, and twice-weekly back massages may be the preserve of relatively few. “Being a man” in this way and its implied confidence and autonomy somehow jeopardizes the Japanese view of human relationships. It is closely related to social status (age, job title, authority, wealth etc) and this isn’t what the average man’s life looks like, by a long stretch. But from its rarefied fantasy-land, Dandy House look to us like they’re telling Japanese guys to get their swerve on again.
Article by Chris Francis
- Article by Chris Francis