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  • Juju Kurihara

The Secret of Japanese Girls´ Bowlegs

The other day, a friend took out a little piece of paper out of his bag and asked me what it was.

It was this,

secret ring 2

​Ashi-yubi Shiikuretto Ringu (Toe secret ring). As far as I could see was they are rings you can put on your big toes and somehow it works to lose weight. So I´ve researched it.

By wearing these ring, it helps you to keep the weight in the centre of the body. Because if you have bowlegs or your pelvis is distorted, your balance is spread outside.

Just wearing these, just fix the posture, not only you can have beautiful straight legs but also you can lose weight. It sounds too simple but I think it´s quite logic.

There are many pages and videos talking about Japanese girls´ walking. Someone even has left a comment saying "They walk like as if they are holding a wee". Unfortunately, it´s true. I cannot say that they walk elegantly.

Here are come example of how Japanese girls walk. Some I think it´s extreme but most of them walk like this.

O legs

So how this odd way of walking started?

Japanese women´s bowlegs has been acknowledged as “womanly”. a Japanese folklorist, Kunio Yanagida (柳田邦男) had written in his book published in 1924 that bowlegs were “known as beautiful woman´s attraction” . He used the word “kyoutai (嬌態)” means sensual atittude towards men. That is to say, bowlegs was the way of expressing of femininity.

Below there are two illustrations of Hisara Tanaka (田中比左良) who was one of the popular cartoonist before the war in Japan. He had drawn many women in that period.

hisara 2

In this sense, bow legs represent Japanese culture and therefore, we can say that the body is also a part of the culture. (reference:

But something I don´t understand. This unpopular way of walking of Japanese girls eventually causes bowlegs which no one likes to have. There are many exercises and treatment goods like "Secret Ring" to fix it. Also this way of walking deformed the pelvis bone and as a consequence, the muscle and the body fat grows un-wanted way.


Maybe it comes from our lifestyle. Japanese kids often sit like this. This way of sitting is called "Onnanoko-zuwari (女の子座り/ girls way of sitting)". I´ve heard that this way, the pelvis opens and causes of bowlegs.


Other possibility is seiza (正座/ sitting on the heels). This is a very traditional way of sitting in Japan. As my family didn´t like me sitting like this, only the occasion I did was at school as a punishment. Sometimes when we forgot to do homework or to bring a textbook, the teachers made us sit seiza at the back of the classroom on the floor during the class. After 5 minutes, my legs go numb, then by the time the class finished, I couldn´t even feel my feet. I either fell over or simply couldn´t stand up suffering from pins and needles...

I have to protest that seiza maybe a part of beautiful tradition but nothing is good about it. It´s painful and deforms girls´ legs.

To be beautiful isn´t so easy, eh.

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27 de mai. de 2023
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