07 August 2009

Tokyo preggos go nude

It's hard to believe that back in 2006, the image of Britney 'doing a Demi' for Harper's Bazaar was actually banned from display in Tokyo subway stations for being 'too stimulating'. A censored version with a big black band hovering over Brit's bump was used instead.

Being naked and pregnant, however, has suddenly become more popular with Japanese women. Apparently, a Japanese pop star called Hitomi posed naked and pregnant in an album photo in June 2008. According to local media, the picture was displayed on large billboards over busy streets in Tokyo and the related photo book became a bestseller, selling more than 10,000 copies in its first week of publication.

Now mums-to-be pay around 35,000 yen ($368.20) for a studio photo shoot, which takes less than two hours in "Ixchel."

"Before this boom, women didn't know where to go to take these kinds of pictures even though they wanted to. Because of media attention, they easily found our studio," said Natsuko Takada, the owner of photo studio "Ixchel."

This is really interesting because when I was in Tokyo in January 2007 I found absolutely no images of Japanese pregnant women who were showing skin. Maternity clothes were really dowdy and all of the parenting/pregnancy magazines targeted to young women used cartoons and other really childish images to talk about being a mother. Being a 'sexy' mum was definitely not culturally appropriate. Interestingly, as I noted in a post at the time, the only images of motherhood that were even remotely 'racy' were of Euro-American pregnant models.

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.