This is a response to my last blog… by my friend who worked for a Japanese multi-national company in Tokyo…
The shabby (I would say shiny) suits haven’t changed. I think it’s grossly unfair to call them shabby (particularly from you, John – dearie me, that’s rich) as these are a Western-influenced “uniform” all salarymen wear to look the part and have nothing to do with quality.
Japanese salarymen and women do not judge each other by how they dress in Western clothes, they judge each other by how they dress at home and at festival times when they spare no expense to buy the correct, quality clothing and accessories.
The other point to mention is that Japanese clothing and indeed culture in general is all about understatement. Minimalism. Less is more. So even the gorgeous kimonos can look very plain in subdued colours to the untutored eye, it’s the texture of the fabric and the particular shade of grey or brown that is important, the quality of the weave and so on.
So they don’t see a need to dress up as dandies and you’d never find New York stock exchange braces or pink polka dot ties and button- down collars. They act and dress collectively not individually. Their strength is in their unity and their sameness.
That’s also how they get through disasters.