Sanitary napkins are controversial in Japan: neither baggage movement and anthropomorphic comics cannot eliminate structural uneasiness

Cashier Xiaoqiu

The discussion caused by “bulk sanitary napkins” recently swept Chinese network space. Gender, urban and rural, and socio -economic status have appeared in the point of view of all parties in the form of inseparable forms. This can’t help but remind me of several topics that have also happened around the second half of last year around the sanitary napkin and women’s physiological period. Although the social circumstances of the two countries are not the same, I believe that Japanese cases can bring us some different inspirations regardless of whether they are the rocks of his mountains or the lesson.

Japanese sanitary napkin history

The earliest record of Japan’s female physiological supplies dates back to the Ping An era (794-1185). Some literature records that the “menstrual band” used to absorb menstrual blood was used between nobles at the time. However, more civilian women with more population proportions are obviously not so lucky. Simple equipment made of plant and other materials is still their main choice when dealing with the moon. Accompanied by the humbleness of physiological supplies, there are also social taboos of the society. Perform women in the physiological period can be seen in many rural areas. Like many customs in Japan, these taboos were regarded as violating the “civilization” after the Meiji Restoration and was rigorously abolished by modern countries. The announcement issued by the government in 1872 and 73 clearly prohibited the institutional avoidance of the institutional period of femininity. But it is conceivable that it takes more time to achieve the customs to achieve it. At the same time, women’s physiology has become the target of special training in the eyes of emerging countries because of close connection with modernization. Japanese scholars Hikaru pointed out that under the guidance of the “rich country and strong soldiers”, the Meiji government attaches great importance to the management of women who can “produce” productive forces. For example, the Ministry of Culture issued orders to the girls’ schools in a long time to ask teachers to record the menstrual period and adjust the teaching time of the students.

With the popularity of skimming cotton after the Meiji, the main monthly supplies of Japanese women have also changed from previous materials such as papers to cotton. Similar to the market in the market today can be found in the market. But the real development of the Japanese sanitary napkin industry will wait until the end of the war. In the 1950s, with the dismissal of the control of skimming cotton during wartime, the practice of fixing cotton cloth with rubber bands on underwear began to become popular between women. But this very inconvenient device has greatly limited women’s daily activities. What changes this situation is a ordinary housewife Sakai Takako, who lives in Tokyo. Although Sakai himself has always used the American -made physiological products, she realized that even this more convenient product does not meet the body shape of Japanese women. So she ran around hoping to develop a modern sanitary napkin for Japan. After being rejected by many companies, Sakai successfully persuaded the president of Sanmei Electric Mori Jobi with his social significance. She was sponsored by the latter 100 million funds and became the new company of the new company only 27 years old. In November 1961, Sakai’s company launched Japan’s first throwing sanitary napkin. The company was inspired by the famous Jewish girl Annie in the diary, and named her products and the company as “Annie”. The company also designed a very eye -catching slogan for the product: let you wait for 40 years! Because at this time, KOTEX, a toss -toss sanitary napkin, was pushed out for forty years in the US market in 1921. Annie sanitary napkin was immediately sought after by women. According to a survey cited by the aforementioned scholar, in December 1961 after Annie was released, women who used the product accounted for only 2%of all women in the moon. By 1972, this proportion rose directly to 80%. Although the Annie sanitary napkin has disappeared today due to subsequent business problems. But until now, many Japanese women will use “Annie Day” to imply the arrival of their physiological period.


Annie sanitary napkin advertisement was published in the magazine “Weekly Women” in 1963. The image drawn by the illustrator Okuka Kiyoshi emphasizes the sense of fashion of sanitary napkins. At that time, the special “night sanitary napkin” was also launched.

Behind the development of “Annie”, there are personal efforts of Sakai Takiko and colleagues, but at the same time, it is indispensable for more macro structural factors. An obvious reason is naturally the social participation of Japanese women’s continuous improvement. In the period of high -speed economic growth, women have begun to bear increasingly important responsibilities regardless of their families and workplaces. The inconvenience caused by the inconvenience caused by the fixed sanitary products fixed with rubber bands cannot naturally meet their needs. Another potential reason that is easy to be ignored is the popularization of toilets in Japanese society. Whether it is the previously fabricated sanitary napkin or imported disposable products, it cannot directly adapt to the newly born automatic toilet. The soluble Annie sanitary napkin is exempted from the troublesome treatment of women after use.

After the 1980s, the Japanese sanitary napkin market showed more development. A better polymer material, thinner materials, etc. have become the selling point of a new generation of sanitary napkins. Today, companies such as You Nijia and Hua Pao not only launch fierce competition in the domestic market, but also have become important producers in sanitary napkins in many countries in the world.

Visibility of sanitary napkins: #NOBAGFORME

There are many inventions and practices in Japan. At first glance, you may feel very intimate, but if you think about it further, it doesn’t seem to be the case. For example, the “sound” that can be installed in the public toilet can emit the sounds such as flowing water. At first glance, this can cover up the sound of the excretion to relieve the embarrassment, but it seems that it seems to add a ridiculous taste of “there is no silver here without silver”. And the excretion function that the bathroom should bear was added with an additional “shame” and then covered it, to some extent. Similar things will happen when you buy sanitary napkins and other physiological supplies in Japanese drugstores or convenience stores: cashiers will always use paper bags to further pack these supplies, or directly change a dark opaque plastic. Bags to prevent others from seeing what you buy. People who agree that this approach protects their privacy, but the critical person thinks it attracts unnecessary vision. Indeed, everyone who sees a dark bag from the drugstore in life may automatically make up for the brain: “She is here.” Furthermore, many more feminine ideas directly point out the stigma of the menstrual period hidden behind this approach. In contrast, when buying toilet paper or baby diaper is equivalent to the “physiological excretion” supplies, the store has no similar services. As a result, menstruation, which was originally a normal physiological phenomenon, became a behavior that needed to be covered, and the “shame” accompanied by it even strengthened the secondary position of women as “second sex” in society.

Last year, the first incident that set off Japan’s “sanitary napkin” was an activist who tried to change this culture. Yinjia held a press conference on June 12, 2019, announcing that it will start a campaign called “#NOBAGFORME”. The brand representative pointed out that in the era of more and more values, they want to help women overcome the shame generated by when buying sanitary napkins and help create an environment that can talk about related issues more publicly. As the first step, the company plans to change the packaging design of its brand “Sophie” to make consumers feel less restrained when buying. Subsequent companies also intend to cooperate with education institutions to popularize the popularity of men and women at the same time on schools and families such as various occasions. Under this subject, the company established a special team composed of five young female designers and cartoonists. They selected 3 best alternates from nearly 100 design schemes, and conducted consumer investigations through SNS and street interviews. In the end, the “kitten” pattern in the collected 54045 votes became the most popular option. On December 3 of the same year, You Nijia launched a limited cotton strip based on this design. The “Sky” pattern that was selected in just a few votes was also resurrected into packaging of other products such as pads.

The final “kitten” design became a limited packaging of Sophie’s cotton period. Image source: #NOBAGFORME’s official Twitter

Objectively speaking, the#nobagForme movement does change the shame that surrounds the sanitary napkin to a certain extent. Replace the new style of traditional sanitary napkin flowers and green outsourcing outsourcing allows more women or male consumers who help their partners and family members. However, many Japanese netizens, like the author, also felt a “sense of disobedience” from the event. In the final analysis, the purpose of changing the packaging of sanitary napkins is to not let people see that they buy physiological supplies at a glance, so that there is no extra bag. But from another perspective, it is still the cover of a form of sanitary napkins and physiological periods. The activity did not fundamentally change people’s awareness of the normal physiological phenomenon of women’s menstruation, and it did not bring breakthrough changes to the menstrual stigma of Japanese society.

Fortunately, in June this year, You Nijia continued the new round of activities of the project. This time, the company not only cooperated with the TV station and other public media to launch a program in order to make more people exposed to the knowledge of the physiological period in a larger scale, but also made menstrual supplies enter the company, hotels and other institutions at the actual level. Planning a theme of this year.


Visualization of menstruation: physiological badges

The plan that the #NOBAGFORME movement is still in progress allows the planning of sanitary napkins to “out of bags”. However, when the physiological period of women is completely presented, the new problems that will occur behind the public are triggered by another incident that occurred at the end of last year.

The well -known department store Oshimaru announced that it will take measures to wear “physiological badges” on October 15, 2019 to employees on the fifth floor of Osaka. As a century -old shop, Oshimaru naturally launched this literal description after being thoughtful, which is very easy to make people “Nazi” Lenovo. The reasons given by the company are mainly the following three points. First of all, employees who need to be worn all belong to the new area “Michikake” to be opened on the fifth floor of the store. The shops in this area operate include new sanitary napkins, anti -leakage underwear, masturbation and other products for female consumers. Therefore, by letting employees wear menstrual badges, department stores hope to create an environment where customers can associate with any physiological problems. Secondly, this suggestion was first made by the company’s young female employees. Because of the physiological period, it is often difficult to say that wearing badges can allow colleagues to master each other’s working status as soon as possible. When moving heavy objects, help or go to the toilet and the top class will become smoother because of the badge. In the end, this rule is not forced to enforce, and employees can make a decision to wear themselves.

This paper badge of about 8 cm long and about 7 cm wide was installed under the brand’s daily brand names. One side of the badge is the promotional graphic of the new store that is about to open in November, and the other side is the protagonist of the comic “Physiological Sauce” (physiological ちゃ ん), and it is also reflecting the wearer. ” The identification. Here I have to introduce the popular comics of women’s menstruation by the way. The work that has been serialized by a cartoonist Koyama has received the support of many female readers since 2017. The biggest feature of the story is to express the physiological period of women with an anthropomorphic method: the ugly and cute pink protagonist “physiological sauce” will directly punch a few punch (menstrual pain) directly at your belly or directly when visiting each month. Study from your body (menstrual anemia). And every time the housewife, student to scientists, the protagonists need to learn to coexist with this troubled friend in their own way. In addition, more serious topics including menstrual discrimination and cold eggs have also been discussed in comics. “Physiological Sauce” not only received a unique style of painting and perspective, which not only received the Two -Tesura Culture Awards, but was also adapted into a movie starring the actress second -step Temple. It was released in November last year. However, although the work is also one of the heroes who actively promote the visibility of the menstrual period in Japanese society, the author himself has been discovered that in the early works, there have been a portrayal of gender discrimination such as sexual harassment. Another related question is involved here: how to face the mistakes of creators on gender issues, especially when he is a man? And if you choose to forgive him because he believes that he has made progress after studying, or because his gender makes him very precious in the feminist speech, he has to win him? Although these issues are not the focus of this article, they are obviously not limited to Japanese society.


The cover of the comic “Physiological Sauce” single -line book

Back to the menstrual badge itself. Although the Daimaru Department Store stated at a press conference that he was ready to be criticized, the questioning of the questioning obviously exceeded the company’s original expectations. Under the endless opposition, Okumaru announced that it would suspend the wearing of badges from November. However, they also said that because of the active feedback of employees, the company will not give up the principle of maximizing menstruation visualization. It is just that the future projects will be carried out inside the employees in a way to prevent consumers.

One of the key variables in this physiological badge incident is the department store itself as the place where it occurs. Many opposition netizens said that if they go to consume, how should I see the employees wearing badges reacting: Is it a hard time to say that it is hard or pulling her to talk about the trouble of menstruation? And more people think that the starting point of this policy itself may not be so malicious, but as a company, compared with these surface kung fu, it is possible to create a more convenient working environment for menstrual women. Essence For example, let the waiters sitting at menstruation sitting at the reception of guests or sending more menstrual subsidies to employees. But anyway, this incident tells that the extension of our period of menstrual period is not simply solved by simply improve its visibility and visibility.


These “monthly disputes” that occurred in Japan last year and the recent discussions in China have different dimensions. One of the biggest features may be that these arguments occur in the fields of culture and consumption. This may also be determined by the macro nature of Japan as a post -industrial society with a small gap between the rich and the poor. But this does not mean that more basic material discussions are associated with menstruation and physiological supplies do not exist at all.

In fact, the incident of almost #NOBAGFORME and physiological badge incidents is a controversy in Japanese society about whether the tax rate should be reduced. As we all know, on October 1 last year, Japan increased domestic consumption tax from 8%to 10%(Japan’s consumption tax was levied on almost all goods and services, which was not exactly the same as China’s “consumption tax”). For low -income people, the government stipulates that “life must be quality” -s, such as drinks, foods and newspapers that are ordered for long -term ordered -such as alcohol and other hobbies -can still enjoy 8%tax rates. However, netizens found that these reduction lists do not include “indispensable” products such as menstruation such as sanitary napkins. Tokyo college students also launched the joint activities on the Internet hoping that the government can also include women’s physiological supplies on the list of reduced tax rates, although the event does not seem to make much progress. Another lively example is that in the early days of the new crown epidemic, there were rumors that the raw materials for making sanitary napkins will appear insufficient. Although the manufacturer quickly came forward, the phenomenon of stocking still appeared in many places. For example, although several drugstores near my house seem to be out of stock, it also stipulates that each customer can only buy a limited number of sanitary napkins. From this point of view, no society can truly realize “sanitary napkin freedom” before systematic inequality and no completely disappear. To completely eliminate the structural uneasiness caused by menstrual stigma, it undoubtedly requires more efforts of all society.


Tanaka 生: Social History, Kadogawa, 2019

Editor in charge: Zhu Fan

School pair: Xu Yijia


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