Monday’s memo on Japanese madness

that's his hand               business nail

that’s his hand

This. This is a thing.


For those of you who are uninformed, this man has decorated himself with what is now being called a ‘business nail’.


Japan, as a country, loves ideas like uniformity and group cohesion. People who make their own paths, or deviate from the doctrine are considered independent souls at best and problematic renegades at worst. From their schools into their chosen career, it is difficult for individuals in Japan to stand up and get noticed, especially, since everyone is almost requited to wear the same kind of black suit, pants/skirt and neutral shirt. It is truly a society which embodies the expression “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down”.

spot the odd one out

spot the odd one out


However, a new generation of businessmen has started challenging social norms in order to do precisely that: be the nail that stands up and get noticed. This fashion fad is known as “bijinesu neiru” (“business nail”), and thousands of men working in different industries are now paying hundreds of Euro a month to have their nails all dolled up with patterns, gemstones or company logos. This is Japan, of course, and more importantly, Tokyo, the same place that brought us the fashion trend of “bagel heads”…





In the Heian Period (794-1185) Ninja and Samurai would dye their nails in the colors of their clan to proclaim their allegiance. It would appear that the modern “Data Entry Samurai” have decided to carry on this tradition and paint their nails… with company logos…


Some young businessmen report that the unobtrusive declarations of loyalty to the company have resulted in them getting noticed. In a good way. Guys have gone on record saying that the nails got them noticed by superiors and promoted from obscurity to positions of status, or as their boss’s personal assistant, which can be a very lucrative position.


money fight

money fight


For the average bloke on the street however, people getting business nails are seen as being desperate to gain status and notoriety. Knowing the speed at which Japan goes through crazy fashion trends (remember the Bagel Heads?) The business nails will probably be gone and replaced by something even crazier.

Truer words were never spoken

Truer words were never spoken


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