"Look and Feel 20 Years Younger" - The Latest Obsession in the Fastest Aging Nation

Forget the creams and serums that promise you'll look 5 years younger.

The latest craze in Japan is to look and feel 20 years younger!!!

The "Evangelists" of the trend are men and women in their 50s and older who themselves are their best ads in that they actually DO look 20 years younger their biological age.

Be it beauty evangelist Chizu Saeki (born in 1943) or "beauty life producer" Mieko Yoshimaru (born in 1949) or medial PhD Yoshinori Nagumo (born 1955) and a whole host of other doctors and beauticians and exercise specialists, bookstores are stacked with their books with flashy posters and eye catchers shouting "LOOK 20 YEARS YOUNGER THAN YOUR AGE."

 Saeki Chizu's "Bihada Seikatsu" or "Beautiful Skin Life" promises to change your skin in 3 days.

After a long career selling cosmetics, Saeki insists that it is not so much WHAT one puts on the skin, but HOW they are applied. She focuses on the correct ways and the order to apply cosmetics to enjoy the full benefits of them and preaches that one can always have a beautiful complexion if one is only willing. 

Yoshinori Nagumo shares his 100 secrets that make him look 20 years younger
Yoshinori Nagumo is a medical doctor who was overweight and unattractive in his 30s, but after being seriously scared to death after his father's stroke, decided to make changes in his life that transformed him to the ageless man he is today. 

Mieko Yoshimoto speaks of using the power of imagination to trigger female hormones to become more active and to visually remake one's entire face and body.

She herself claims to have changed from frumpy divorced mom to this ageless beauty by willing herself to have the face of Audrey Hepburn and the body of Marilyn Monroe.

Of course her friends and family laughed at her at first, but once she began to change, there was a long queue at her front door.

Popular fashion magazine "eclat" has a successful mook series (mook is magazine + book, a new publication format that has become popular in Japan with entire mooks designated to brands like a "Chanel Mook" or "Marc Jacobs Mook" which features the season's entire collections, often comes with a little gift with purchase such as a tote bag, and is in the size and format of a magazine) titled "Aging Bible" whose Vol.3 (3rd in the series) is now on shelves.

Each issue features a different aging/anti-aging topic and features a 40-something or 50-something celebrity on its cover who, of course, looks like she is in her 30s.

The first issue covered menopause and the various countermeasures one can take, as well as interviews of popular actresses and models, one of whom is 60 but appeared on the runway with teenage models.

The second issue was about maintaining beautiful hair and skin and detoxing.

The third issue is about well-defined face lines and necks.

There are many more books and methods and web sites out there that have beautiful, ageless beauties fronting them, and thousands of followers who diligently practice what is preached to be ageless beauties themselves.

The most popular methods and their protagonists that survive the test of time are those that (a)  do not carry prohibitive price tags; (b) promise reasonably fast (often from around 1 week to a month) results but not instant results; and (c) whose effects are sustainable in the longer term.

Most do not promote expensive creams or serums or supplements, but rather, promise to be affordable and encourage readers and followers to be proactive. They talk about making the correct eating, sleeping, and exercising choices. 

There is a lot of reference in the media about how "westernization" of our lifestyle has had negative health effects on Japanese society in general.

Many people point to the 1977 "McGovern Report" or the report titled "Dietary Goals for the United States" compiled by the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs that concluded that the ideal meal was what the common folk in Japan ate in pre-Genroku era Japan, which consisted of whole grain rice, fish, and vegetables.

We, the Japanese people, traditionally ate much fish, vegetables and grain but very little saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar. But our fish consumption has declined significantly in the last 60 years and the younger generation eat as little as only a third of what the pre-war generation consume per capita. And on the other hand, meat and saturated fats consumption has skyrocketed.

Obesity is not yet as big a problem here as it is in the United States. But there are increased incidents or heart diseases and diabetes.

The popularity of these "look 20 years younger" celebrities and their methods is a clear message that the fastest aging population does not wish to be the world's most aging and sick population whose lives are prolonged by medical intervention that will break everyone's banks. 

"I am not suggesting ways for us to become energetic old men and women," one such celebrity says. "I want more people to look and feel younger!" The distinction he makes is the difference between looking and acting 59 vs. looking and acting 39 when one is actually 59.

The fashion industry here has been trying to redefine the new 50s+ age group and what they want.

My very own 69-year old mother just last night went through a catalogue targeting 40plus woman and said,
"My god, all these clothes look so frumpy!"
And to think she should be among the target audience.

I must have been mistaken when I thought that it is the current youths who refuse to dress like their parents or the generation that came before them... It seems, women in their 50s and 60s today refuse to dress like the "old women" they are accustomed to seeing now that they are their age.