Fetish for full body 'zentai' suits emerges in Japan
By Harumi Ozawa ,AFP
April 19, 2014, 12:17 am TWN
TOKYO -- By day, she is a mild-mannered office clerk, whose modest make-up and conservative hairstyle make her blend in to any crowd.
By night, she dresses in a skin-tight, all-in-one Spandex body suit that covers everything — including her eyes — and sits in bars, alone but liberated, she believes, from the judgment of others.
"With my face covered, I cannot eat or drink like other customers," said the woman, who is in her 20s and says her name is Hokkyoku Nigo (North Pole No. 2).
"I have led my life always worrying about what other people think of me. They say I look cute, gentle, childish or naive," she said, her lips ruffling the tight, red shiny material.
"I always felt suffocated by that. But wearing this, I am just a person in a full body suit."
Hokkyoku Nigo is part of a small subset in Japan with a fetish for wearing outfits called "zentai" — an abbreviation of "zenshintaitsu," which means "full body suit" — who say they are seeking liberation by effacing the physical self.
Some meet through Internet forums and through gatherings like the Tokyo Zentai Club, whose 10 members get together every other month, just like any other group, to hold barbecues or parties. Unlike any other group, they are covered head-to-toe in skintight Lycra.
"I was always fascinated by hero costumes as a child," said member Hanaka, 22, who was introduced to the club by her 25-year-old boyfriend, Popo.
"When I was 13 or 14, I even tried to make a full-body suit myself, sewing stockings together. But I stopped, thinking maybe I was doing something weird.
"I was really happy when I finally found out on the Internet that there were people like me out there," said Hanaka, who always comes to Tokyo Zentai Club events with Popo.