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Thread: Japanese skaters look

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    Japanese skaters look

    Don't you think that top female Japanese skaters have now a more "agressive" look relative to some years ago. I mean, remember the sober costumes, hair-cut and make up of Midori Ito, Yuka Sato and Yoshie Onda compared to the more sexy Miki, Mao, Shizuka and Fumie. Also the attitudes of those skaters are more flirting than their previous counterparts. Also compared to American skaters, who now tend to have a more sober or cute attitude and look both in competition and galas.

    To make an OT example, I was in Rome some days ago and I was surprised on the beauty of young Japanese tourists. They were really
    Some years ago they always had the same hair-do and were or pretty anonimous or too manga-ish.
    What a change!

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    But then, can you ever really be too manga-ish?

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    meh it's just the difference of 20 years... that being said I don't see any true difference of what the US ladies look like then or now, costume wise (except, if anything, the dresses have gotten prettier) as for cutesy programs now, that's what happens when you've got a ton of girls barely old enough to drive on the world stage... i don't think Alissa as being cutesy in her skating...

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    I guess that Japanese skaters look different because they are different than their previous generation. They have become expressive performers, not just sportswomen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Landing View Post
    I guess that Japanese skaters look different because they are different than their previous generation. They have become expressive performers, not just sportswomen
    Which ones, some of them or all of them? Some would contest the idea that Miki is an expressive performer. Others wouldn't confer that status on Kanako.

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    Some would contest the idea that Miki is an expressive performer. Others wouldn't confer that status on Kanako.
    While it's perfectly valid to criticize the occasional lack of interpretation from Miki Ando, who is this person who would accuse Kanako Murakami of not being expressive? Please point out this incredibly obtuse person so that we may all laugh at him/her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    While it's perfectly valid to criticize the occasional lack of interpretation from Miki Ando, who is this person who would accuse Kanako Murakami of not being expressive? Please point out this incredibly obtuse person so that we may all laugh at him/her.
    I remember reading some people on the forums saying that they found Kanako's style to be kinda cheesy and fake. That's because her programs tend to be kinda cute for now. But whatever you think of her programs, she definitely does not bore the audience.

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    can't come down to Earth prettykeys's Avatar
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    Totally OT but it's Valentine's and I wanted to profess my mind-crush on Serious Business! I love reading your posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    While it's perfectly valid to criticize the occasional lack of interpretation from Miki Ando, who is this person who would accuse Kanako Murakami of not being expressive? Please point out this incredibly obtuse person so that we may all laugh at him/her.
    I agree about Kanako! It may not suit your style, but how much more expressive can she be?

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krenseby View Post
    I remember reading some people on the forums saying that they found Kanako's style to be kinda cheesy and fake. That's because her programs tend to be kinda cute for now.
    Now that makes more sense! Not that I agree with it, but I can see someone thinking that. She's such an exploding ball of giggles on the ice in the SP I don't see how anyone can reasonably accuse her of being inexpressive.

    Quote Originally Posted by prettykeys View Post
    Totally OT but it's Valentine's and I wanted to profess my mind-crush on Serious Business! I love reading your posts.
    ::blushes:: Oh you flatter me. Well, ok, I guess my posts are pretty great. Most of them deserve a +GOE and not just at nationals.

    But back to the topic. For the most part I find Mao Asada and Shizuka to be quite normal in how they play up their sexiness. Which is to say, they don't play it up much. They're not demure, but they don't exactly wink and flirt with the audience that much (Asada comes close in her Caprice program, but even that's pretty chaste). Nor are their outfits particularly provocative compared.

    On the other hand, Miki Ando has some some really sexy exhibition numbers, like her 2008 Handcuffs number. As far as I know that's definitely not like anything Midori and Yuka have done. In fact, I think out of all the ladies competing at Miki's level now, she's probably the most overtly sexual in her performance. Except, she keeps it to her exhibitions. It's actually a style that Miki does a lot better than the classical programs she tries to pull off in her competitive numbers. I think Ando should maybe consider doing something more sexed up and contemporary for her competitive routines. Being flirty and sexy didn't hurt Katarina Witt's competition numbers. And flirting with the judges is a pretty common tactic in male skaters from Daisuke to Amodio. Why let the boys have all the fun?

    Akiko Suzuki's belly dancing exhibition number this season also has some very sexy moments in it, with the hip shaking and shimmying and of course that outfit.

    Kanako Murakami's Be Italian exhibition number has some intentionally sexy moments in it, quite a bit of it. She gives it all her exuberance and energy. I don't know if she's entirely convincing in the sexy bits, though. She doesn't have the experience to pull it off yet, which is just as well for a 16 year old. And the outfit she uses for it so far is pretty modest.

    So while I don't think all of Japan's top ladies recently are play up the sexiness angle, 3 of the current top Japanese ladies do. And it does reflect a significant change in culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    So while I don't think all of Japan's top ladies recently are play up the sexiness angle, 3 of the current top Japanese ladies do. And it does reflect a significant change in culture.
    And don't forget Fumie Suguri. She has at least two HOT performances with sexy outfits and music
    Cell Block Tango = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmxROknThQM
    Padam Padam = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqLkeZrj0gk

    Mao Asada may not be that provocative as the other 4, but her look (costumes and make up) is way more "agressive" than american skaters for example. The costume in Caprice comes to my mind.

    IMO that applies also to Daisuke. He is flirting and has that "bad boy" look.

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    Daisuke is shameless. Shameless, I tell you. He should give a lesson to his female compatriots on ice.

    What Japan needs is some sexy Ice Dancers, not brother-sister act.

    So who are the sexiest Ladies? On ice, that is.

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    What gets me about Mao is her smile. I remember the first time I saw her in competition--I think it was the Grand Prix series in 2006, the very first shot of her on the TV screen was of her with a broad grin on her face. Generally, as I understand it (please correct me if needed), traditional Japanese culture has not invited anyone to smile like that in public, but especially not girls. Mao seems so straightforward and outgoing. It's one of the things that endears her to me--and of course she backs it up with such phenomenal skating. I don't know if that kind of extraverted public gleefulness is unusual in Japan today, but I'm fairly sure it's a recent phenomenon. Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami also project like that.

    And Ando does not. But sultry Ando certainly is. For all her fussy performance costumes, no one looks as splendid in a black practice outfit as she does--with the possible exception of Shizuka!

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gio View Post
    Mao Asada may not be that provocative as the other 4, but her look (costumes and make up) is way more "agressive" than american skaters for example. The costume in Caprice comes to my mind.
    Here's Alissa Czisny's recent exhibition number that tried to change that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyIAuSkWJYM Of course, one sexy number doesn't make up for it!

    I think you are generally right that the current batch of top American ladies are less overtly sexual in their performances than the top Japanese ladies. Here are some reasons for that...

    The top American ladies have been quite, quite young. For a while now, the top contenders are all basically juniors. And they just don't have the experience, inclination or encouragement to sex it up (and that's just as well). On the other hand, two of the top Japanese ladies are veterans: Akiko Suzuki and Miki Ando. And those two have no trouble comfortably sexing it up.

    Figure skating is soooooo much more popular in Japan than in the US right now. This means that figure skating is a much bigger part of popular culture there, and popular culture tends to be racier. Also, there are a lot more young figure skating fans in Japan (the stagnant popularity of figure skating in the US means its fanbase is aging), who are more responsive to sexy routines than older fans are generally.

    In the past, America did have top female skaters who sexed it up. Michelle Kwan's Salome routine was, true to its inspiration, full of erotic undertones. I'm not saying the then 15/16 Michelle pulled off the sexual aspects fully, but the costuming, choreography, theme were all intended to be sexually provocative (and the fact that Michelle may not be fully aware of the sexual implications of the dance and yet is totally caught up in it fits the story). And of course, as she grew up, Kwan skated to many sensual numbers like her Garbage number or her Alicia Keys number. Nicole Bobek had a few sexy routines, too, I'm sure. It's just that nowadays the US batch of top contenders are younger while the US skating fanbase is older. Oh well, things change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gio View Post
    Don't you think that top female Japanese skaters have now a more "agressive" look relative to some years ago. I mean, remember the sober costumes, hair-cut and make up of Midori Ito, Yuka Sato and Yoshie Onda compared to the more sexy Miki, Mao, Shizuka and Fumie. Also the attitudes of those skaters are more flirting than their previous counterparts. Also compared to American skaters, who now tend to have a more sober or cute attitude and look both in competition and galas.

    To make an OT example, I was in Rome some days ago and I was surprised on the beauty of young Japanese tourists. They were really
    Some years ago they always had the same hair-do and were or pretty anonimous or too manga-ish.
    What a change!
    What an interesting topic and the comments made by everyone- sort of like a Sociology paper meets skating!

    As a Japanese living overseas, I do notice much much more individuality in their fashion every time I visit my folks in Tokyo. A big shift from the token designer bag look- Now it's lots of layers and second hand vintage ghetto mixed together... or whatever it it they're doing. See I'm so out of it

    I think the 'flirtatiousness' of the skaters nowadays could be largely attributed to the federation's effort to give amateur skaters as much exposure to the show audience as possible from a young age, putting together a number of exhibition-type shows like the Japan Super Challenge designed to fund the young talented and judged based on audience interaction.

    Meanwhile, a comment from a guest judge and the former Royal Ballet Principal, Tetsuya Kumakawa, on Mao's Chopin Ballad number:

    It's not by the explicit audience interaction, but rather by her sincere attitude to skating, love of the sport and respect towards Chopin that I was moved (from watching the performance).

    So there! Sex kittens, divas, quiet 'classical' types, hooray for individuality!

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