Changing Eyesight for Beauty


Modesty is such a holy word in Japan. We hardly ever hear people brag about even their relatives, not to mention themselves, but the magic of love (or the curse of youthfulness) seems to sometimes drive us crazy. When I was a college student, there was a friend of mine, who boasted a lot about his girlfriend, saying like “She is gorgeous and looks like XXX (actress name I forgot).” One day, I saw him be with the girlfriend, and she was, she was just different from what I imagined from what he had said to me. Since then, human evaluation criteria especially in beauty has been in my research list. As I wrote before an article about beauty, this article is focusing more on a subject to judge.

The point is evaluation criteria can change. I’m sure everyone would have the similar experience as this: seeing old photographs of an ex-girl/boyfriend and receiving a different impression from what you had before. According to the super-rough abstract of some column I recently read, beauty is originated from a pleasure feeling; psychological pleasure is more important to human beings, which mainly arises from relationships with others. The subject to feel psychological pleasure is our ego which is designed flexible to maintain various human relationships, and consequently, our evaluation criteria in beauty are likely to change.

Some decades ago, when wood with unique grains such as knots and knobs was still regarded as defective material, we started to use it for our specific table collection for the effective use of resources. Initially, complaints sometimes came in, but now, the table collection has grown to one of the mainstay items. As you might guess, it’d be the result of the product concept going with the times (environmentally conscious time). To be more precise, according to the above theory, people have a higher awareness of environmental issues; the environment could be interpreted as “others” in a broad sense; the table collection becomes popular because of the change in people’s evaluation criteria in beauty caused by environmental consciousness.

I know this has turned out like a so-what conclusion, but at least, I believe I could help you understand your feeling of strangeness and unfamiliarity for the photographs of your exes.


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


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