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said whether wearing casual shoes in the workplace is appropriate “depends on the business type and

Time:2018-04-16 19:11Shoes websites Click:

news Japan Social affairs Asahi Shimbun Japan News

In a scene becoming more commonplace in fashion-conscious Japan, increasing numbers of salarymen in business suits are making their daily commutes in comfortable sneakers.

The Japan Sports Agency has started a program urging company employees and other workers to don sneakers when going to their workplaces, as it is thought that easier-to-walk-in footwear will help them overcome inactivity.

Employers and department stores have already joined the campaign by promoting “in-sneaker commuting.”

On March 5, Daichi Suzuki, commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency, visited the Shinjuku Takashimaya department store in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward for an on-site inspection.

“Combining sneakers is a cutting-edge fashion style,” a Takashimaya official said in front of Suzuki during the visit.

Under the public-private Fun plus Walk campaign, the agency recommends company employees in their 20s to 40s, who engage in sporting activities less frequently, don sneakers and other shoes while commuting, so they will become conscious of the importance of walking.

Going along with the project, companies, including Asahi Soft Drinks Co., which in January began prompting its workers to go to offices and work in sneakers, started efforts in line with the agency-led campaign.

Although some experts view white-collar workers’ wearing sporty footwear in a favorable light, a fashion specialist said donning suits along with casual shoes is the wrong fit.

Yukio Akamine, a 73-year-old man who calls himself a “fashion director,” said going to workplaces in sneakers is unacceptable from the perspective of business etiquette.

He argued that people began ignoring clothing traditions after the “Cool Biz” campaign was started in 2005, which urges workers to dress for the weather and eschew ties or jackets in summer.

“The dress code in the business community is different from the one in the latest mode (represented in fashion shows and other occasions),” said Akamine, criticizing the recent “all-OK” trend.

Akamine likened people’s underestimation of traditional dress codes to ignoring the “kaisho-tai” standard style in kanji writing.

“People currently ignore the kaisho-tai style in the fashion industry without fully understanding it.”

Although even some bank employees choose to wear sneakers to work in the United States, Akamine said the U.S.-style is not appropriate.

“The style is accepted in the United States but unacceptable in Europe,” he said. “I doubt Japanese understand such circumstances.”

Other experts are not so critical.

Ryoko Mori, a lecturer at the Japan Service Manner Association, said whether wearing casual shoes in the workplace is appropriate “depends on the business type and the atmosphere of the company.”

Atsushi Otsuki, 45, chief editor of the Men’s Club fashion magazine, said it is possible to combine sneakers with business suits in a stylish manner.

“Donning sneakers while wearing suits in a formal way will look awkward, but there are ways to combine them tidily and stylishly,” said Otsuki.

The magazine’s February issue featured the in-sneaker commuting, touching on changes in people’s working style and lauding the new practice of “combining suits with sneakers as being casual and cool.”

Don Konishi, 67, a fashion designer famous for his highly critical opinions, said simply urging workers to don sneakers is not enough.

“There is a booming demand for sneakers in recent years, but the idea of just tapping into the trend is nonsense,” he said.

“Instead of doing things by halves by wearing only sporty footwear, people should go to work in comfortable sports clothing,” said Konishi. “There is no need to stick to the idea that one must commute to workplaces in suits, and they should select more comfortable wear.”

Konishi also said making commuting comfortable will help improve work productivity.

“Workers should change their clothing after arriving at their companies so they can concentrate on their work,” he said. “I want such a drastic reform to be carried out.”

While going to work in casual shoes and changing footwear at workplaces is another possible choice for workers, Suzuki said what is important is taking into account situations surrounding employees.

“We need to promote the campaign, considering workers’ situations,” Suzuki said. “I hope the move will gradually spread among companies and industries.”


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