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Japanese Businessmen Wearing Ninja Nail Art: Top Dollar Bijinesu Neiru, Or “Business Nail” Leads To Promotions, Friends, And Lovers

BY Staff Reporter | Apr 08, 2014 10:07 AM EDT


Young Japanese businessmen in Japan have begun wearing an unusual trend: nail art. This trend, called  "Business Nail" and is a big deal in a country like Japan that believes in social homogeneity according to Japan Today. Thousands of young men are now paying top dollar for nail art or "bijinesu neiru" ("business nail") which includes "gemstones, pastel-pinks, hearts and even company logos." Japan Today reports that many of young businessmen are claiming that, "since getting their nails done, they have been rewarded with pay rises and promotions, and now have more friends and lovers than they could ever have dreamed."

The business nail trend is growing rapidly into a sort of underground secret society. Illicit nail salons are popping up in Tokyo's Red Light district and an online community of "Business Nail" enthusiasts is growing. Apparently, the trend has its roots in a tradition that ninjas in Japan used to do; ninjas would paint one nail with their clan's mark as an identity marker. That way, a fellow clan member or intruder could be spotted easily.

Tokyo-based advertising executive, 31-year-old Genki Tsuitachi told Japan Today, "Back in the Heian period [794-1185], ninjas would paint the thumbnail of their left hand with their clan's mark. They used a mixture of cow dung and the blood of moths and other insects to create a paint-like substance that stained the nail. It stayed on for months, so it was easy to identify an intruder or spy, or someone who tried to leave a clan and deny their roots. So it's not unheard of for Japanese men to paint their nails like this." Tsuitachi's own nails were painted with horizontal yellow and black stripes. "The concept of business nail has actually been around for a couple of years now," he added, "but within the last few months in particular the number of men getting involved has positively skyrocketed, and people in all kinds of industries are starting to take notice. I personally change my nail art two or three times a week if I can, and it always gives me something to talk about with my clients. It costs a lot of money, sure - sometimes half of my salary goes on hearts and fake gemstones - but it's worth doing right, and there are a handful of high-end nail salons that cater for men like us, often after hours because we work late and can't get there otherwise."

A full set of professional nail art costing upwards of 10,000 yen at a Tokyo salon. 

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