The Japanese beauty industry is a multi billion dollar business, and it employs more people than car repair or software development. So there is every reason for a book like this. It describes in general terms the development of this industry in the last decade or so, plus how it allows people to express a certain level of individuality. According to the author, the industry basically sells a lot of nonsense for a high price in a way that is not so much about creating an atmosphere of pampering, but rather the measurement and control you would expect at a Toyota plant. During every treatment the hard selling techniques are combined with measurement of results to prove the value of the treatment.
The author also describes how the industry combines exotic images (be it European or Asian) with Japanese modern technology to sell legitimacy to self-indulgence. In the mean time the industry creates and/or reflects changing attitudes towards beauty, with the neck losing out in sexiness against “hypermammary fixation” and slimness.
The last chapter about the evolution of English in the beauty industry to evocate ideas very different from the words’ original meaning is interesting in itself....Continua