For the past several years, the three most fashionably ideal body types in Japan have been ‘slim,’ ‘slender,’ and ‘easily tossed about by a light spring breeze.’ And while like most societies, Japan generally casts a sterner eye on women than men with a higher than average body-fat percentage, this “skinny is best” mentality has largely applied to males as well, as any guy who’s tried on a pair of pants at a fashionable Tokyo retailer can attest to.
Recently, though, a shift seems to be occurring, with a rise in popularity of heavier women who have been dubbed “marshmallow girls,” who’ve even formed an idol singer unit now and won legions of fans.
Next, it seems like Japan might be poised to show some big love for big guys, with one magazine heralding the upcoming age of what it’s calling “sausage bread boys.”
Despite the random capitalization of the publication’s title, there is some logic behind this term coined by men’s fashion magazine CHOKi CHOKi. “Sausage bread” refers to the type of rolled hot dogs that are a mainstay of Japanese bakeries and convenience stores and almost always come slathered with ketchup.
As you can see, they’re got a soft outer layer, but with a stout shape containing a meaty center. That cylinder of processed meat is a key visual cue, as it helps differentiate a sausage bread guy from a cabbage roll guy, who’s just a chubby ‘herbivore boy’ (Japan’s social buzzword for young men not interested in intimate relationships).
In contrast to a purely doughy cabbage roll man, the sausage bread guy’s body is a mixture of muscle and chub, like a finely marbled steak. CHOKi CHOKi is very clear on this point, stating that, “He’s not fat. You’d describe him as ‘stout.’”
As for as his clothes, the sausage bread man accepts the reality of his body, and doesn’t try to squeeze his ample frame into the tightest, trendiest fashions to be found in a Harajuku boutique. Instead, he favors casual clothes that would be just as appropriate for a walk on a nature trail as a Shibuya backstreet, with loose-fitting hooded jackets or sweatshirts that give him a relaxed look without drawing too much attention to his size.
All of the red meat he consumes also makes him red-blooded, and the sausage bread man is always ready to take the helm when decisions need to be made. This decisiveness doesn’t just characterize his style as a leader, but as a lover too, and it’s said he’ll tell a girl he likes exactly how he feels, instead of leaving her twisting in the wind date after a date.
This big-heartedness extends through all their interpersonal affairs, CHOKi CHOKi says. Sausage bread guys are resilient and easy-going. Rather than flip out when someone steps on their toes, they’re apt to laugh off little social faux pas so that everyone can go on having a good time.
The magazine also quotes a few women who profess their preference for these lovable guys. “I like chubby guys, because they have a kind aura,” says one 18-year-old.
“All of the guys I’ve dated have been sausage breads,” testifies another woman, who gives her age as 23. “They’re kind, and you don’t have to worry about them cheating on you.”
That second point might not be true forever, though. Sausage bread men are made of high-calorie food, not stone, and in light of their supposedly rising popularity, it remains to be seen how long their fidelity will hold up with an increased number of dating options on their plate.