Animal Tails

A man stands on a street in Harajuku (原宿), Tokyo with a long animal tail (尻尾) hanging down from his waist

This guy in Harajuku in Tokyo has an unusually long tail (CC)

Japan is well known for having one of the most creative and inventive fashion industries in the world – but the latest fad is crazy enough to startle even the natives: Japanese people have begun to sprout bushy tails. All around the country, especially in youth hangouts like Shibuya in Tokyo, girls and the occasional guy can be seen with tails clipped onto their belts or their bags. Some are realistic and look like fox tails, others are bright pink or orange. The most enthusiastic devotees even wear two tails at once, and sometimes pair them with matching furry collars.

They’re often an addition to really out-there alternative garb – but sometimes they’re worn together with smart and sophisticated mature outfits. And don’t be surprised to see a tail attached to a girl’s left hip, while she carries a Louis Vuitton handbag to her right. So, they’re definitely fashion, not toys or dressing up material – I’ve even heard them described as sexy. You might think they must stand for something – solidarity with nature, or opposing cruelty to animals – but you’d be wrong: they’re just there because it’s cool. And if you think the whole country must have gone mad, consider whether it’s really any stranger than wearing a tie. There just might be a parallel universe where businessmen wear tails and the teenagers rebel by wearing ties.

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