A campaign of a different kind was launched last month to coincide with the beginning of the 2012/13 Japanese Business and School year. Hundreds of middle-aged men assembled outside train stations throughout Japan to demand that schoolgirls and young female office workers stop wearing blue and black underwear. Collective frustration caused by the growing number of younger females wearing dark colored underwear has apparently boiled over for many men on their daily commutes, leading to a campaign called “The Light Colored Panties Appreciation Society”.
Campaign manager, Yuki Motono, was only too happy to explain the group`s objective, “A black silk bra under a white blouse can be very sexy. I’m not going to stand here and deny that. So we are not against dark underwear per se, but black panties shouldn’t be worn for health reasons. And by that I’m talking about the mental health of an overworked office worker, who just wants a wee peek up a skirt on his way to work. White, pink or sky blue panties just make it so much easier for everyone.”
Many women were shocked at just how organized the campaign was managed; light colored panties were being offered to (but seldom accepted by) passing pedestrians, and signs and spherical calls sought to encourage the young females to reconsider their choice of colors. Onlookers in Tokyo observed that Police had been extremely cooperative by setting up temporary barriers and even joining in when enthusiasm appeared to ebb within the ranks of the demonstrators.
However, with such a sensitive issue being brought to the fore, there were always going to be spotfires of disturbances related to the campaign. Isolated incidents were reported around the country, mainly involving the torching of paper signs and cloth banners. Two women in Kanagawa were also arrested for assaulting a 56 year old man who had been attempting to put panties into their bicycle baskets. Other participants will simply take home mental scars brought on by the indifference with which they were confronted.
Explained Shitagi Atsumeri, who was distributing white panties outside Nerima Station, “All we want to do is either catch a glimpse of some panties or take an upskirt picture every now and then. If that’s a crime, then the very concept of freedom is in danger. This is simply a bit of fun. But from the hostile reaction that we’ve been getting, well… some people just think we’re a bunch of weirdos.”