Buying Choos in Tokyo May 16, 2006Posted by fukumimi in Fashion, Japan.
There was an article on the Nikkei website about Jimmy Choo opening a store in Tokyo, at the new Omotesando Hills complex (it apparently opened in Feb, so I don't know why the article is featured on the site now).
I suppose Japanese Sex and the City addicts are overjoyed that they now have access to the full Choo lineup, not just the shoes.
Clearly I am not going to be seen wearing any of Choo's shoes, but they are very nice to look at on a nice pair of feet. I do wonder if the shoes are tailored for Japanese feet, which do tend to be of a different profile than western feet on average. (typically Japanese feet are wider and flatter)
Given that most of the shoes are of the pointed toe variety, without the right profile it looks like a recipe for hallux valgus which must be the biggest single turn off for me in a woman.
Pointed toes and tapered box toes do give the impression of a longer profile which is advantageous for people with smaller feet. I am partial to shoes with a longer profile myself for that reason.
An interesting note about shoes in Japan. Customs duty for imported shoes is expensive. Duty is payable at upto 60%. This is a pretty high tariff rate, and the historical reason for this high rate is allegedly because the leather goods industry in Japan was traditionally largely populated by "disadvantaged" sections of society, which are still deemed to be worthy of special treatment. Whilst discrimination against such peoples (either based on ethnicity, disability or other factors) is notably absent for the most part in everyday Tokyo soceity (or so it would seem to many people, who are blissfully unaware of history of their neighbourhood), it appears a lot more engrained in provincial and rural Japan (especially in west Japan). It would seem to me that the protectionist measures are not the best way to solve this problem, but integration of discriminated sections of society unfortunately is not achieved overnight.
Who are these sections of society? Let's just say that because of the Buddhist roots of Japanese society, mainstream society has held professions dealing with the slaughter of animals in low respect, and these people were labelled as belonging to a specific caste in feudal Japan (the caste system being a tool used by the authorities to regulate society, in accordance with Confucian thinking). In post war Japan, the same jobs continued to be done by the decendants of members of said caste (whilst the caste system had been abolished, the discrimination did not disappear) and also by ethnic minorities who were also discriminated against and had access to limited opportunites.