What Do People Consider As FAT In Japan?

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The ideal weight of people in Japan varies depending on their age, height, and gender. Overall, people in Japan believe skinny is more healthy.

To decide if a person is fat or obese, one must calculate their size, body type, and age.

Anyone with a BMI of 22kgs/m2 and above is considered fat in Japan.

The ideal weight of people in Japan facts
The ideal weight of people in Japan

Women in Japan consider themselves overweight if their BMI is above 23kgs/m2.

On the other hand, the Japanese say their men are fat if their BMI exceeds 25kg/m2.

In Japan – The obesity rate is less than that in other countries. The Japanese have the longest life expectancy, with women and men averaging 87 and 81 years, respectively.

The government boasts that the Japanese achieve this by maintaining an ideal weight through healthy eating and an active lifestyle. 

What Do Japanese Girls Weigh?

In Japan, most girls weigh under 50kgs or 110lbs, which is considered the ideal weight.

Japanese girls average weight
What do Japanese girls weigh?

The standard of calculating Body Mass Index and determining overweight and obesity is different in Japan than in the US.

Did You Know? A woman in the US who is 5 feet 4 inches tall is usually viewed as overweight if they weigh above 150lbs or 68kgs. By Japan’s standards, she will be considered obese.

Weight is widely measured using waist size. In the streets of Japan, people will comment on your weight based on the size of your stomach.

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Women with a waist circumference of above 80 centimeters or 31.5 inches are considered overweight.

Females of all ages in Japan struggle with weight issues, and they try to eat fewer carbohydrates to achieve society’s ideal weight.


Height of an Average Japanese Girl

The average Japanese woman aged 18 years is 5 feet 2 inches tall, about 158 centimeters.

Average Japanese Girl Height
Height of an Average Japanese Girl

She is shorter than her age mates in other countries, but Japan is relatively tall.

In the US – The average girl her age is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 160lbs or 72kgs, considered obese in Japan. Japanese girls are obsessed with their BMIs from a young age.

Many will stick to a vegetable and fish soups diet to maintain a slimmer figure.

Americans are taller and eat more carbohydrates, while the shorter Japanese people do not require a high calorific diet.

What Do Japanese Men Weigh?

Men in Japan have an ideal weight of about 60kgs/132lbs.

In a recent study, a majority of the men have maintained an average weight of below 69kgs/152lbs.

Japanese men prefer eating healthy traditional foods, which help them maintain an ideal weight.

They lead a regular physically active lifestyle compared to Americans.

Because the cost of driving a car in Japan is relatively high, most men in the urban areas commute by public transport to and from work.

Walking to work is also popular among city dwellers.

A man who has a waist circumference of more than 35.4 inches or 90 centimeters is over the ideal weight.

Lately: It is common to come across Japanese men that weigh above 165lbs. Although body image is still a concern in their community, more and more people disregard strict healthy eating habits as the number of obese people rises. 

Height of an Average Japanese Man

The average 18-year-old male is 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 171 centimeters in Japan.

The stereotype about Japanese people being short is not valid in recent times.

Average Japanese Man Height
Height of an Average Japanese Man

A few men are as tall as 6 feet 2 inches tall, which is close to the average height of an American man, which is 5 feet 10 inches, about 177 meters.

The current diet of fast foods has contributed to the changes in their stature, with meat and dairy products intake also increasing significantly.

Japanese people are still shorter than Americans, but the height difference has slowly shifted over the last few years.

Women’s Body Type In Japan

Some Japanese women still consider a thin body as more attractive and the average size in the country.

More women are emerging in social platforms and magazines displaying plus-size as equally beautiful.

These Japanese plus-size celebrities are encouraging girls to embrace body positivity and confidence.

Brown eyes can't turn blue

In a survey done by an institute in Japan, most people said they found girls with medium-sized bodies attractive.

However, compared to other nationalities, they were still thinner. 

The rise of underweight women and eating disorders is a concern that nutritionists address.

According to Nutritionists – The desire to be thin has led to poor diet choices. Younger women now risk bone diseases and other nutrition deficiencies due to a lack of a well-balanced diet.

Suffering to be noticed as beautiful is unnecessary, and more women now choose to be happy and live a healthy life.

Women’s Clothes Size In Japan Vs. In The US

Clothes sizes in Japan differ from other sizes worldwide due to the population’s obsession with slimness.

Regular size clothes in the US are plus-size in Japan.

Women's Clothes Size In Japan explained
Women’s Clothes Size In Japan

Japanese women’s clothes are five sizes smaller than those of Americans.

A girl who wears a petite 4 in the US will wear a large or a size 9 in Japan.

You will find varying sizes in:

  • tops
  • dresses
  • and jackets

The famous ‘one size fits all’ will not fit most American women in Japan.

For trousers, the sizes come in waist centimeters. For example, a 26-inch waist is 66 centimeters.

However, most clothes you will find in Japanese clothing stores are labeled small, medium, or large.

If your hips or bust is significant, consider purchasing a size or two bigger.

A few of the original stores still stock only one dimension of clothes, but newer stores have needed to stock all sizes.

Japan has many foreigners who can now shop for clothes comfortably, up to size 16.

For Example – Bra sizes are particularly tricky for American women in Japan. Cup sizes can vary up to two sizes up. A size 34 in the US is 75 in Japan, with an A cup being a C or D size.

Men’s Clothes Size In Japan Vs. In The US

In Japan, men’s clothes come in centimeters, similar to the US, but the fitting is different.

Men's Clothes Size In Japan explained
Men’s Clothes Size In Japan

Japanese men are leaner and shorter, and hence, their suits, coats, and shirts are labeled small, medium, or large.

An American man who wears sizes 34-36 will sport a Japanese small.

Japanese shirts have a slimmer fit than US ones and require a size up or two to fit an American.

Trousers also measure in waist centimeters.

Therefore: A 36-inch waist wears 91 centimeters. Clothing stores in Japan stock trousers for tall people, especially where foreigners mostly shop.

Is Size 6 Big In Japan?

A US size 6 dress is a Japanese large or size 9. It is mainly because Japanese women are slimmer and shorter than Western women.

American adults who are small and find it hard to find clothing in the US will enjoy shopping in Japan as small sizes are readily available.

What Is The Free Size In Japan?

Free size in Japan refers to medium size for women and large for men.

Free size in Japan explained
Free size in Japan

Sometimes labeled as OS, free-size women’s skirts and shorts with an elastic band are available with a looser fit.

An American who wears a medium will fit into these perfectly.

They may be shorter, though, so be on the lookout for American clothing brands that stock US size clothes.

Are All Japanese Brands Small?

Because the Japanese are shorter and thinner than other nationalities, most local brands and tailors make small clothes.

They stock clothing to cater to the average Japanese person. Thus, an American or European will have difficulty finding clothes that fit.

However, with major cities in Japan seeing an increase in foreigners living and working there, specialty stores now carry larger sizes.

American chain stores have also opened up around the big cities, providing big-sized clothes and shoes.

Is Being Fat In Japan Illegal?

You cannot be prosecuted or go to jail for being overweight in Japan.

Girls in Hakama with flowers

However, the government encourages the health care centers to measure the waist sizes of its citizens as part of medical checks.

They do this to discourage people from being obese and risking their health due to weight-related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

People who exceed the recommended waist size based on gender follow a diet plan to help them lose weight.

Key Takeaway – The Japanese government encourages a healthy lifestyle. Japan records the lowest numbers of obesity amongst its people.

Ideal Diet In Japan

Japanese people follow a strict but healthy diet.

A standard family eats nutrient-rich, less processed, and natural foods.

Dashi sauce in a bowl
Tasty Dashi sauce

They avoid dairy products and red meats.

Typical meals in a home consist of:

  • seafood
  • fruits
  • grains
  • and vegetables

The government is keen to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, especially among the elderly.

Following a low calorie and fat content diet has helped increase life expectancy and lower age-related conditions like arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

How To Lose Weight In Japan

If you are new to Japan and keen to lose weight, following their lifestyle will help you achieve your ideal weight.

The Japanese maintain their slim figure with a lot of vegetables. They steam them, eat them raw or make delicious vegetable soups.

Tatami dining facts
Tatami dining

Their vegetable cooking method is very light to ensure they do not lose their nutrients.

Fish and seafood are also a standard part of their everyday diet, as red meat contains many calories.

Remember This: Omega 3 found in fish helps break down body fat. If you follow their diet strictly, you will lose weight in no time.


What the Japanese see as fat differs across the world.

A medium-sized person in another part of the world would be considered fat in Japan.

It does not necessarily mean the person is overweight, as their measuring standards are very different. 

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