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Fads, Fashion and Foolery for 1994

January 04, 1994|TERESA WATANABE

Tokyo — THOSE FUN-LOVING JAPANESE: Call 1994 the year of sex, sports and austerity in Japan. Consider:

* The T-back is out. The O-back is in. Young, club-prowling women who used to show off their derrieres in G-strings, otherwise known as T-backs for the shape of the rear view, are now donning O-backs (use your imagination). It's all part of a look-at-me trend that began with dirty dancing at discos and has now spread to a boom in nude photo collection books. So far, a stampede of women celebrities, from late 20s to early 50s--and one man, 45-year-old actor Akira Nishikino--have been featured in such books. And publishers promise more big-name celebrities baring all in 1994. Meanwhile, inquiring minds are turning their attention to the royal sex life of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako. Having turned 30 years old in December, the princess is being gently reminded by women's magazines that a royal pregnancy will ring in a good new year.

* Sumo is out, professional soccer is in. Japan's year-old Professional Football League, known as the J-League, has brought in more than 4 million fans, $95 million in receipts and royalties on products ranging from potato chips to floppy discs sold at more than 700 J-League retail outlets. Voted 1993's biggest hit by Nikkei Trendy magazine, J-League looks strong again for 1994.

* Italian designer clothes, Tiffany's jewelry and fancy French wine are out. As recession continues to grip Japan, austerity is in. Consumers are flocking to stores featuring cheap men's suits, to discount outlets and to street stalls called yatai that sell grilled squid and other down-home Japanese cooking.

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