Lacy boxer briefs a hit among Japanese men

Things about gender are not always clearcut in Japan.

Some of the guys can spend as much time and money on their skincare and hair as the ladies. Styles of haircuts and clothing too are not always divided down the conventional male-female divide, from the male kimono to the elaborate styling of nightclub hosts. And that’s before we even get into the deep and rich world of crossdressing and transgender.

While we will leave the cultural theory implications about this to the armchair philosophers among our readers, we were delighted to come across this story about the apparent new hit in the underwear market: lacy boxer briefs for men.

Produced by Wacoal, a major lingerie brand best known for its women’s underwear, the dainty “genderless” briefs became available for preorders in autumn 2021, and the response was far beyond expectations.

Preorder sales were many times above Wacoal’s target and it reached its three-month goal in just 10 days. The briefs were sold online and at three stores, including in the venerable Isetan department store in Shinjuku.

Wacoal was forced to ramp up production in April to keep up with demand.

Who’s buying these lacy briefs? Apparently it’s mostly men in their thirties and forties.

japan-genderless lacy boxer briefs men wacoal

japan-genderless lacy boxer briefs men wacoal

“It was love at first sight,” enthused a customer in the review section on Wacoal’s website. “I love the design and immediately purchased it.” The reviews on are likewise raves.

japan-genderless lacy boxer briefs men wacoal

The article in the Asahi ends by noting how male underwear trends in Japan tend to shifts every 20 years, developing from long underdrawers in the postwar years to briefs to boxers. This genderless, lacy briefs are perhaps merely the latest iteration in this evolution of fashion.

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