Japanese Body Odor

I want to take a moment to discuss Japanese body odor. This is one of those weird things that I had actually googled at one point. I grew up in a country where everyone I came into contact with had body odor at some point. While they might smell good after a shower or during work, things like stress, nervousness, or a good workout would eventually cause them to start smelling a bit. It’s just human nature to have worse body odor at different times. Some people suffer from body odor worse than others. I personally am a teacher and have noticed 4th grade boys starting to have stronger body odor in the evenings. Or what about living with my brother growing up? I personally get nervous when public speaking or meeting new people for the first time so I have to make sure I’m good about using deodorant. My point is– it’s natural to have body odor.

This brings me to Yohei. He rarely smells bad! I’m not talking about him just being great at using deodorant or that he has a special brand of deodorant that somehow works better than others. No, I’m talking about in general. He could literally wake up in the morning and forget to wear deodorant, cleanup around the house, go to the store to get groceries in 75 degree weather, go work out at the gym for an hour, and then return home with zero body odor. I mean sometimes he will have some body odor but not often.  I can’t remember when I first caught on to this but when I did I of course asked him about it. He just shrugged and said that Japanese don’t have bad body odor. I was super skeptical of this answer and eventually googled it.

Sure enough, he was right. Now this isn’t true of all Japanese people but it is true for many of them. Apparently, they have less apocrine sweat glands than other cultures. I even saw something about their ear wax. I’m not sure if this is true and I can’t remember where I found it at but I’ll explain it as best as possible. You know how our ear wax can be kind of oily and we use q tips to get it out? Well apparently the Japanese who have less apocrine sweat glands also have different ear wax. Instead of the waxy/oily stuff we get, they have dry skin that flakes off. So I’ve been told that a Japanese person who has ear wax like us also will sweat more.  So I guess there’s some kind of connection between the two. Again, I’m not sure how true this is but it seems to hold up for Yohei. I’ve never seen him use a q tip to get earwax out. His ears will get dry though and he’ll use a “Japanese ear cleaner” to clean his ears. It looks nothing like our q tips. It is hard and used to I guess scrape the inside of his ear.

So yeah, I hope I explained that well enough. Again, it’s not true for all Japanese. If you are dating a Japanese person and have noticed that they don’t sweat as easily as you then  don’t worry– it’s normal. I only wish I was as lucky. :/

(The attached picture: these are two kinds of Japanese ear cleaners we have.)