YA 5

There’s a common phenomenon where people born and raised in Japan appear younger than their actual age to people who grew up in the West. On a trip to Los Angeles, for example, my wife and I wanted to shoot pool at a local bar, but were turned away at the entrance. She had forgotten to take her passport with her when we went out, and the doorman wouldn’t let us in without proof she wasn’t a minor, despite the fact that we were both in our 30s at the time.

The effect is amplified when the person in question looks young even by domestic Japanese perceptions, such as with actress and TV personality Maiko Ito, whose age we’d never have guessed by looking at her.

Our Japanese-language sister site ran an article about Ito in 2011. Your website will never be lonely with pictures of attractive women on it, but our readers were particularly taken with Ms. Ito, who’s been making TV and film appearances for close to 30 years. “She just doesn’t seem to age,” said one fan of the Nagoya native.

▼ Ito, as she appeared in our 2011 article

YA 3

Three years on, Ito’s youthfulness is yet to diminish. And while her fresh-faced looks have of course won her plenty of male fans, she’s also admired by women in Japan who are inspired by the graceful style of her aging (or visual lack thereof).

YA 8

We suppose now is as good a time as ever to inform you that the girlish-looking Ito is in fact 49 years old.

▼ Still looks too young to be a convincing Mrs. Claus

YA 4

YA 6

Ito isn’t shying away from the limelight as she approaches the half-century mark, either. On January 26 she appeared on variety program Akiyoshi Hansekai, looking as effervescent as ever. The actress announced that she’s set to release her first ever set of swimsuit photos. The collection will be available in April as part of a calendar Ito is selling through her official website, but she did give viewers a sneak preview. Waiting until spring to buy a calendar is a bit unorthodox, but we imagine plenty people will make an exception after getting an eyeful of the accompanying snapshots.

▼ Sorry guys, we didn’t add the mosaic. It was put there by Ito’s managers to ensure you buy the calendar when it comes out.

YA 7

In the meantime, you can tide yourself over by viewing more of Ito’s photos, along with her English-language profile, on her official website and Facebook page. Just make sure you mind your manners. Nothing makes a person less attractive than coming off as immature.

Related: Maiko Ito Facebook page, official website
Top image: Facebook
Insert images: Twitpic, Facebook, Maiko Ito official website
[ Read in Japanese ]