ScreenHunter_304 Dec. 24 09.43

Model Saya Kagawa takes the women’s crown, distracts everyone from a bunch of ripped dudes flexing in the background.

When you think of Japan, you no doubt associate the famously healthy country with long lifespans and low-calorie cuisine.

But in spite of this healthy image, Japan is surprisingly slim (see what we did there?) on the extremely physically fit. Demanding work hours, an abundance of desk jockeys, and somewhat archaic views on dietary health and fitness have left the average Japanese man a little on the shlubby side and many Japanese women completely unconcerned with fitness, preferring to cycle through crash diets every other month to achieve that “just above unhealthily skinny” look sought after by many Japanese men.

One of the few places you’ll see large gatherings of the buff and the beautiful, however, is the annual Best Body Japan contest, which is sort of like a bodybuilding competition for men and a regular model walk for women. We suppose whether or not that’s kind of sexist is up to you to decide.

The competition measures contestants on the “healthfulness, beauty and ‘coolness'” of their physical forms, meaning the men are judged on a more or less traditional bodybuilding rubric – defined pecs and biceps, washboard abs and what-have-you – while the women are judged by traditional modeling standards like length and slenderness of the legs, flatness of the belly, and overall bodily “balance.” There are, however, numerous categories in the competition, so there’s a lot of overlap between this competition and other traditional bodybuilding contests for both the men and women.

Picking up the crown for the Best Body Japan women’s competition this year was half-Japanese, half-Filipino model Saya Kagawa (above), who’s rocking what you might say is the perfect body in the eyes of Japanese men and modeling agencies.

Kagawa, for what it’s worth, says via her Twitter profile that she’s, “a good girl with bad habits,” seemingly implying she doesn’t particularly go out of her way to look the way she does. We will try to conceal our envy while we stuff our faces full of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce this Christmas.

True to form, the Japanese media appears to have been almost entirely unconcerned with the Best Body Japan Men’s winners – preferring instead to leer at the female lineup. In fact, a Japanese language Google search of “Best Body Japan Men’s” yields no front page results actually spelling out the male winner, although if I’m to believe pictures, I’m pretty sure it’s a guy I see at Gold’s Gym regularly. I’ll be sure to give him a high-five or something next time so he knows at least somebody was paying attention.

Source: Kininaru Sokuhou
Images: Twitter/Saya Kagawa