Is Japan Lilliput? Chair company appealing to ‘short-legged and short-bodied’ Japanese seems to think so.

National stereotypes, formed in a bygone, pre-globalised world, can be pervasive things. While there are probably some positive stereotypes, reaffirming national identities, many are not so, and recently a gaming chair that advertised itself as being perfect for Japanese gamers and desk workers found out that some people don’t take too kindly to them.

Twitter user @nisiedas posted the above tweet, showing that the description given for the Zametan RS-400S explains that it’s a “lowdown” chair, designed to cater to the “short-legged and bodied Japanese person” so they can rest their feet comfortably on the floor, stress-free, rather than have them dangle down as they sit at their desk.

The left-hand image below shows a Japanese woman, or skirt-wearing man with exceptionally smooth legs, supposedly suffering in an American-style chair with legs hanging down and undue stress on their back and hips, while the right shows the comfort advantage for the shorter office worker or gamer.

▼ This Twitter user added a blurb next to the chair, which appears to be laughing: “Short legs lololololol” and “Short height lololololol”

Other Twitter users had plenty to say, with some able to take a wry look at the Lilliputian image of Japanese people, while others were less happy.

“Even the chair is laughing.”
“I’m more than six foot tall, I’ll give that a miss, thanks.”
“So I’m the kind of person who should be using that chair, am I?”
“Are they taking the mickey?”
“Certainly, most Japanese people have short legs, a product of
seiza [formal sitting position, where you sit with your legs tucked under you] maybe?”
“In all the world, is it only Japanese people that have little legs or something?”

The seat is made by office chair specialists, Bauhutte, and although many commenters and some news sites were angry at this tarring of the good name of the Japanese people with the short brush by a ‘foreign company’, it turns out that the company is actually Japanese, part of Osaka-based B-es; the same company that produces other niche goods like pet homes sized for humans.

While there are plenty of exceptionally tall Japanese men and women, it’s true that the average height is still less than most other countries, standing at about 171 centimetres (5 feet, 6 inches) for men and 159 centimetres (5 feet, 3 inches) for women, according to statistical data from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. There’s no need for Japanese men to be getting a Napoleon complex about it though; at least one survey suggests that Japanese women like their men fun-sized.

Whether or not there is actually a need for slightly shorter gaming chairs, the company has at least been getting plenty of publicity, so who knows what other alterations they might be able to make to cater to each countries’ stereotype to give them the perfect gaming experience – perhaps a baguette holder for the French, a sombrero hook for Mexicans, or the name tag ‘Bruce’ sown into every chair that makes its way to Australia? Although speaking personally as a walking, talking stereotype, they won’t have my interest until they install a tea urn on it.

Source: Twitter/@nisiedas via Hachimakiko
Featured image: Twitter/@asahata2525
Insert images: Bauhutte, Bibilab