The ultimate store for feminine needs. Period.

Even though menstruation is a perfectly normal part of human life, it has been a bit of a taboo subject in Japan, with certain places refusing to allow women simply because of their monthly periods.

But in recent years, many in Japan have been trying to reclaim this regular part of their lives, even making it cute with goods like Sailor Moon feminine pads.

And now one department store in Osaka has taken a giant leap in the next direction. Not only are they opening up a store dedicated to women’s sexuality and period needs, but they’re also striving to lower the stigma of menstruation by having staff members wear badges saying if they’re on their period.

▼ The regular name tag on the left, the “period badge” on the right. Wearing it or not is left up to each staff member personally.

▼ The character on the period tag is Seiri-chan, Japan’s mascot for periods, who has original manga and other goods available in the store too.

The store is michi kake, part of the Daimaru department store in Umeda, Osaka. It opened on November 22, in collaboration with the period prediction app Luna Luna.

Just like how the app separates menstruation into four periods — The Blue Period (on your period), The Glittering Period (after your period), The Turbulence Period (when you feel irritable), and The Gloomy Period (right before your period) — the shop itself organizes merchandise into the four categories too, in order to better serve customers’ needs.

In addition to menstrual goods, the store also has underwear, medicine, herbal tea, cosmetics, bedding materials, and of course, adult toys for women.

▼ Some photos of the inside of the shop, showing a sample of the goods available.

Of course what has many people talking is the “period badges” that staff can wear if they are so inclined. It’s one thing to sell menstruation goods, but it’s a whole other to fully embrace it like this, to help eliminate any unnecessary embarrassment or shame between customers and staff.

The department store manager Takahiro Imazu had this to say about michi kake:

“In Japan, there is a tendency for women’s sexuality and periods to be subjects ‘not to be mentioned.’ Not all customers will react positively to [this shop], but the femtech boom is growing, and the values of young people are changing with it. I might be going a little far in saying this, but I am excited for it to become a shop for solutions for women’s sensitive needs, and to be an asset to the marketplace.”

Comments online from Japanese netizens varied, mostly concentrating on the period badges:

“Customers don’t want to know if the staff are on their periods. I feel so bad for them, wearing them while working.”

“I’m against the badges. Periods affect people differently, especially with age, and there’s not a lot of education about that, so making it a focus like that is dangerous.”

“I have anemia and use birth control to help. I thought my condition was normal since I never learned about it anywhere else. Because of that we need to be more open about sexuality and periods (even more than we already are!). I mean, it’s not like the badges are even mandatory.”

“It says that wearing the badges is up to the individual staff member, but I doubt they’d be able to refuse their bosses asking.”

“There’s a lot of people saying that it’s ‘weird’ or ‘gross,’ but changing that way of thinking is the exact reason the shop opened. And don’t forget, this store was opened by women, for women, not men.”

What do you think? Would you go to a store like this? Let us know in the comments, and if you can’t get down to Osaka to check out michi kake, then feel free to hop into the all-women sushi bar in Tokyo instead.

Shop information
michi kake / ミチカケ
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kitaku, Umeda 3-1-1 Daimaru Umeda 5F
大阪府大阪市北区梅田3-1-1 大丸梅田店5階
Open: Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.,
Saturday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Source: WWD JAPAN via My Game News Flash, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Twitter/@wwd_jp
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