When I started researching this post, my goal was to write and expand upon the Yuru-Kyara (mascot) article I had written before. That was before I upped my Japanese Google-fu and saw a ton of articles comparing the characteristics of healing characters with people, specifically, women, and how they can nurture those healing traits and snag the man of their dreams. With that, let’s enter the feverish world of “Healing Character” in Japan.
Healing Characters (Iyashi-kei, 癒し系)
These are characters that are routinely seen lazing about, being cozy, or being peaceful. Grapee noted that Gudetama is one of the most recognizable Healing Characters, although his defeatist attitude leaves me a bit perplexed as to why he is healing. Regardless, you can see the trademarks of healing characters perfectly in these cats sleeping in tiny beds gatchapon toys: Cozy, warm smile, peaceful, and instilling this feeling of calm within the viewer.
Now we move onto Healing Women. I’ve seen blog posts from as far back as 2015 discussing the merits of becoming a Healing Woman, that men prefer Healing Women, so on and so forth. A Healing Woman embodies all the above characteristics of the Healing Character: Calm, peaceful, easy to approach, and with an innocent smile. How anyone is supposed to radiate this Buddha-like energy is beyond me, but it seems to be a goal in some subsets of female culture here in Japan. This article breaks it down in an amazing guide. Here are some highlights for those who don’t want to read the Japanese (or, you know, use Google Translate):
- Healing Women began 25 years ago as a concept as Japan’s economy began to rebound.
- Men seek maternal instincts in a woman, hence the attractiveness of Healing Women, particularly with the calm and peaceful presence.
- The characteristics of a Healing Woman also extend to their appearance: They should have a rounded body, chubby appearance, small body, a gentle smile, and bulging eyes.
- Some other characteristics include use of feminine makeup and style, an appreciation for small cute animals (and babies), and the ability to not only make people calm, but spaces as well (think interior design or feng shui).
The article goes on to describe ways to cultivate that Healing personality. Such gems include not being an angry woman (you can fix this, though!), not having makeup or fashion that is that is too flashy or unique (men dislike this), and being a good listener (men need you to listen, ladies!). The article also promotes its AI Matchmaking service, so this all feels like a fluff piece to me, but I can’t say how many people are invested in the idea of becoming a more Healing person.
There is a lot that can be said here, from pointing out the problematic ideas of women’s dependency on men, to the whole idea of conforming to one ideal of feminine. As a man writing this, it’s hard for me to really do more than summarize and blink at every new sentence I read. Ladies, can you help me digest this? I must defer to your wisdom on this matter. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!