Japanese women asked to wear badges to work when they are on their period - here's why

Tampon and flowers in pink background
Tampon and flowers in pink background

A Japanese shop that provides menstrual goods has asked its staff members who menstruate to wear badges informing clients when they are on their period. 

The measure has been introduced at the Michi Kake store in the Daimaru shopping centre located in the city of Osaka in the southern Japanese prefecture of the same name. 

According to local media, menstruation is still considered a taboo subject in Japan, and in recent years, companies have introduced novelty products such as Sailor Moon feminine pads.

Store manager Takahiro Imazu, told local media: “In Japan, there is a tendency for women’s sexuality and periods to be taboo subjects.”

Women staff members at the newly-opened store, which sells products dedicated to women’s sexual and menstrual needs, have been asked to wear badges stating whether they are on their period.

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Wearing the badge is left up to individual staff members, but if they choose to take part, they pin a ‘period badge’ next to their normal name tag.

The badge features a ‘period cartoon character’ called Seiri-Chan and is split into the following four categories;

The 'Blue Period' means the worker is menstruating, the 'Glitter Period' is worn after the period, the 'Turbulence Period' is for when staff members feel irritable, and the 'Gloomy Period' is for the moments leading up to menstruation.

The shop also displays its products in line with the four categories.

In addition to period products, the shop also offers underwear, medicine, herbal tea, makeup and sex toys, according to reports.

“Not every customer will react positively, but the fem-tech industry is booming and the values of young people are changing with it,” says the store manager. 

South Africa has had its own initiatives to destigmatise menstruation - the latest effort having been from music sensation Sho Madjozi. 

Sho Madjozi, in partnership with Stayfree, launched a Facebook chatbot called 'In Sync with Sho Madjozi', designed to serve young women’s needs in menstrual health. 

READ MORE: More than 52% of women in the workplace would rather ask their boss for a salary increase than admit they are on their period 

The chatbot, available for free on Facebook’s Messenger platform, provides information through audio clips of conversations between Sho Madjozi and a health professional, illustrations and text conversations.

Users can also anonymously submit their questions and comments via the chatbot, which are answered by experts who are on standby to assist.  

Speaking about the chatbot, Sho Madjozi says, “I hope this channel will open up a space where it’s not only acceptable but it’s cool to discuss menstruation. I wish I knew more about menstruation when I started."

She says when she started there was shame around menstruation. "There was the idea that I should already know what to do about it. I had to learn the hard way through a lot of confusion and ruined underwear and it’s my hope for girls out there, that as they enter into this stage, they are more prepared and more comfortable with their bodies because of the information that we’re putting out there,” she says. 

Additional reporting by Magazine Features

Compiled by Phelokazi Mbude

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