Ita (痛), meaning pain, is the latest buzzword doing the rounds in cool Japan. It’s used to describe something emblazoned with an anime or manga design, so bright and out-there that it’s painful to the eye. A suit with a cute anime girl pattern inside? That would be the itasuit. A car completely covered in graffiti-style tags and wide-eyed characters? The itasha. And what about nails with different character designs on each nail? That’s itanail. And according to a recent online survey, itanail is becoming more and more popular by the day.
Public Market Corporation, a nail design and manufacturing company, recently conducted the survey with 76 nail salon workers. The question was: “Compared with the previous six months, do you think requests for anime and manga character designs on nails have increased?” The vast majority of them (71.1 percent) said yes.
A couple of comments from respondents:
“Itanail orders have increased because regular women want to copy celebrities who get it done” (Nail salon staff, Minato, Tokyo)
“The number of customers wanting only a few itanails done instead of a full set has also increased” (Nail salon manager, Shibuya, Tokyo)
Chieko Nakayama, a prominent nail designer (who designed both the Akabane, Tokyo Kita ward nails above and the 3-D Rody character nails below) looks after the nails of famous Japanese celebrity Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and also well-known fashion magazine models. This is what she had to say about the trend:
“Expressing yourself through gel and 3-D acrylic nail art has become a really big thing right now. Also, the popularity of nail art stickers means anyone can get into nail art really easily. So I think the demand for personalized itanails, among both celebrities and ordinary people, will continue to increase.”
With the new itanail craze, even people who have never stepped foot in a nail salon before are becoming interested in getting their nails done. There’s even an “itanail specialist shop” in Akihabara, the famous hub for all things manga and anime. People from around the world are also getting in on the action, sharing twitter and facebook photos from Japan with cries of “kawaii!” (cute!) Katy Perry even got her fix on a recent visit to Tokyo, tweeting photos of her unique Daria nails to her millions of followers, and gushing like a true professional itanail enthusiast.
So what do you make of this current “pain nail” trend? Pleasure or pain? If it were you, what type of itanail design would you get done? Check out some of the designs below from Colors Beauty Salon, the itanail specialist shop in Akihabara.