'Mr. Babe,' Fashion Mag For Chubby Men, Launches In Japan

Generally overlooked by the world of fashion, portly men now have a sartorial resource all their own -- at least in Japan. Mr. Babe, which bills itself as the country’s first fashion and lifestyle title “by chubby men, for chubby men,” hit the newsstands back in October with a cover price of $5.50 and a mission of helping a growing (get it?) cohort of Japanese men find clothes that not only look good but actually fit.

The magazine’s debut issue featured style-savvy American comedian Jack Black on the cover. Its graphic style will be familiar to anyone who has perused edgy Asian magazines targeting niche audiences, with lots of white space offsetting “can’t miss it” blocks of text, and English words and phrases sprinkled occasionally throughout. Content covers not only fashion and grooming but lifestyle topics like romance and health.



In its main content category, the magazine delivers fashion and style advice on what flatters stocky men, with a somewhat hipster-retro accent, as reflected in the choice of hats (newsboys, bowlers and fedoras), bow ties, and cravats. Unsurprisingly, styling choices tend towards looser outfits -- without being baggy or dumpy.

Mr. Babe’s launch is certainly well-timed. Despite its reputation as a streamlined country, like the rest of the developed world, Japan’s population has exhibited rising rates of obesity as it ages, while younger adults are also seeing their waistlines expand due to a more sedentary lifestyle. From 1976 to 2000 the prevalence of obesity in Japanese boys increased from 6.1% to 11.1%, while 24% of people ages 15 and up are considered overweight.

Back in 2008 the government passed a controversial “metabo” law, requiring men to maintain a waistline of 33.5 inches or less and women to maintain a waistline of 35.4 inches or less. People who exceed these targets are required to attend counseling and weight-loss coaching sessions.

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