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Kategori: Zentai suits

Zentai Walk: Running around Escolta in a bodysuit was strangely liberating and cathartic

Zentai Walk
Walking around in a bodysuit sounded like fun, a chance to live my ultimate fantasy as a superhero, villain or even a supermodel in a catsuit. So I answered Japanese artist Yuzuru Maeda’s call for participants to the Zentai Walk on Feb 13. “Zentai is short for zenshin taitsu,” Yuzuru said as she distributed the colorful suits from which the project took its name. “It means body tight, and they were made by Japanese men in the 1980s. The idea came from superheroes."

There were about 20 other participants gathered at 98B Collaboratory’s office, the artist-run space in Manila that organized the event. I asked Yuzuru how the project came about, and she said she thought that it would be fun for both participants and viewers to “paint” the streets with color, an experience she “wanted to share with people who are not usually in the art scene.”  
Daryl de Veyra
Zentai Walk, she said, was about “questioning identities, individuality and spirituality.” People pile on identities in the course of their lives, but wearing the suit can perhaps shed the accumulated personas layer by layer through the course of the one-hour walk.

Our guide, a girl with a pink banner and a megaphone, soon announced that it was time to take a stroll. Yuzuru helped zip up my shiny black bodysuit, and my world turned into a sea of hazy forms and desaturated colors as soon as the fabric covered by eyes. I thought that if I saw less of everything, then everybody would probably see less of me as well, and there was this sense of anonymity. To stand among my new-found “anonymous” brethren also felt strange, and wonderful.  

“The participants don’t see each others’ faces, so you kind of become friends without introducing ‘I am doing this job, or I study in this school’ — we don’t need these introductions to be friends,” the artist said. By the time we hit the streets, I had forgotten about my superhero (or model) fantasies. “They (the participants) walk on a street that they know, but the reaction of the people (the bystanders) was different because of the suit," said Yuzuru, “and the experience of ‘same place, but different experience’ is interesting.”
The adults kept their distance and simply stared, but the children were certainly amused.
I’ve strolled through Escolta many times, but never in a black bodysuit accompanied by a spandex-clad squad. The place’s denizens were in the midst of their daily grind when we took a stroll. Adults kept their distance and simply stared, with some perhaps annoyed by the invasion of the spandex platoon. But the children were certainly amused, most of whom approached us to ask for high fives, shake our hands, engage in easy banter or simply romp along with us.

Devoid of my real self and prejudices, the street kids amused me with their own perceptions of the figures who’ve descended on their neighborhood, some shouted "Power Rangers," others screamed “mumu.” Clichéd as it may sound, the experience was liberating. The anonymity emboldened us to engage with strangers and to explore our “playground” with childlike wonder. I was having a lot of fun in my new skin when the guide announced that it was time to head back.
The anonymity emboldened us to engage with strangers and to explore our “playground” with childlike wonder.
Upon Yuzuru’s prodding, we piled into a jeepney for one last photo-opportunity. After a couple of shots, the driver informed us that he needed to fill the jeepney with paying passengers, a cue for us to leave. I would have ordinarily dismissed the statement as a sly attempt at extortion, but my suit apparently shed off my cynism. I remember dutifully exiting the jeepney, thinking that it was only fair, “trabaho lang po,” as the driver said, for us to leave the space that earned the man his income.

I had one last go as a faceless being and asked a Burger Machine vendor for a roast beef sandwich. “Naubusan na kami,” she replied without batting an eyelash. Then and there I realized that Escolta was getting used to its visiting aliens as well. Yuzuru was right when she said that “the Zentai Walk is a beautiful experience.”  It revealed many things to me: Escolta’s alter-ego, the soul trapped beneath layers of my own accumulated identities, and life’s bigger truths.  
Brains behind Zentai Walk, Japanese artist Yuzuru Maeda.
In her Zentai Art Project website, Yuzuru seems to have figured things out. “People say the world would not last long if we continue to consume the way we do now.  But I think we are not looking for a new invention that can save the world. I believe the key is to have less desires or identities.  If we could live simple, there's much less things we require materially.”

‘Zentai’ fans search for identity in fetish suits

By day, she is a mild-mannered office clerk whose modest make-up and conservative hairstyle allow her to blend in with any crowd.

By night, she dresses in a skin-tight, all-in-one Spandex body suit that covers everything — including her eyes — and sits in bars, alone but liberated, she believes, from the judgment of others.

“With my face covered, I cannot eat or drink like other customers,” said the woman, who is in her 20s and says her name is Hokkyoku Nigo (North Pole No. 2).

“I have led my life always worrying about what other people think of me. They say I look cute, gentle, childish or naive,” she said, her lips ruffling the tight, red shiny material.

“I always felt suffocated by that. But wearing this, I am just a person in a full body suit.”

Hokkyoku Nigo is part of a small subset in Japan with a fetish for wearing outfits called “zentai” — an abbreviation of “zenshintaitsu”, which means “full body suit” — who say they are seeking liberation by effacing the physical self.

Some meet through Internet forums and through gatherings like the Tokyo Zentai Club, whose ten members get together every other month, just like any other group, to hold barbecues or parties. Unlike any other group, they are covered head-to-toe in skintight Lycra.

“I was always fascinated by hero costumes as a child,” said member Hanaka, 22, who was introduced to the club by her 25-year-old boyfriend, Popo.

“When I was 13 or 14, I even tried to make a full-body suit myself, sewing stockings together. But I stopped, thinking maybe I was doing something weird.

“I was really happy when I finally found out on the Internet that there were people like me out there,” said Hanaka, who always comes to Tokyo Zentai Club events with Popo.

While the hobby is a long way from being mainstream in Japan, a country with an unsurpassed ability to dream up slightly off-the-wall pastimes, it makes occasional appearances in popular culture.

Among the most prominent was a movie of comedy vignettes that each focused on common but crushingly awkward social situations that were resolved through a conversion to zentai wearing.

In one, a recipe-blogging housewife who is a victim of bullying by a group of homemakers gives up the fight against the overbearing leader and finds liberation in a circle of zentai lovers.

And in seeming homage to the superheroes whose unspoken presence informs adherents’ costume choices, a young man dressed as a Power Ranger made headlines in Japan after it was revealed he hangs around at the entrance to a subway station to help young mothers carry their baby buggies down stairs.

While some might have good deeds on their minds as they slip inside their suits, others acknowledge that there is something sexual about the practice.

“I like to touch and stroke others and to be touched and stroked like this,” said a 36-year-old teacher, Nezumiko.

“Once you are in one of these suits, you can feel the person, instead of looking at them. “I am not a lesbian, but I wouldn’t mind being with a woman like this. . . . In zentai, it is a completely different kind of sensation from straight sex.”

Academic Ikuo Daibo of Tokyo Mirai University said zentai fans seems to be groping for a different way of expressing their own identity.

“In Japan, many people feel lost; they feel unable to find their role in society,” he said.

“They have too many role models and cannot choose which one to follow.”

He said they take solace from the erasing of their outward appearances and say they believe it offers a way for people to get to know others as they are, rather than because of how they look.

“In a way, they are trying to expose their deeper self by hiding their own identity,” said Daibo. “I find it a very interesting way of communication.”

Walk at Forest in Your Favorite Zentai Suit

If you can not have fun with your friends all the time, you probably should try to wear zentai suit and walk in the forest! If you want to wear your awesome zentai suit at some public place, but worry other people stare at you, forest is absolute nice choice!

When weekend is coming, just wear your lycra spandex suit and go outside! And of course, don’t forget to take your camera, because take some nice shot is fun! I trust for most of zenta enthusiasts, they had great experience of walking at forest in zentai suits!

Enjoy the beautiful nature in your favorite suit, there is no annoying noise, no cars, no pollution, but fresh air, green trees, you can just completely enjoy a different world, enjoy yourself, release stress, that’s so amazing!

In addition, it must be very interesting experience for wear several zentai suits together! And actually, if your zentai is made with high quality spandex lycra, you are able to see out clearly! So, don’t worry you will fall down when you walk in several zentai suits! What’s more, for most of zentai enthusiasts, it’s a pretty nice feeling of being tight!

Three Questions before Buying A Zentai Suit

If you are planning on buying your first zentai suit, maybe this topic is helpful, because it figure out some of questions that you may worry about lycra spandex suit!

1. Is zentai suit difficult to move in? Do people can breathe easily when they are in the suits?

It is pretty easily to move in, and of course, it is breathable. Because most of zentai suit are made of spandex lycra, the fabric are stretchy.

2. Does the flash expose skin underneath the suit, when you take pictures of you are in a suit?

For the question, just take it easy, most of zentai suit is thick though, that means there is nothing show through even when expose to a camera flash! If you still have a little worry, you can consider some deep or brilliant colors zentai suit, and avoid white or yellow, these light color suits!

3. Whether it is able to be paint or not?

It is interesting that lots of guys like to paint on their zentai suits! Actually, you can paint on your suit you want, well, due to the fabric is extremely stretchy, so you may find it is hard that craft paints work well on them, and the paint may flake off.

The difference between zentai, morphsuits and catsuits

What is zentai?

Zentai, comes form the Japanese word “ゼンタイ/全身タイツ : zenshin taitsu “, the meaning of the word is refer to one kind of garment which cover the whole body.

The original zentai suit was made by the lycra, generally speaking, also the face was covered. But now, zentai can be made by many other fabrics, such as PVC, shiny Metallic.

What is morphsuits?

In fact, the meaning of morphsuits is almost the same with zentai, but, some fans think that zentai suit is more fetishes, but a morpusuit is having more fun.

A morephsuit also has those following two characters, the first is the that they are lycra spandex suit, and the second one is that they are with full body suit, the orginal morphsuits, as for me, it is one kind of one color full body zentai suit, but, later on, some of them are with some patterns, such as leopard, stripes and flag.

What is Catsuit?

Catsuits, generally speaking, it is one piece of garment that covers legs or arms, generally speaking, it is made by lycra, chiffon, leather, there will be on zipper at the front of the back. They can be worn by women or men.

Now, there are some variations based on zentai, such as mummy bag, hybrid suits which just contain one leg or arms, or just covered the legs but without arms.