AsiaWire/Triumph International Japan

A 55-year-old Japanese singer famous throughout her country for her voice is finding fame again as an underwear model.


Seiko Matsuda is living proof that beauty knows no age barriers.


She is finding fame all over again as the model for lingerie firm Triumph International Japan - advertising a new floral line of smalls that is in complete contrast to her earlier career.


Seiko first made a name for herself at the age of 18.  Now she is storming into homes on TV screens as the mature face of sexy underwear.


The commercials she stars in are filmed with a special high speed camera and have earned her a new cult following - among the young!


She has been called the "eternal idol" in the past for her enduring beauty and one Japanese newspaper commented: "Her total body confidence proves there’s no age limit to beauty; as long as you feel beautiful in your skin, you too can be an ‘eternal idol’, no matter what age you are!"


Cosmetics manufacturers and fashion houses discovered some years ago that wealthy, middle-aged Japanese women are the ones they want to target.


Apparel makers, department stores and other fashion-oriented businesses are striving to attract women in their 40s and 50s as they remain active consumers, regardless of economic conditions.


"When we were university students, we had part-time jobs and spent our money on brand-name dresses and bags," says a 47-year-old planning manager at a company in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, adding: "Those in our generation have a feeling we’re always the main characters in society."


After an overseas assignment, the company employee married and now has two children in elementary school. Although busy with both parenting and work, she still pays attention to fashion trends and cosmetics.


She said: "I don’t really jump at fads anymore but buy things that are really valuable," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.


She added: "I often exchange information with friends in my own generation."


Department store operator Takashimaya Co. opened a sales floor for working women in that age bracket in collaboration with apparel company Sanyo Shokai Ltd. when it completed refurbishing its Nihonbashi store in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward in 2012.


Expecting that such women often take business trips, garments on the floor include wrinkle-resistant jackets and shirts.


Cosmetic makers are also developing high-performance skin care products as aging of the skin gradually becomes more noticeable in women of the age group.


Author: Gabriel Zamfir

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