TOKYO -Japan is known as one of the world's most rapidly aging societies, and the fashion show on Thursday proved the country's diaper producers are intent on keeping the elderly clean and dry.
Before the models took over, players at the theater in downtown Tokyo acted out skits instructing viewers how to tell when elderly loved ones need diapers, how to convince them to put them on and how to properly use them. In one skit, an elderly man shook his head in dismay after his wife pointed out that he wet the bed overnight again.
The crowd of several hundred people included diaper manufacturers, nursing home workers and doctors. Like many events in Japan, the show was heavy on detailed information, showing how certain types of diapers suit the bedridden, such as models that can be wrapped around the midsection. Pants-like slip-on diapers, on the other hand, are more suitable for active oldsters.
It means a booming market for adult diapers! Indeed, adult diapers are an increasingly common item in Japan, home to one of the world's longest average lifespans. More than 20 percent of the population is over 65, and the country is forecast to have the globe's largest number of centenarians , 1 million , by 2050, the U.N. says.
"A lot of people make mistakes when choosing diapers," said Hamada. "We can make it so people no longer feel uneasy about taking care of old people."
"It was great to see so many different types of diapers all in one showing," gushed Aya Habuka, 26. "I learned a lot. This is the first time that diapers are being considered as fashion."
The Nikkei, Japan's leading business newspaper, conducted a survey this week that showed sales of adult diapers have more than doubled over the past decade, reaching an estimated 52.5 billion yen ($500 million) this year.