The term asoko is a euphemism commonly used by Japanese females when referring to their you-know-whats. Written backwards in katakana script, it becomes what can be pronounced “cosoa,” which is also the name of a new brand of feminine hygiene soap that’s been selling like hotcakes this summer, reports Nikkan Gendai (Aug. 7).
It seems that in hot, humid weather, certain parts of the body generate odors that ordinary soaps can’t easily remove. Cosoa ingredients include jamu, which is used in traditional Indonesian herbal remedies, and soya isoflavone extract, a powerful antioxidant.
Cosoa is the most familiar, but not the only brand name for this type of product (another is “Deep Attraction”). Despite its relatively high price of 2,000 to 3,000 yen a pop, cosoa sales, mostly online via such channels as Rakuten and Beauty Motherleaf, have been brisk, thanks largely to word-of-mouth advertising.
According to a source in the online industry, this summer alone over 400,000 pieces have been sold.
To this, Nikkan Gendai’s obviously male writer can’t resist cracking a silly pun. You see “piece” is ko in Japanese, so “400,000 pieces” is pronounced yonjuuman-ko. The reporter’s ears perk up at the sound of the final two syllables man-ko, which is a rather vulgar term for the female reproductive organ.
A doctor advises self-conscious women not to overdo things, as over-fastidiousness can cause more harm than good.
“Washing the vagina too much can result in its losing its self-cleaning function, making it easier for bacteria to propagate,” a Tokyo-based gynecologist tells Nikkan Gendai. “Such bacteria would not only cause odor but can lead to other health problems. Japanese women are overly sensitive toward odor. Rather than being completely odorless, it’s more natural to have some odor.
“I don’t think they’re worth getting too concerned about,” he adds.
It would seem that young males in particular may be driving demand by their pronounced preference for odorless you-know-whats.
Source: “Asoko Senyo no Sekken!? (A soap exclusively for that part!?),” Nikkan Gendai (August 27, 2008, page 8)