As if the historic bankruptcy of Japan Airlines were not enough, smut peddler Shukan Asahi Geino (Mar. 4) firmly sticks tongue in cheek in deeming the increase in abundance of flight attendant uniforms hitting the market to be a further indignity.
For fans fostering a uniform fetish, stewardess attire is hard to obtain, with JAL’s being up near the top of the pecking order. Japan’s flag carrier strictly regulates the distribution of each gal’s gear, requiring return upon termination of employment, and affixes registration numbers inside. It’s serious business: a special section within JAL monitors Internet auction sites for illicit sales and five years ago a contract worker was arrested for attempting to broker a sale for a uni sported by airline lounge employees.
A recent check of the Yahoo! Auction site by Shukan Asahi Geino revealed a fifth generation design by fashion house Hanae Mori going for 35,000 yen and a seventh generation “full set,” including blouse, jacket, skirt, pumps, apron, nameplate and stockings, fetching 280,000 yen. (The magazine includes a screen shot of an auctions page displaying an All Nippon Airways uniform on offer for a princely 500,000 yen.)
It is likely redundant to report that well-worn garments garner premium prices. Typically the designs date back to the ’80s and ’90s, but the difference now, says one rabid collector, is the interest in new models. Yet pawning such an item remains a gamble.
“Using net auctions can be risky,” warms the collector. “So bringing the goods to a cosplay shop is preferable. When the girls are hired, they receive two or three uniforms. So one can easily be sold.”
The public relations department at JAL cited the existence of more pertinent concerns in refusing to respond to an inquiry made by the tabloid about their uniform policies.
The magazine surmises that confusion within JAL, particularly at top levels, is creating a sense of unease among employees.
Kazuo Inamori, the founder of electronics components maker Kyocera and director to also bankrupt mobile telephone operator Willcom, was appointed CEO in January. A JAL insider tells the tabloid that Inamori is a loyal confidant to Democratic Party of Japan’s scandal-plagued Secretary General, Ichiro Ozawa, and adds that a rumor now circulating indicates that the CEO post was conferred on the condition that Willcom receive public funds upon its bankruptcy, which occurred on February 18, one month after JAL.
“With no bonus and salary cuts, employees are unmotivated,” the insider continues. “So if they have items of value they are going to want to sell them. It makes sense.”
JAL plans to cut 15,000 employees under its restructuring plan and eliminate 1,300 stewardess jobs by the end of March — developments that will likely lead to more prohibited regalia hitting the market, drools the weekly. (A.T.)
Source: “JAL succhii ga seifuku wo urimakutteiru ‘shiyozumi furusetto’ ha 20 manen de baibai,” Shukan Asahi Geino (Mar. 4)