Nude cell phones are so last year–at least in Japan. Today’s strange underwear news deals with SMART PANTS™, aka cell phone underwear, which is apparently taking Japan by storm. (Yesterday’s news was antibacterial panties. Big week for underwear, it seems.) We know that the Japanese love testing out new fashion trends, but we aren’t sure we could have ever seen this coming.
A recent article on a Japanese subculture website explained the phenomenon, which began when Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai Co. brought the undies to market in March of this year. SMART PANTS™ are the brainchild of a Bandai employee, 27-year-old Hisashi Moriuchi, who told the Japan Subculture Research Center, “I was asked by my boss to come out with something amusing to sell in capsule vending machines. So I thought it would be funny to dress up my iPhone with underwear.” Hiroshi, you are clearly a millennial. And, for the record, it’s not just fun; it’s HILARIOUS.
Since March, Bandai has released a number of collections–most recently, a collection that includes iPad-sized SMART PANTS™. Hiroshi explained the strange new place for panties like this, “The purpose of the smart pants is partly to protect the home button of your smart phone from being accidentally pushed. People wear pants to protect their sexual organs, their most sensitive spot. Well, on the Android phones, that’s the home button and the same with the iPhone. It just feels right to cover it up nicely.”
Hiroshi’s intentions, while reasonable and logical, come off as quite comical to us, but the Japanese are eating it up. Since this past spring more than 1 million cell phone panties have been sold. SMART PANTS™ are currently sold in Japan, Hong Kong, and China, but Bandai is planning a UK launch some time soon; Europe might come soon after. No word yet on the United States, but we’re not sure Americans are mature enough to handle this trend anyway.