Japanese people tend to be known as “short” people compared to the rest of the world, but this stereotype is no longer valid today. So, what happened? What is the average height in Japan? Do they become taller or shrink? Everything will be disclosed in the post below.
The history of the Japanese’s height
In the past, Japanese people were generally modest compared to the global population. The average Japanese height for men during this time was only 5’2” (160.3 cm) and 4’9” (148.9 cm) for women.
Why were they so short?
We all know that genetics is one of the crucial factors that determine height. Meanwhile, other factors like nutrition or environment also play a vital role. According to Discover Magazine, East Asians are shorter because of a gene, called HMGA2. This appears much more common in East Asia compared to Europe and Africa .
Another objective factor is the corollary of war. This made a huge difference in both physical and mental life. And that is why Japanese people were called “short” for a long time.
But between roughly 1950 and 2000, Japanese people have particularly gotten taller. They got approximately 4 inches taller (about 10 cm) in this span.
So, what is the average height in Japan?
The average height Japan for men
The average height for men in Japan is 5’7.4” (171.2 cm), according to Japan’s National Health and Nutrition Survey. Another study also pointed out that the increase in Japan average height is up to 6 inches in the last century.
The average height Japan for women
The average height for women in Japan is 5’2.6” (158.8 cm). As compared to the data above, the average height has been elevated to more than 4 inches.
In comparison with the average height in the U.S., which is 5’9” for men and 5’4.6” for women, the difference is not significant. But in fact, the average height of Japanese people has changed considerably in an approximately short time. Do you think the rise in vertical look in Japan is a great mystery? Why has it changed so much over the years? Keep scrolling to find out now!
What do Japanese people do to get taller?
Consume more dairy and nutritious foods
“Milk Plan” is one of the famous plans the Japanese government launched to improve the health of the Japanese people after World War II. Between the 1950s and 1960s, milk was added to school meals. Students had to drink a cup every day and supplement other dairy foods, like cheese and yogurt. Until these days, they consume various kinds of dairy products than they did before. They eat and drink less than Europeans and Americans though.
In addition to drinking milk, Japan started to robustly encourage ordinary people to eat beef and pork to add more protein, which is a vital ingredient for bone and muscle growth. Interestingly, Japanese families cannot live without fish on their tables a day. Japanese experts have affirmed that fish have the effect of promoting the brain to improve height.
A traditional dish that you easily find in any Japanese meal is natto. It goes well with rice and is super cheap. Importantly, natto is a nutritious food that is helpful for improving bone health and immune function.
Some Japanese families have changed to a westernized menu. Although most housewives still cook rice every morning, the rice is now a supplement to meals of meat, veggies, scrambled eggs, cereal, and toast that would be like on an American table.
Take dietary supplements
Around 45% of Japanese people stated that they took dietary supplements, and about 15% of parents of preschool kids have given supplements to their kids, mostly in the hope of promoting their health.
Japan’s supplement and vitamin industry have a relatively short history. But it has soon become one of the most popular providers with lots of good vitamins and supplements for health, such as DHC, FANCL, Asahi Dear-Natura, etc.
Improve the genes
After World War II, a huge number of U.S. troops settled in Japan. At that time, Japan was deprived of food and clothing, so many Japanese women had to rely on the U.S. military. As a result, “hybrid children” were born, and the height of some people in Japan has improved after decades of development.
Exercising also plays a crucial role in boosting growth because, as we already know, when we exercise, our blood flows. This flow runs through the whole body and is good, especially if you want to secrete growth hormones needed for height growth.
Like the “Milk Plan,” Japan also launched Radio Taisou, or called it as a radio exercise, which has become a popular thing in Japan since 1982. This program includes up to 10 light movements within a 3-minute routine and is easy to perform for young children and the elderly. Also, Japanese children engage in different kinds of sports from an early age through clubs at school or close to where they live.
That said, the rapid westernization of traditional Asian society has brought remarkable changes to the Japanese lifestyle.
Instead of sitting on rice-straw mats as Japanese people did for centuries, they have started sitting in Western-style chairs at home and work. This has stopped the continual pressure on the knees of Japanese children, making them grow up to be taller adults.
Also, the basic change in the Japanese diet is noticeable daily at noon. Many people change their habit of eating the traditional lunch of rice balls wrapped in seaweed to queuing up in front of McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is easy to catch groups of bright red motorbikes bearing names like Trump’s Pizza, Domino’s, or Tacos aside by the familiar delivery man carrying traditional noodles or rice dishes.
Those “little Japanese” are not little anymore. From one of the countries with the smallest height in the world, Japan has started different plans to change the average height. And they did successfully. Importantly, once they decide to do something, all over the country, everybody does it. That is called the “Japanese spirit.”