Zettai Ryouiki - Absolute Territory - Stockings & Thigh Highs

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It may seem strange, but there is a Japanese word called Zettai Ryouiki [絶対領域] used to refer to the exposed thighs and legs that appear between the miniskirt and the stockings or other clothing combinations.

The translation of the word Zettai Ryouiki is Absolute Territory where zettai [絶対] means territory and [領域] means area, domain, territory, field and region. Why is it that the Japanese regard this area as absolute?

Absolutely absolute – the absolute territory between skirts and socks

As always, it all started in anime and manga, where this combination of words became otaku slang to attribute kawaii and moe characters from Japanese works. Nowadays this term is recognized by the population of Japan as a fashion style.

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How does Zettai Ryouiki fashion work?

There are 5 levels that define Zettai Ryouiki, it all depends on the length of socks and skirts. The image below can better explain how this classification works:

Absolutely absolute – the absolute territory between skirts and socks

4:1:2.5 is the ideal measurement of the exposed thigh and the knee, with a tolerance of 25%. The ratings are from “E” which shows more leg to “A” which shows less leg. Some put hairstyle and deredere personality as criteria for creating an S ranking.

Read also: Tsundere? Deredere? List of Japanese personalities

In Japanese culture, the Zettai Ryouiki trend relates to many other popular fashion trends such as Lolita, Gyaru, Decora, Fairy Kei and Harajuku.

These trends are characterized by an exaggerated and colorful style, and are often associated with anime and manga characters. Often with a colorful and extravagant style.

Read also: Japan Style Guide – Visual Kei, Decora, Harajuku

Absolutely absolute – the absolute territory between skirts and socks

The origin of Zettai Ryouiki

The origin of Zettai Ryouiki is uncertain, but it is believed to have emerged as a fashion trend in the 1990s. The only thing we are sure of is that the term originated in the Anime Evangelion.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion there is something called Zettai Kyoufu Ryouiki [絶対恐怖領域] or Absolute Terror Field . A type of protective energy shield dubbed as a sacred area where no one can invade privacy.

It is quite likely that this simple influence from Anime Evangelion created this term Zettai Ryouiki that became associated with thighs. The term was first used to praise the legs of Mayura (on the left), a character created as Ukagaka, a kind of computer software.

Absolutely absolute – the absolute territory between skirts and socks

The term appeared around 2001 and became popular over the years, becoming a common word to refer to this area of the body. It's not an otaku word, even girls often use this expression after popularizing it.

Formerly the word was used only to refer to the combination of miniskirts and long stockings, nowadays the term has become popular for thigh highs and other combinations such as swimwear.

We recommend reading: Sukumizu - Japanese school swimsuits

Curiosities about Zettai Ryouiki

In 2009 an online poll was conducted on men's favorite fetishes and Zettai Ryouiki won first place in the poll. Several advertising agencies conduct research and promote events or advertisements involving this style.

November 28th became Long Socks Day, a special date for those who appreciate Zettai Ryouiki fashion. Although it is not an official holiday, since 2013 this is an annual event celebrated by a huge internet community.

Absolutely absolute – the absolute territory between skirts and socks

There are thousands of fanarts on the internet showing perfectly the application of this Japanese fashion and the exposure of the absolute area. Some companies have even tattooed girls on their thighs to advertise in the absolute area.

If you found this term a little heavy, know that the Japanese have also created another term to refer to the glimpse of women's panties known as panchira.

We recommend reading: Panchira, Pantsu and Shimapan – History of Panties in Japan

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What do people think about Zettai Ryouiki?

The trend may seem a bit sensual, but on the contrary, it is often associated with innocence and purity. Despite this, the exposure of thighs ends up creating discussions about contributing to sexual harassment.

The display of legs in this way can be seen as a way of sexualizing female characters or young Japanese girls, making them objects of desire for the male audience.

Although this term seems more like a type of Japanese perversion, it is worth mentioning that it is not exclusive to Japan, there are also other similar terms and trends such as "knee-high socks" or "thigh high boots".

Zettai Ryouiki is embraced by young people outside of the Otaku world, and some people might see it as a way to show confidence and self-esteem. Some see the trend as a form of female empowerment.

Even some members of the otaku community find the term offensive, others don't consider it a big deal, and many girls still use the term. What do you think about this matter? I hope you enjoyed the article and we appreciate the comments and shares.

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