Get Paid To Work and Live in Japan – Be A Foreign Model

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Model in Japan: Navigating Visas, Agencies, and Body Standards

Becoming an actor or model in Japan can be an exciting opportunity. Here’s a simplified guide to help you get started.

  1. Obtain the Right Visa: To work and live in Japan, you need to have the correct visa. The visas which allow you to work as a model/actor in Japan include:
  • Student visa (with permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted)
  • Working holiday visa
  • Working visa (with permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted)
  • Spouse visa
  • Dependant visa (with permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted)
  • Entertainment visa sponsored by the agency It’s often easier to come to Japan on a different type of visa, such as a sponsored working visa, working holiday visa, or a student visa, then get special permission from the Japanese government to do modeling/acting on the side.
  1. Register with a Modeling Agency: Reach out to a modeling agency in Japan to register. You’ll have a casual interview with one of the managers, where they will explain how their agency functions. You’ll need to provide your visa to show that you’re allowed to work. If all is well, you can then sign a contract with the agency. Some recommended agencies include Freewave, Bayside, YSC Models, Alpha Management, Echoes, D’xim, and Avocado.
  2. Apply for Jobs: Once you’re registered with an agency, they will start sending you job offers. If you’re available on the date of the job being offered, you reply to the email giving the agency “first keep”. If you’re not certain to be free on that date, or if you have already given a different job your “first keep” for the same date, you reply with “second keep”. If you’re definitely not free on the date of the job, you should reply with “NG”. When you reply to a job offer email, the agency will often request you to send a recent selfie without editing or filters, to show the clients how you look right now. Often jobs will also request a self-introduction video in both Japanese and English, including your name, age, nationality, and the name of the agency you work for. Some jobs will require in-person auditions. For those, make sure to show up on time, look nice/professional, and prepare as much as you can! You will also need to know how to introduce yourself in Japanese.

Remember, it’s important to have patience and persistence in this industry. You may face many rejections, but don’t give up. If you apply for jobs enough times, you’re sure to get one eventually!

Now, let’s delve into the essentials of modeling, which include height, age, and measurements.

The Essentials of Modeling: Height, Age, and Measurements

The journey to becoming a successful model often hinges on the model’s body size. There are only a few exceptions, with a select few achieving success due to their unique characteristics. Take supermodel Kate Moss, for example. She embodies a unique look, a special charisma, and a strong commitment to her work. Her intriguing private life also provides an interesting narrative for the media.

Why are Model Measurements Crucial?

Model measurements are vital because fashion collections are often tailored to a specific size. Whether a designer is showcasing their collection in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Cape Town, New York, or Berlin, the fashion pieces are usually cut to a standard size. For high fashion, this typically corresponds to a body size of 178 cm and a confection size of 34 or 34, 36 (EU) for female models. Women should ideally not exceed 181 cm. For male models, it’s crucial that their bodies are not overly muscular, as it makes it harder for average men to identify with them. Male models should ideally be between 185 cm and 195 cm. When female models wear high heels, the height differences are not too extreme, ensuring that all models are roughly the same size and nothing distracts from the fashion pieces.

The same principle applies to online shops, especially when it comes to the first pieces of a collection. Standard sizes are issued, whether it’s clothing size S or M (US), or standard shoe sizes from 36 to 38 (EU) for women and 42 or 43 (EU) for men.

Model Measurements: National and International Standards

Before we delve deeper, here are the general “standards” for 95% of all jobs. The closer you are to these dimensions, the better the conditions – apart from personality.


  • Body size for Fashion: 176 – 180cm / International
  • Body size for advertising: 172 – 181cm / Germany
  • Slim figure, usually long hair


  • Body size for Fashion: 186 – 190cm / International
  • Body size for advertising: 184 – 194cm / Germany
  • Slim or slightly sporty figure

Measurements for Advertising Models

If you’re aiming to work solely in advertising, i.e., not in the field of high fashion, the dimensions are not as critical. Here, women with a height of 170 cm can be successful, as can those with a height of 183 cm. For male models, the measurements are more flexible, and advertising does not

require the “absolute ideal measurements,” and the figure can deviate slightly.

Plus Size Models: Prerequisites and Opportunities

Plus Size Models are increasingly in demand. More and more fashion designers and creative arts directors are turning to curvaceous women in advertising. There is a small difference between Plus Size Models and Curvy Models. Plus Size Models are models that are slightly above the “normal” fashion model sizes, i.e., Plus Size Models are women who have a clothing size of 38 or 40 (EU). Plus Size models can do a great job because more women can identify with them than they can with high fashion models. As a Plus-Size Model, you can work for fashion clients and in advertising, making the job opportunities varied and lucrative.

Taking Measurements: Hips, Waist, and Chest

When taking your measurements, ensure that you wear as little clothing as possible and be honest with yourself! Here are the key points on the body to measure:

Curvy Models: Dimensions and Fabrication

Curvy models are women with a clothing size between 42 and 44. Also, the cup size is much larger and can go up to a G-Cup. Curvy Models are as popular as Plus Size Models, as they are most appealing to the average woman. The average woman in Europe has a clothing size of 44, which means that even Curvy models with an average clothing size of 42 to 44 are generally average.

People Models

The last part of the model’s section revolves around those who have very special traits. Extremely wild hair, tattoos, best agers, and many more. As a people model, you work mainly in the advertising sector, whether it is for a muesli commercial or for a comfortable mattress. People Models correspond to the normal look of everyday people. You have a special gap in your teeth, a lot of curls, or a conspicuous and striking nose. If you want to work as a people model, you should not apply in a model agency but in a special people agency.

Converting Dimensions: UK, USA, EU

All important measurements for the USA, UK, and Europe including hips, waist, and chest for female and male photo models can be found here.

The Impact of Body Size on Modeling Jobs

Your modeling career is almost always decided based on body size. When we go through applications in the agency, the first information displayed is not the name or your residence, first we see the height. Of course, we always take a look at the photos. But as a smaller model, you always need the special, international look or a finished model folder. For international customers, the body and clothing size of the models is particularly important.

The Advertising Effect of Elegance for Brands

In order for products to be presented elegantly, the figure of the model is crucial for fashion designers and their agencies. The proportions of the model must be right so that the overall presentation is right. Whether fashion show, advertising poster, or commercial. Clothing looks much more elegant on slim bodies. We all know the famous “dream measurements” of 90-60-90 (hip/waist/breast). These three measures are considered ideal if they are in proportion to the body size.

Curvy Models: The New Trend

Never before have they been so in demand – Curvy Models. Personality instead of “ideal measures”. The curves of the 50’s and together with the still prevailing size 0 models bring the next development in the fashion world, the Curvy Model. It is important to note this: Curvy isn’t just lazy and fast food. Nutrition is the A&O of every model, because you don’t want to lose your sporty curves. The market for Curvys is growing steadily and is being sought everywhere.

Fashion Shows in Milan, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and London

The new masterpieces are regularly presented at the Fashion Weeks. Milan, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and London. In spring, summer, autumn, and winter people are always looking for new looks and trends. Almost all designers have one thing in common: they tailor their collections for tall, slim people. The clothes fall more elegantly, fabrics unfold their full effect, and everything looks more exclusive and of higher quality! Gracile figures make clothes and their possible price more expensive. Even if not all fashion brands work in this scheme, it is still the majority of the industry.

A short list of model agencies to start:


Model dimensions are as varied as the job itself. There is a suitable agency for every area. Whether you’re a high fashion model, a plus-size model, or a people model, there’s a place for you in the industry. The key is to understand your body, know your measurements, and find the right agency that can help you navigate the modeling world.

Here are some resources for more information:

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