Japanese women, gripped by a fear that what they perceive as their flat backsides may not flatter western clothing such as jeans and short skirts, have been turning to what have become know as buttock bras to give them shape.

Also known as 'hip-up' girdles, panties or briefs, several top lingerie businesses have been capitalising on what some say is a kink in the Japanese psyche that perceives all non-Asians to be curvier and in possession of well-rounded bottoms.

Angle-Miyuki reports that its registered trademark 'Buttocks bra' is selling briskly while Fujibo Apparel, known for its BV brand, offers 'body-shaper' underwear with firm satin-knit waistbands and tight-stretching material around the hips.

Fujibo said its lines for both men and women had been flying off the shelves.

Typically such Japanese products for women come in seven sizes from hip size 82cm to 102cm and are priced around the JPY5000 yen (GBP25) mark.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.