Zettai ryōiki

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Zettai ryōiki - Bologna Motorshow 2012.jpg
A cosplayer who cosplays Hatsune Miku.

Zettai ryōiki (絶対領域, lit. "ABSOLUTE TERRITORY") refers to the area of bare skin in the gap between overknee socks and a miniskirt[1] (or shorts).[2] It can also be used to describe the clothing combination. The term first became widespread in otaku slang as one of the attributes of moe characters in anime and manga, but it is now used by the general public in Japan.

Classification and ideal proportions[edit]

The ideal ratio of the length of the miniskirt, the exposed portion of thigh, and the over-knee part of the socks is often considered to be 4:1:2.5[3] with a tolerance of 25%.[4][5]

Zettai ryōiki fans classify it by visible bare skin area, that depends on height of the socks and length of the skirt. A zettai ryōiki is graded from grade E (too much leg is seen, the skirt is also too long) to grade A (short skirt, high socks, short exposed area).[3]


The clothing combination is very popular in Japan.[5] As with loose socks, a special "socks glue" can be used to glue the socks to the legs for a perfect look.

Japanese advertising agency WIT launched a campaign in 2013 which paid women to wear temporary tattoos on their upper thighs promoting various products and media. They were encouraged to wear skirts and long socks to highlight the area.[6]

On February 8, 2014 a specialty shop called "Zettai Ryōiki" dedicated to overknee socks and tights opened in Akihabara, Tokyo.[7][8]


The term originates from the 1995 anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, where it was used with a different meaning. In an insert leaflet that came with VHS cassettes, the expression "Zettai Kyōfu Ryōiki" (絶対恐怖領域, "Absolute Terror Field (territory)") was used as a translation of the English-language term "A.T. Field" (A.T.フィールド) from the anime into Japanese. An A.T. Field was a type of a protective energy shield, dubbed a "holy area no one can intrude upon" (何人にも侵されざる聖なる領域) and made a being using it impervious to attacks. Also, the term could refer to "impenetrability of souls" (心の壁).[9] The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga also gave a shortened version of the term, "Zettai Ryōiki", in furigana next to the words "A.T. Field". The idea of a "holy area no one can intrude upon" was where the current meaning of the term originated.[10] The expression first spread in the otaku community and then started to be widely used outside of the otaku subculture. For example, it is now included in the general-purpose dictionary Daijisen.[2]

Trademark application[edit]

On February 13, 2006, the Japanese company Banpresto, which produced video games based on Neon Genesis Evangelion, filed two applications for registration of the term "Zettai Ryōiki" as a trade mark.[11] Both applications were rejected on June 26 on the basis of unpaid registration fees.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 青山 裕企 (2014-03-16). "絶対領域, Editorial description". Amazon.co.jp. 
  2. ^ a b "絶対領域(ゼッタイリョウイキ)とは - コトバンク" [Zettai ryōiki (zettairyouiki) to wa - kotobanku]. Kotobank.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on August 17, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam (オギ・オーガス,サイ・ガダム). A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire (性欲の科学: なぜ男は「素人」に興奮し、女は「男同士」に萌えるのか). p. 32. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  4. ^ ネット語研究委員会, ed. (2009). 頻出 ネット語手帳. Tokyo: Shin’yūsha. p. 47. ISBN 978-4-88380-916-5. 
  5. ^ a b ぴなメイドな生活:第26回 絶対領域とニーソ (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. 2007-02-02. Archived from the original on May 14, 2007. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  6. ^ "Tokyo young women's thighs used as advertising space - video". the Guardian. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "ニーハイ専門店「絶対領域」が2月8日(ニーハイの日)に秋葉原でオープン". IT Media. 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  8. ^ "Absolutely nothing but knee-highs at Akihabara’s new sock emporium". RocketNews24. 2014-01-28. 
  9. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode 24
  10. ^ 金田一「乙」彦 (2009). オタク用語事典2. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha. p. 79. ISBN 978-4-568-22133-6. 
  11. ^ Applications number 商願2005-073265 and 商願2005-074486