Zettai ryōiki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An example of zettai ryōiki on a model at the 2012 Bologna Motor Show

Zettai ryōiki (Japanese: 絶対領域, lit.'absolute territory') refers to the area of bare skin in the gap between overknee socks and a skirt[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]

Diagram showing the golden ratio for zettai ryōiki

The ideal zettai ryōiki ratio for the length of the miniskirt, the exposed portion of thigh, and the over-knee part of the socks is 4:1:2.5, with a tolerance of 25%.[3][4][5] The ratio has also been referred to as a golden ratio (黄金比, ōgonhi) among fans.[6]

Zettai ryōiki fans have also assigned letter grades for the ratio variants, 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] Some fans have conceived of a grade S character which adds the criteria of a twintails hairstyle and a tsundere (cold on the outside, warm on the inside) personality.[7]


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, lit. 'Absolute Terror Field') (Ryōiki both translates to 'field' and '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).[8] 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.[9] The expression first spread in the otaku community and then became widely used outside of the subculture. For example, it is now included in the general-purpose dictionary Daijisen.[2]


Cosplay of Hatsune Miku

Zettai ryōiki was originally only applicable to a combination of miniskirt and overknee socks, but with its popularization it started being used toward outfits which featured other kinds of hosiery and bottom clothing, including, for example, thigh highs, knee highs, stockings, garters, hotpants, and swimsuits.[10]

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.[11]

On February 8, 2014, a specialty shop named Zettai Ryōiki dedicated to overknee socks and tights opened in Akihabara, Tokyo.[12][13]

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.[14] Both applications were rejected on June 26 of the same year, on the basis of unpaid registration fees.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 青山 裕企 (2014-03-16). 絶対領域, Editorial description. ASIN 4758012121.
  2. ^ a b "絶対領域とは - コトバンク" [Zettai ryōiki to wa - kotobanku]. Kotobank.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2021-08-24. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  3. ^ a b Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam (オギ・オーガス,サイ・ガダム) (10 February 2012). 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 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  6. ^ "Zettai Ryōki" 「絶対領域」. www.valley.ne.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-09-02. 4 : 1 : 2.5 がベストとされ、許容範囲は±25%程度である。 以上の如く困難な諸条件を完璧なまでに極めた時、はじめてそこに「絶対領域」が生まれる。
  7. ^ "Zettai Ryouiki: Achieving the Perfect Zone". Anime Desho Desho?. 2007-09-25. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2018-09-02. Zettai Ryouiki, has 5 levels ranging from Grade A to E.[...] where the sock is reduced to 5cm, otherwise known as the ankle sock (Grade F). [...] The ultimate level Twintails hairstyle and the ultimate level Tsundere attitude. Combine this 2 together with Grade A and you will obtain GRADE S.
  8. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode 24
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Zettai Ryouiki 絶対領域". Japanese with Anime. 2018-08-30. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  11. ^ "Tokyo young women's thighs used as advertising space - video". the Guardian. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Absolutely nothing but knee-highs at Akihabara's new sock emporium". RocketNews24. 2014-01-28.
  14. ^ Applications number 商願2005-073265 and 商願2005-074486

External links[edit]