- スマート (sumāto): thin, slim, slender
- Smart: intelligent, witty
In Japanese, スマート makes no reference to the intellect or fashion sense but to a person’s physical appearance; it is used to refer to a slim or slender figure.
The Meiji Era is known for Japan’s opening to everything foreign, from politics and technology, to art and fashion. When referring to Western men’s fashion, a Japanese magazine coined the term ハイカラ (haikara, in reference to the type of collars fashionable then). It was used to describe the elegant, smart way Western men dressed when everything foreign still had an exotic feel for the Japanese people.
During the Showa period, ハイカラ slowly became outdated and スマートreplaced it, still to refer to Western fashion. Often focusing on well-dressed slim, slender men, スマート came to refer only to the figure.
Currently, スマート, is used with the same meaning as in English when referring to smart technology.