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7/21/2005

Ganguro……why?

Yves covered the ganguro style in a post a while back but I felt the need to post about it myself because it’s something that….puzzles me.

It is supposed to recreate a Californian Beach Girl look but to me it always seemed like these girls were trying to cosplay Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. In drag.

Appropriate, given that ganguro literally means “face-black”.

But wait, it gets more frightening. Apparently, one can go further than the ganguro look to the yamanba look. It roughly translates as “mountain hag” or “mountain witch” and the look can be attained by simply adding a few strokes of white lipstick or white eyeliner to your current ganguro style. Quite a lot of white eyeliner, really. Silver hair makes a nice touch too.

But still, the ultimate question remains:

Ganguro….why?

Link:
http://www.livemusicstudio.com/mac/pages/ganguro.html – Good photos and text

Ganguro girls
Ganguro girls don’t care what you think!
Yamanba style
Yamanba style. Scary.



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67 Responses to “Ganguro……why?”

  1. Suzano Korezomi Says:

    Gangura and yamanba scary me, I’m more into Gothic Lolita, EGA, Visual Kei. But why get a tan that dark? If you didn’t know it you say they were half Japanese half Black. I like weird but that is too weird.

  2. Wendy Says:

    i wonder if they truly think they look good like that.

  3. snowfleur Says:

    America has a version of ganguro too – Ronald Mcdonalds =)

  4. Chidade Says:

    Bwaaahahahhhahha! It’s funny coz it’s true xD

  5. Amara Says:

    I personally am a fan of Ganguro. But not the super dark tan. I really like the 2nd picture you have posted of the Ganguro with the pink hair! very cute!

  6. lethia Says:

    im from america, i live in california,im a black girl and i love ganguro,yamanaba, lolita, gothic lolita. its all so cute to me!

  7. Sachiko Says:

    Amara-sama the second picture is not ganguro, it is yamanba. Yamanba is its own style. I am a yamanba. I wear Alba Rosa, Cocolulu, Egoist,
    Kaimana, and the rest of them. Yamanba comes from Japanese word yama uba, which means mountain old witch. They were ghosts in Japanese mythology that haunted people travelling alone in the mountains. We are all about dark tans. Our white lipstick, stickers, and makeup and hair style vary from ganguro. We love flowers and the California valley girl look. Our mission is go against the standard Japanese norm of a black hair submissive wife. We drop out of school, some have babies at 15, and rarely go “home”. It is thought of as a taboo lifestyle and scary in Japanese society. We don’t care what others think, we support each other and are a minzoku “clan” that are rebellious. We enjoy parapara techno dancing and spending cash. Our life is not all fun and games, but we live it to the fullest. We try to be kawaii(chute).

    Sincerely,

    Sachiko

  8. Chidade Says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Sachiko :)

    I’m slowly learning the differences between ko-gals, ganguro and yamanba.

    I think all of them are really interesting to look at. The hair styles and makeup is really amazing :D

  9. Bob Says:

    see what Americans did to Japan!

    Gunguro’s American Version is those super tan white chicks with tons of makeup. Those Valley Girl Barbies that people do not like. Does Japan hate it to?

  10. Laura Says:

    I Love Yamanba style. Its awsome. The white lipstick and eyeliner is awsome. The dark tans are what throw me off. The 2nd girl’s tan is awsome. I LOVE YAMANBA AND HARAJUKU AND GOTHIC LOLITA AND GANGURO!!! =] I dont think I would be able to pull off the look though..sadly…. =[

  11. maki Says:

    Sachiko gave good advice. There are big difference between the styles. they are cute, yet there are ricks of cancer. so have fun, safe! ^ _ ^ bai bai

  12. Hehe Says:

    I`m from US and I`m a black girl and I love Ganguro, Lolita, Gothic Lolita, as well as other Japanese fashion. They`re Supa Kawaii

  13. Pan Says:

    Personally I like ko-gals and Ganguros more!
    I love the clothes!
    And to me ganguros are only good if it looks alittle bit natural.

  14. Imani Says:

    Personally I love the Japanese fashion. Also to suzano, I don’t think you got that right about the whole half black thing. If you look for pictures of Amerie[korean/black], crystal kay[korean/black] and Kimora lee simons[japanese/black] you would realize that none of them look half as bad as those ganguro girls. It’s disgusting how dark they tan there skin. I’m black and I live in California. I personaly make fun of white girls that tan there skin to much and wear all that damn makeup. They look like clowns. it used to be stupid to want to tan your skin to look black and something of that sort. Now it’s just popular. I think these girls want to get skin cancer.

  15. Eulalia Says:

    Well, in all truth, some styles don’t seem all that bad to me. Considering how you style them, of course.

    I have to agree with Imani, though. Exactly ‘who’ are they trying to look like, again? I can see some of the California “style” there, but for the extreme cases of tan… isn’t that a bit different from the beach girl’s standards?

    For if some are modeling after being black… I’d just say… I look /nothing/ like that.

    But hey, if it floats your boat, all the power to ‘ya.

    Thanks for this interesting topic! ^.^

  16. Monica Says:

    I’m Chinese who live in Indonesia. I think both ganguro and yamanba are very brave. How they get the tanned skin like that? it is so dark and scary me. Do they makeup their face all day? It’s disgusting. They look so stupid and naughty. Do they spend their parent’s money for being like that? I feel so sorry to their parents because of their strange children.

  17. Keisha Says:

    Im american and I like the style. But…the makeup..just throws me off. I do know that some girls are naturally born tan like that but when they slap a crap load of makeup on their face it just isnt cute any more. I don’t know, maybe its just me but all that white makeup isn’t cute to look at all day.

  18. Vannesa Says:

    yall are wierd they are all scary!! its a very unatural thing!!!!

  19. vannesa Says:

    i think ganguro is a unatural thing and is very ugly in some cases like the top pic.

  20. Gregory Coates Says:

    America use to have counter-culture.. , i miss counter-culture
    it made for interesting times

  21. SpacyDitz Says:

    i think the whole gangura/yamanba styles are interesting, but one thing i find funny is japanese girls’ styles are so heavly influenced by white styles. they seem to really want to look like us, while i’ve noticed most white girls want to look japanese and love to cosplay and dress like they do. i just find it wierd that’s all ;p

  22. Vie 'jabLay pantura' Says:

    ThaT’s a cute Style!…
    creative….!
    harajuku, gothic lolita, n decora too…!
    i very love it….
    for me, japan is the most cOoLest country in fashion world!

  23. Ashley Says:

    I actually think ganguro is pretty cute. Yamanba is also pretty cute it really just depends on the girl I guess. The yamanga girl in the second picture is really cute and I see two sort of cute ganguro’s in the top picture.

  24. Ashley Says:

    Also Ganguro girls are to Japan as the scene kids are to America. They just want to rebel, and show that beauty comes in different ways, not just the traditional quiet light-skin japanese girls.

  25. Gregory Coates Says:

    I am So tired of the(C)ute word.

  26. Savannah Says:

    My boyfriend is Japanese and he doesn’t like Yamanba, I think he feels it’s too much makeup. I personally like it, if it is done right. the second picture is so cute, but her hair is fried and it’s a little too heavy. I do make up artistry and on my days off i like to do something similar but not as heavy, plus i am really pale.

  27. haruko Says:

    dont hate. appreciate.

    so what if you think they look weird. as they say: “too each his own”

  28. gregory coates Says:

    I would like to visit Japan., and talk with the girls who use this makeup.. it would allow me the chance to feel the issues they explore.. for now, i am curious
    it seems.. it could be a critigue of black society or a celebration.. mmm i need to find out more.. who wants to pay for my trip

  29. gregory coates Says:

    I am also happy they do it.
    it is expression.. and creative thinking..
    well done

  30. CoZe Says:

    This is soo stupid. It’s like michael jackson trying to white his skin with operations. People should be happy with their colors they were born into. I pity these girls cause I don’t know how they get that tan but it can’t be healty. This is not fashion, this is just idiocity.

  31. angela Says:

    i luv da style it show’s rebellion towards da traditional image of japan…….in my opinion they’ll look pretty if they didnt take da style too far! :D

  32. Rin Says:

    Ganguro is like…Overly ugly if you ask me.
    I dont see why anyone would want to die from skin cancer for a fasion statement. Im more into the gothic lolita look myself. But this is just…icky…I dont find it pretty at all what so ever.

  33. jj Says:

    while i don’t particular like the kind of fashion, i don’t think they should be equated with merely being desperate Californian wannabes… i believe their style is more for the purpose of being different from tradition and as a way of showing rebellion… as to whether such apparently drastic measures are worth it or not, guess it’s for themselves to decide…

  34. NN Says:

    Jitsu wa atashi fashion japanese ga totemo suki da.ganguro wa warui dakedo omoshiroi da.sore de,ganguro seikatsu wa hontouni fusigi da.

  35. Francesca Says:

    i LUV ganguro…don’t really like yamamba though, that’s takin’ it kinda too far cuz i don’t like the white eye make up n the stickers. the thing that scares me about the first picture though with those girls, like, you notice their socks? they actually glue them to their legs to keep them from falling. that’s disturbing. but other than that i’m a middle eastern/black/white girl who’s obsessed with ganguro for some strange reason, lol.

  36. mariah Says:

    i think their fashion and makeup is really cool.kind of scary and a little too much but cool.
    but the tan to me is a different story.but honestly i would seriously dress like that for a day to see how it is even though i’m from the U.S and my friends would be like “what the hell are you waring?”

    (and to think they got it from california beach girls)

  37. Morgan Says:

    Ganguro and yamanba are unique fashion which i like alot. All the people who r saying its ugly or stupied Its NOT its like art or a creative way of thinking. AAND so what they r DIFFERENT!!!!!!!! get over it.

  38. Mony Says:

    I love ganguro and manba style! Though I don’t really like the manba lifestyle. That would be too much for me.

    Also, don’t most manba prefer using fake tan lotion/spray?

  39. Anarnee Says:

    I think its a beautiful style, its the opposite of goth if you think about it. Its all about fun, color, style, fashion. I love to put on the make-up, I just don’t have enough money for it. But ah well… to each his own. There are no two people that are the same and I can’t expect you to see what I see in the things I like eh?

  40. Rena Says:

    ughh. I hate the Ganguro style, it scares me a lot. I never understood it. >_____

  41. Youko Says:

    I’m quite lost in all those styles. For me it was always only ganguro and yamamba and I ignored the rest.

    There are ganguros who look really good if well prepared, well chosen clothes, makeup and hairstyle/color.

    Also I wonder how they can take care of all that bleached hair. My hair (originally black asian) is partly bleached to the lightest blond they could produce (most expensive bleacher too). and I have to say that the hair is now like standing on my head…well just look at any bleached hair japanese girl.

    about the black tan. I prefer slight tan than a dark tan with a little bit of white color under the eyes but hey it’s my opinion.

    most girls just want to rebel and they don’t have the right taste I think. but some (maybe) more have a good taste at the same time.

    and we all love ParaPara

  42. Mini Says:

    I think yamanaba and ganguro are disgusting styles. They look terrible! I prefer the J-rock/ Visual kei style.

  43. driver9 Says:

    looks like NY Club kids meet tanned up Cali girls. if that’s what you’re into, more power to you.

  44. Morena Says:

    I LOVE IT!!!! I LOVE JAPAN. I’m really attracted to anything that is weird and I wish I lived in Japan, people are so creative and original. I like the stickers, the pink air and especially the attitude!!!!! They rock ^.^

    By the way, this website is awesome

  45. Mina Says:

    I’m half black and asian and i’m a ganguro except i don’t tan i’m tan enough>.

  46. lolipok Says:

    I like the cloths, but the make up it’s kind of weird, i’m from portugal and i want to visit japan to, but it’s to expensive. and the girls should like how they are and not try to be something they aren’t and i agree with that of michael jackson

  47. Cecil Nixxon Says:

    As an aging Midwest US geekster hippie, I must say Gangiro girls awaken the serpent fire in my second chakra. Many say they are garish. Some say they are ugly.

    I say, evolutionary process presents amazing permutations to encourage the mating act. Yowza! Come into my parlor, my little dark and neon Ganguro pet!

  48. Zeea Doom Says:

    I must say Ganguro is a horrible failure aa a genre of fashion so is yamamba. It’s just plain scary. They looks bad. I don’t see how they think they could look good. The Japanese are known for their beauty of pale skin and perfectly dark straight hair. I can see the need to rebel and look different, but you don’t have to take it to the extreme and look like Barbie decided to ditch college for clown school. The Japanese seem to always be on top of fashion and ahead of the stupid Americans- SO DON’T COPY THE STUPID AMERICAN VALLY GIRLS! They are not respected in America and therefore not in Japan- dontcha know? Fake tans are horrible- but they can look good- But with tans and makeup to the extreme it just looks ridiculous.
    I always say though, dress how you want and not give a shit what others say, but you have to have the attitude to go along with it at least be respectable from what Sachiko said up there about Yamamba…

    “We drop out of school, some have babies at 15, and rarely go “home”. It is thought of as a taboo lifestyle and scary in Japanese society.” Those can’t be responsible choices…

    These are things that can ruin Japan’s society and cause them to become like Americans.
    I am an American and I can say I stand out from the majority and the majority is who I’m speaking against in this rant.

    “Yamanba comes from Japanese word yama uba, which means mountain old witch. They were ghosts in Japanese mythology that haunted people travelling alone in the mountains.” Sounds like a perfect Halloween Costume.

    I think this is a great example of the style and I have no problem with it ….
    {http://www.fantasyworld.pl/images/artykuly/lamus/ganguro.jpg] << this looks very good!
    Girls with this style should look out though. Cancer can be a result of this excessive tanning- obviously.

    But it’s just a silly style that a few follow. I don’t suppose it will effect the economy but you Japanese should know- Don’t copy the Americans these days.
    Stick with the Goth Loli Aristocratic stuff from the old days. I think those styles are perfectly awesome and fresh for today’s time. Harajuku street fashion with wild colors and accessories is another awesome style.

    So that’s about all I have to say.
    Rant Ended.

    ~Z!~

  49. Zeea Doom Says:

    I must say Ganguro is a horrible failure aa a genre of fashion so is yamamba. It’s just plain scary. They looks bad. I don’t see how they think they could look good. The Japanese are known for their beauty of pale skin and perfectly dark straight hair. I can see the need to rebel and look different, but you don’t have to take it to the extreme and look like Barbie decided to ditch college for clown school. The Japanese seem to always be on top of fashion and ahead of the stupid Americans- SO DON’T COPY THE STUPID AMERICAN VALLY GIRLS! They are not respected in America and therefore not in Japan- dontcha know? Fake tans are horrible- but they can look good- But with tans and makeup to the extreme it just looks ridiculous.
    I always say though, dress how you want and not give a shit what others say, but you have to have the attitude to go along with it at least be respectable from what Sachiko said up there about Yamamba…

    “We drop out of school, some have babies at 15, and rarely go “home”. It is thought of as a taboo lifestyle and scary in Japanese society.” Those can’t be responsible choices…

    These are things that can ruin Japan’s society and cause them to become like Americans.
    I am an American and I can say I stand out from the majority and the majority is who I’m speaking against in this rant.

    “Yamanba comes from Japanese word yama uba, which means mountain old witch. They were ghosts in Japanese mythology that haunted people travelling alone in the mountains.” Sounds like a perfect Halloween Costume.

    I think this is a great example of the style and I have no problem with it ….
    {http://www.fantasyworld.pl/images/artykuly/lamus/ganguro.jpg] << this looks very good!
    Girls with this style should look out though. Cancer can be a result of this excessive tanning- obviously.

    But it’s just a silly style that a few follow. I don’t suppose it will effect the economy but you Japanese should know- Don’t copy the Americans these days.
    Stick with the Goth Loli Aristocratic stuff from the old days. I think those styles are perfectly awesome and fresh for today’s time. Harajuku street fashion with wild colors and accessories is another awesome style.

  50. Melissa Says:

    you don’t look good with tans that dark! it looks like you are trying to be black, but black people look beautiful with they’re skin like that; you don’t. rebelling like that seems cool, but white lipstick and that much makeup is gross. they’re hair looks pretty awesome but it looks dead and damaged. the tans should be lighter and they should wear less makeup. before someone said that they seem like they are trying to be like those white valley girls, i’m white and i say they (white valley girls that inspire them) look stupid. i think visual kei and all that is cool but that doesn’t seem like thats what they are going for. lighten the tans wear lighter and less makeup, take better care of your hair and find an awesome style of clothing ( not sure if they have) to go with that; you’ll look really cute.

  51. ko Says:

    Why is everyone being soo mean?Why can’t people look however they want,It doesn’t affect us.If you don’t like it,don’t look at it.I donnot like visual kei or lolita at all,but I’m not going to post cruel comments about it,because people have freedom of dress. I think everyone here is being ignorant and is not ready for japan or any place because they ar not open to different things.I’m assuming all of the evil comments are comming from stupid american otaku that think anything that does not appear in anime is evil.

    ko

  52. Heechul Says:

    PUKE.
    D=

  53. fukyo Says:

    I love any fashion styles that exist. I love ganguro. I love them all. I love variant. I love being different ^^

    Its up to you to judge they’re ugly, stupid rebellions or anything but it comes back to yourself, just try to take it from the positive prespective.

  54. Jessica Says:

    I agree with ko, the only people who are bashing the style in these comments are american otaku or the one chinese guy who’s just afraid of being different which is what the style is rebelling against in the first place! Traditions be damned and rules are broken. I suppose Zeea Doom would prefer that the girls don’t have babies even tho having abortions in Japan is like getting your oil changed, and their population is aging and dying. I suppose that traditional Japan will just have to die out!

  55. Cyndi Lee Says:

    I totally agree with you fukyo! ^-^
    I also love fashion of ANY KIND; From goth to preppy, from yamanba to emo, etc… I don’t mind them!
    I belive that more people should express themselves! No one should be afraid or follow other people just to “fit in” or to be “accepted” by the “normal” people.

    Myself, I kind of pull off the manba look with a decora style-like touch.(But a more if a “simple” version of it XP) but I don’t really have a dark tan at all. My skin is rather very yellowish, naturally.

  56. nana chan Says:

    hmmm, personally I think ganguro/yamanba (i hope i spelt that right) & ko-girls are really pretty, they just express their style differently than what we consider the “norm” in north america. Majority of people in NA think its better to have straight teeth instead of crooked teeth, well girls (& guys too [= )who like ganguro/yamanba style find that the norm and how they want to express themselves.
    the outfits are very cute ! haha I have my hair bleached blonde and I’m half chinese, and if I could i’d tan my skin, but it’s too pale white =.=
    i think everybody should learn that not everyone can look/act or be the same. and if you can’t come into terms with this, keep your own opinion (which is certainly fine!) but you shouldn’t put other people down about how they want to express themselves. ;P

    -nana chan

  57. OMG!!! Says:

    OMG! WTF THIS IS THA SAME LOOK OF THA CALIFORNIAN GRIS
    THEY USE A LOT OF MAKEUP WITH PLATINUM BLONDE HAIR AND THEY TAN AS A CARROT SO WHAT????
    THIS IS THA SAME ONLY JAPPANESSE

  58. mei mei Says:

    The first pic isn’t ganguro! That’s kogal D’: . The second one is ganguro, not yamanba. Yamanba/manba is WAAAAY more extreme.
    But it’s pretty C: both ganguro and some manbas.

  59. EvilStan Says:

    Looks sexy to me.

  60. kate Says:

    I personally think that the ganguro and yamanba styles are adorable! I would dress like this if my mother wouldn’t think I was joining some kind of cult. Honestly, all the haters out there are just jealous because they don’t have the guts to do what the ganguro and yamanba people do!

    I’m extremely pale, and I would do everything in that style. The only thing that I wouldn’t do is tan that dark. I don’t want skin cancer after all. But I think that both styles are so kawaii!

    All haters out there, get over yourself. It isn’t like their style affects you! Anyways, enough of my rambling. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH JAPAN!!! I’m moving to Japan in a couple years!

  61. mishi_land Says:

    haha Funny how they use Micheal Jackson..

    Anyways, yea they are heaps awesome and I like discovering and learning about them but I don’t intend to be like them. I would look so out of line if I had that style here. ==’

  62. crippled-plaything Says:

    remember the movie, “something about mary” there is an old woman in that movie what the screwy dog(youtube it) it’s so funny cause she is the typical over tanned woman and tonnes of make up. looks exactly like the style the japanese are copying and turning into their own rebelious style…..if ur ugly….who cares, go out and make urself the ugliest u can be and not care about what others think. very thought provoking. it really can be halloween everyday.

  63. Himecakes Says:

    I agree with various of the above– upon whom are they trying to model themselves? It’s not a natural or pretty look; it just looks odd and creepy.

    I think it’s entirely admirable to rebel against the stereotyping of women. That’s something I totally support. However, Sachiko, while her motives may be good, sounds with the greatest of respect more like a spoilt and rebellious brat than a mature, independent young woman.

    Why does she have to inflict this upon her parents as well as everyone else? Good parents teach their children what they think is right, and if those ideas and morals turn out to be outdated or wrong, well, they did what they believed in. It’s the child’s part to let them preach on, I think, and live their life in the way that they themselves believe in without making a fuss about it.

    Behaving and speaking in this way only reinforces negative ideas of her subgroup. Perhaps it’d be more widely accepted and the strange styles overlooked if it adopted an aesthetic of a polite and charming manner, helpful attitude, and a thoughtful and caring outlook?

  64. Mel Says:

    I agree with Ko– the way they dress doesn’t hurt anyone else. Everyone likes different things; okay, so personally I’m not into the look, but I’d never dream of telling anyone else that they were stupid or ridiculous to do it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if they feel good that way then I couldn’t be happier for them.

    More people should take the plunge and dress in the way that expresses themselves. If we had such a wonderfully diverse range of styles here in the west then our streets sure would look more colourful.

  65. Missy Says:

    I hope before God,that the fashions in Japan,stay in Japan.I’d have a heart attack if my daughter came in 1 day dresses like that.Or my son coming in decked out in full lolita wear.(and yes for the japanese,they think it’s perfectly ok for boys(so called straight,i might add)to dress like this.)The only thing that looks even “remotly” nomal is hime-gyaru.Though 1 lolita store has opened in Cali(big suprise)I have’t seen it boom yet.and i hope it never does!!

  66. Violet Says:

    Huh, they do look pretty unnatural, but they probably already knew that! I just hope they can pull it off safely. ^^;
    I don’t think I’d ever want to look like them myself, but considering that what I do want to look like is “Gothic Lolita on acid”, that doesn’t really mean much! xD

    What I don’t really get is the values system Sachiko mentions.
    >>We drop out of school, some have babies at 15, and rarely go “home”.
    I can see wanting to rebel against social norms that keep you from getting the most out of your own life, but I would worry that poorly thought-out decisions could hurt you just as much!
    (I hope I don’t sound horribly strange or out of place saying this, but when clients come in to my local (USA) drug clinic for counseling, my mother (an office lady there) is able to guess which ones had their boundaries seriously violated at a young age by how irresponsible they are towards their lives, their futures, and especially their bodies. I don’t know nearly as much about that kind of thing, but I hope it doesn’t apply to any of this!)

  67. meow Says:

    Wow, these girls have achieved a level of ugliness that I never knew was possible. And it made me realize how truly hideous Japanese facial bone structure is. They are a really, really ugly people. If the lack of muscle tone, bow leggedness, small eyes, puny penises, tiny breasts, shortness, horse hair, etcetera weren’t enough…now there is makeup that will accent the freakishly ugly cheekbones and other dimensions of their misshapen faces. I think it might be time to drop another bomb.

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