There’s so many terms used in Japanese fashion. I’m going to have to construct a glossary here one day.
Gyaru (ギャル) is the Japanese transliteration of the English slang word “gal”. Basically, think out-there female, conscious about fashion, her looks, boys and sex. In Japan this seems to mean a minimum of tanning slightly and dyeing hair blonder, a blinged-up keitai (mobile phone) plus plenty of make-up. Ganguro and yamamba are sub-sects of gyaru fashion. men have
Now that you’ve got an image of that in your mind – twist it a bit more and think of gyaru men. Ehhhhhh?!
Well, they do exist. I’ve seen them in Shibuya, although obviously not in as large numbers as the girls. They go by the name of gyaruo or gyaru-oh (the ‘o’ sound is one kanji sound for ‘man’) They probably attract more stares than the women, because it’s such an unusual look on a man. People already know that women will go to outrageous lengths for their looks :)
The gyaruo have now been given their own little shopping haven in – where else? – Shibuya. Shibuya 109 is the place to shop for female gyaru fashion. Now, one of the joint buildings Shibuya 109-(2), has set aside 2 levels dedicated to men’s gyaru fashion. There are 23 outlets over the 2 levels. There have been reported monthly sales totals of 100 million yen since it was trialled in March. Wow!
Looks like gyaru is here to stay for a little bit longer.
Wikipedia’s article on gyaruo
Eurobeat music, despite the name, is actually biggest in Japan, thanks to para para. So it’s not surprising that a Eurobeat CD/LP company actually references Japan and some of the subcultures there.
While the ganguro are probably all for a spot of para para, I’m not sure I can imagine some of the alien fetishists in Harajuku in the clubs dancing to cheesy Eurobeat music. Nevertheless, this website has a small blurb and some cute photos of ganguro, Harajuku, Maid Cafe and general Tokyo fashions.
HI NRG ATTACK – A Eurobeat Para Para studio
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:
http://www.livemusicstudio.com/mac/pages/ganguro.html – Good photos and text
Ganguro girls don’t care what you think!
Yamanba style. Scary.
FRUiTS is a monthly magazine published by photographer Shoichi Aoki in Japan. It started in 1997 after Aoki noticed a new trend in fashion among young people in Harajuku. Instead of a fashion trend that was dictated by designers, this was a trend started by the young people themselves.
Young people would mix traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos or geta sandals, with Western or local Japanese designs, even with punk clothing. These people were not brand obsessed like most Japanese people are known to be. They developed a “Harajuku Free Style” fashion trend which Aoki wanted to document in FRUiTS.
Since the trend began in the mid-nineties, the street style has expanded to cover many sub-genres, like punk, Decorer, Gothic Lolita or just kawaii.
The trend has died down in recent years – probably due to the fact that Omotesando (the main street in Harajuku) isn’t closed to cars on Sundays anymore, so the FRUiTS kids no longer have anywhere to hang out. Aoki still manages to publish a magazine each month though, especially since the magazine has achieved cult status in both Japan and overseas.
FRUiTS is a great look into the minds and fashions of Harajuku youth and is available by subscription, or in two volumes of books from Phaidon Press.
The official website
Buy the first FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!
Buy the second FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!
Ganguro, (ガン黒) literally “face-black,” is a fashion trend among Japanese girls, an outgrowth of chapatsu hair dyeing. The basic look is bleached-blond hair and a deep tan, produced by tanning beds or makeup. The intent is to produce the tanned, blond California beach girl look. Accessories include high platform shoes or boots, purikura photo stickers, and cellular phones.
The Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo are the center of ganguro fashion. It goes against the grain of the usual Japanese standard of female beauty, which calls for skin as white as possible. The roots of the trend are said to be in the mid-1990s, starting with a popular tanned Okinawan singer named Amuro Namie and black British fashion model Naomi Campbell.
Some sources say that the “gan” syllable in ganguro is actually from the term “gan-gan”, a vulgar emphasis word somewhat like the British use of “bloody.”
Ganguro taken to the next level is called yamanba. The Gothic lolita style can be seen as a counter-reaction to ganguro style.