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The Lowdown on Harajuku

»Posted by on Mar 18, 2019 in Fashion Services | 0 comments

Japan- the land of honey dolls, maid cafes, and Tamagotchi digital pets. These recent outputs come in no surprise as Japan have mastered the art of incorporating western concepts to their already strong culture

In most cases, people would quickly associate harajuku fashion styles with these highly recognizable Japanese icons; thinking that this is a recent trend. In actuality, it’s not. It all started after World War II when postwar American soldiers in Japan have lived together with American civilians. Japanese youths at that time were very curious at the available western goods of local stores. They began incorporating it to their outfits. Soon enough, they started labelling themselves as “the Harajuku Tribe”. Early days of the fashion cult already fashion designers with them. The group came into international prominence during 1964 Tokyo Olympics, as tourists bought items in Harajuku shops.

Takeshita Street, being the center of Harajuku fashion every Sunday, holds a special place to the Japanese youth. The street celebrates a massive explosion of makeup, couture, and props madness. What may you’ve seen in the past season may no longer be available now as the styles keep on changing; or perhaps they may have been improved. It showcases the best of the best of Harajuku. For these youth, they see themselves as ambassadors of this movement.

These are few of the categories of Harajuku present in the Sunday street gathering.

Cosplay This is the condensed term for the words “costume play”. The person wears the complete

costume of her/his chosen character (usually animes). Then s/he imbibes all of the nuances of the character (language choice, body movements, reactions, and the likes

Lolita This is far different from the Westerners’ version because primarily, this harajuku style doesn’t have sexual connotations. Instead, it embodies the modest look of the Victorian-era. Garments include voluminous knee-length skirts with petticoats underneath, headdresses, and corsets.


This term is a transliteration of the English term “gal”. Gyaru style, being a unique subgroup of Harajuku fashion, focuses on American teenager stereotypes- overtly childish and girly. Common sights for this look include dyed or bleached hair plus heavy and decorated makeup.


With the rough translation “black face”, ganguro is known to be the dark sibling of the girly and glamorous gyaru. This style takes harajuku to the next level of outrageousness. Ganguro followers have fake tans that are unusually deep, wear eyeliners in three lines (silver, blonde, and black) with white eyeshadow, and sport orange hair. They then finish it off with facial gems to bring contrast to their dark complexion. As if this isn’t enough, they wear brightly colored outfits. To stand tall amongst the sea of fashionistas, they wear platform shoes.


If ganguro is the dark sibling, yamanba/manba has got to be the darker and more extreme one. This upgraded unconventionality includes a much deeper tan (compared to ganguro), more radical makeup, and more eye-popping hair colors. Most of their hairs are in dreadlocks. It’s no wonder that locals call this style yamanba as it took inspiration from a Japanese folklore involving a witch living in the mountains.

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