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INTRODUCTION

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The Sex Pistols (1976)
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Generally speaking, 'Street Fashion' is fashion that is considered to have emerged not from studios and high profile designers, but from the grassroots.  Street fashion is generally associated with youth culture, and is most often seen in major urban centers, and one form or another (usually a newer form) will achieve dominance in the West... at least for a time until the next "new thing" appears. 

A prime example of this would be the British Punk Street Fashion of the late 1970s, (which I myself slavishly followed in my teen years during this era), which exploded world wide and, though there are still a handful of so-called "Hardcore" Punks around today, they have little or no understanding of what the "scene" was all about in its early days, nearly 40 years ago, and for all intents and purposes it had all but died off as a visible fashion in less than a decade.

In contrast, Japanese Street Fashion sustains multiple simultaneous and highly diverse fashion movements at any given time, and while some may be more prevalent than others, no style seems to entirely die out, and not only may a style or fashion experience a resurgence from time to time, they may even evolve into a new form of street fashion entirely!

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An excellent example of the 'Sweet Lolita' Look
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One example of this is Lolita fashion (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon), which is a fashion subculture that also originated in the late 1970's ...though in regional Japan rather than working class areas of London (and that is still increasing in popularity today)! 

Lolita fashion is based on Victorian-era clothing, partly as a reaction against the growing exposure of the body and skin in modern society.  Adherents fight this with modesty, presenting themselves as "cute" (かわいい, Kawaī) or "elegant" rather than "sexy"

The Lolita scene maintains a focus on quality in both material and manufacture. 

The original silhouette is of a knee length skirt or dress with a "cupcake" shape assisted by petticoats, but has expanded into various types of garments including corsets and floor length skirts.   Blouses, knee high socks or stockings and headdresses are also worn. 

In the 1990s, Lolita fashion began to spread across Japan, with bands such as Princess Princess (プリンセス・プリンセス Purinsesu Purinsesu, commonly referred to as Puri-Puri) coming into popularity at the time.  These bands wore intricate costumes, and fans began adopting them as their own style.   The style continued to spread and ultimately reached Tokyo where it became popularized throughout Japanese youth culture.

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The trailer for 'Gothic & Lolita Psycho'
(ゴスロリ処刑人 Gosu Rori Shokeinin),
a 2010 Japanese film directed by Go Ohara.
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Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub-styles - such as Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, Classic Lolita, Punk Lolita, Princess Lolita (aka Hime Lolita or 姫 Lolita), Shiro & Kuro Lolita, Ōji Lolita (Boystyle), Guro (Gore) Lolita (aka 'Broken Doll' style), Sailor Lolita, Country Lolita, Wa Lolita (aka Wa Rori 和ロリ), Qi Lolita and Casual Lolita - and has become a recognizable subculture in many parts of the world.

Lolita fashion has now gained global popularity, largely through the influence of such totally different cult movies as the J-Horror flick 'Gothic & Lolita Psycho' (ゴスロリ処刑人 Gosu Rori Shokeinin) and the off beat comedy of 'Kamikaze Girls' (下妻物語 Shimotsuma Monogatari, "Shimotsuma Story") amongst others.   Lolita fashion can now be found in department stores, not only in Japan, but also in other countries around the world.

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The international trailer for 'Kamikaze Girls'
(下妻物語 Shimotsuma Monogatari, "Shimotsuma Story"),
a 2002 film adapted from the popular light novel, and subsequent manga, Shimotsuma Monogatari.
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But it is not Lolita fashion, as interesting and as varied as it is, I am concerned with on this site, but by the other major Japanese Street Fashion depicted in 'Kamikaze Girls' (下妻物語 Shimotsuma Monogatari, "Shimotsuma Story"), that of the Yankī (a term used to refer to delinquent youth in Japan since the late 1970s) and Bōsōzoku (暴走族, literally "reckless [or 'violent'] speed[ing] tribe"), a Japanese youth sub-culture associated with highly customized motorcycles.

The origins of Yankī and Bōsōzoku sub-cultures are hard to unravel, and many Japanese are extremely reluctant to talk about either in detail to a Gaijin (外人, literally "outside person" meaning "foreigner"), and as a result, most pages in English dealing with the subject are full of inaccuracies and half-truths.  This is especially true when it comes to Bōsōzoku as they seem to be considered as a source of embarrassment, even almost a source of shame, to many Japanese (at least in my own age group) I have met. 

This is perhaps not so hard to understand when one considers that while here in the West personal individuality is something that is not only idealized and sort after, but is actively encouraged (at least to a point) and often is celebrated, but in Japan conformity is the social norm. 

There is a common Japanese saying, "The stake that sticks up gets hammered down" (出る杭は打たれる。 Deru kui wa utareru).

This site represents what I have been able to glean from talking to Japanese about these particular youth sub-cultures that have for the past 40 years, steadfastly refused to be 'hammered down', and why, as disdainfully as they are regarded by mainstream Japanese society, Yankī and Bōsōzoku sub-cultures have still become a prominent part in Japanese Pop Culture through Manga, Anime, TV and Movies... and why they are such an object of fascination to a Gaijin Raidā (外人ライダー "Foreign Rider") like myself!

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Not a celluloid hero... this is the real thing!
A Bosozoku Girl in Japan today (2014)
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WHAT'S NEW


23 MARCH 2015

Let's get the ball rolling!

Here's some new stuff in the TV and MOVIES Section to get you all started...

ENJOY!


21 FEB 2015

A bit of a catch-up this time around...

Here's some new stuff in the TV and MOVIES Section to get you all started...

ENJOY!


14 FEB 2015

Sorry about the long break between updates!

Here's some new stuff in the TV and MOVIES Section (MUCH more next time - I promise)...

ENJOY!


14 JAN 2015

Let's start with a couple of updates in the TV and MOVIES Section (with new Download links)...

...and there's some new entries as well...

...and there is also a new entry in the GLOSSARY Section...

ENJOY!


7 JAN 2015

Let's get the ball rolling with a few new entries to the GLOSSARY...

Just the one new entry the TV and MOVIES Section this week...

ENJOY!


1 JAN 2015

Well, let's kick off the New Year with more new entries in the TV and MOVIES Section than a Sukeban could shake her Shinai at...

There's also some new stuff in the GLOSSARY Section....

...and a new addition to the GALLERIES...

ENJOY!


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