Rachel in Tokyo

This is a blog about an American law school student studying in Tokyo for the semester.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Harajuku Goth!

Crazy Kids in Harajuku. My friend, Joe, has been doing some great blogging. Although I saw the crazy kids in Harajuku myself, I don't think that my Harajuku post is going to be quite the caliber of Joe's. So here are a couple of weblinks if you want to check out his January posting regarding the punk rockers in Harajuku.

http://joeintokyo.blogspot.com and: http://www.photosaga.com/Japon%20kids/pages/Harajuku%20Kids%20(4).htm

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pics...

Gothic Lolita or "GothLoli" (ゴスロリ, gosurori; sometimes alternatively "Loli-Goth") is a youth fashion among Japanese teenagers and young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl's clothing and often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Gothloli's name and origin is a combination of lolita fashion—appearing deliberately cute to the point of looking childish—and certain styles found within gothic fashion. The style started as a youth subculture sometime around 1997-98 and became a well-established genre available in various boutiques and some major department stores by around 2001. Some observers consider it a reaction to the "Kogal" aesthetic.

The popularity of Gothloli as a very distinct style peaked around 2004, and now it has settled down as one of many "alternative" youth fashions in Japan.

Gothic Lolita is one of the subcategories of the Lolita look. Other categories include "Classic Lolita" (more traditional, light-coloured, also more mature-looking) and "Sweet Lolita" (childish pastel-coloured clothes, lots of lace and ribbons).

Gothic Lolita was influenced and popularised by the imagery of more feminine Visual Kei (or "visual rock") bands. Visual Kei is a Japanese form of rock music defined by bands featuring performers in elaborate costumes but whose musical style varies. Mana, the crossdressing former leader and guitarist of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer is widely credited for having helped popularise Gothic Lolita. He coined the terms "Elegant Gothic Lolita" (EGL) and "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat" (EGA) to describe the style of his own fashion label Moi-même-Moitié, which was founded in 1999 and quickly established itself as one of the most coveted brands of the Gothic Lolita scene.

Goken Lolita style is usually a combination of black and white, often black with white lace and typically decorated with ribbons and lace trims. Skirts are knee length and may have a crinoline or petticoat to add volume. As in mainstream Japanese fashion, over-knee socks or stockings are extremely popular. Black fishnet stockings and white or black tights are also common. Shoes or boots with high heels - though not usually stiletto heels - such as Mary Janes, complete the look. Frilly, ruffled or lace-trimmed Victorian blouses are also popular especially with "EGL" types, who may also favour long skirts and jackets rather than the overtly "childish" designs of typical gothloli's. Apart from the occasional shortness of skirts, designs are usually modest, sometimes with long lace-capped sleeves.

Some additions may include an Alice in Wonderland-style apron, tiny top hats, parasols, lace gloves, and lace headpieces. Mostly black or white, headgear might consist of a headband with ruffles, ribbons, lace or bows. Sometimes even bonnets are worn. Hair may be curled to complete the porcelain doll look. The naturally dark Japanese hair color may be lightened to blonde or kept black. Some may choose to wear wigs as well.

Makeup is used sparingly and is seen more often with EGL styles than with other gothloli styles. Black eyeliner is typical. A pale complexion is preferred, so white foundation might be used. Red or black lipstick is seen but lighter makeup is the rule.

Goken Lolita outfits may be accessorized with other props like conspicuous pocketbooks, hatboxes, handbags and other bags, sometimes in the shape of bats, coffins, and crucifixes. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are also common, and some brands make special "goken" teddy bears out of black leather or PVC. Also, many Goken Lolita own Super Dollfies and carry them around.

Crossover with Goth
"Gothloli" as a fashion is not as strongly associated with a particular style of music or outside interests as goth, and individual followers of Gothloli fashion may listen to a wide variety of music including regular Japanese pop.

Between 2001 and 2004, Gothloli was a popular subculture which took inspiration from elements of Goth, and therefore some club events featured a crossover of customers. However, this has become rare now, and Gothloli has found it's own position simply as a youth fashion style.

In Japan, Goth is a very minor subculture with few followers, partly because the emphasis upon visual identity in Japanese youth culture makes other factors such as music and literature less important signifiers and perhaps partly because Christianity and Germanic culture are not integral parts of society. In Japan, people who have heard the term "Goth" usually assume that it refers to "Gothic Lolita", except for the Goths themselves, who strongly emphasize the differences. (Likewise, some western observers incorrectly assume that "Gothloli" is the Japanese version of "Goth".)

Anime and Manga
Due to the popularity of this cute style with many fans of Japanese animation and comics, characters dressed in the "Gothloli" style may be found in numerous anime and manga. Some of the most prominent are Paradise Kiss, Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, Rozen Maiden, Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase, Othello, Chobits, xxxHOLiC, and Pitaten. Most of these titles appeal primarily to male fans rather than the gothlolis themselves. However, large numbers of gothloli girls are visible at manga events such as comiket. They often buy doujinshi based upon their favourite bands, dolls and movie characters; and some are interested in other kinds of cosplay apart from goth loli style.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey~ Its Mandie (Sharon's daughter), we just got your postcard ^^

Glad you're having fun, I am extremely jealous. I want to be in Tokyo too(Shibuya to be exact)!!

Anyway, I love all the pictures you've posted. And Harajuku kids are the best <3 I wish we had kids like that here, they're really interesting in how they dress. Oh and Visual Kei...not sure how I feel about the music but I love the way they look. Their hair defies gravity!

Hope you keep having fun and posting more pictures ^^ And if you happen to run across Hyde (from L'Arc), kidnap and send him to me please. He's my favorite artist ever <3 XD

5:44 AM  

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