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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Japanese Gal Culture

Kyoto Galsギャル

Japan is well known for its many genres and sub-cultures.

They exist in the worlds of manga and animation, sport and literature.

And, sure enough, there is a mind-boggling variety of clothing and accessories that identify one as belonging to type x.

One of the flashiest is the "Gal" type.

Gal is not a static phenomenon, and magazines both follow and lead the trend. They include Egg (see below left), Cawaii, Seventeen, and others.

The basic profile of a "Gal" is a woman in her mid-teens to early twenties who dresses to be noticed. They are not "kawaii" (cute), a bit aggressive, and - by local standards - flaunt their bodies and looks.

eggIn the 1990s, the "Kogaru" (small gal) type took Japan by storm. These were young women who were put on tv, featured in magazines, and accused of selling their bodies in order to buy brand goods. Much of of it was no doubt a media-driven, PTA fear-mongering, event. However, these girls were in their own way rebelling against Japanese norms.

The women pictured above right are the latest incarnation. They are waiting for their order in a Kyoto McDonalds. The one at right is wearing the signature Ugg boots, short shorts, and a loose fitting shirt. When she walked, the shirt flapped open and closed exposing her flat brown belly.

The other, flashier of the two is wearing a modified hip-hop look - but definitely would not identify herself as being part of the Japanese hip hop scene. Her low-slung jeans expose not an upturned bit of her butt but rather eye-catching black-and-yellow patterned panties. Her top is even more colorful.

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