Japanese Fashion, Harajuku Style

By Mandy, age 13, Oklahoma

Hajimemashite* :)

With Halloween just around the corner, I'll bet most of you are getting ready to scare the pants off the neighborhood kids with your nifty costumes, right? Well, in Japan, every Sunday kids like you gather around Harajuku wearing make-up and costumes that make it look like Halloween every day. Harajuku fashion is very popular in Japan, but that's not all they have there. Japan is known for its unique way of dressing, which is why many people in the United States attempt to copy its unique style. Maybe after reading this article you will try out Japanese fashion for everyday life, but if it's too big of a step for you, you could make it your Halloween costume! :)

* It's pronounced Ha-jee-meh-mahsh-teh, and means "Hello!"


You've probably seen Gwen Stefani's Japanese backup dancers, and heard her singing about 'Harajuku girls' on her album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. But do you really know what the term 'Harajuku' means?

Harajuku fashion gets its name from the Harajuku district of Tokyo, which is where you'll see this crazy fashion each Sunday. All the switched-on Harajuku kids go there to explore the many clothing shops. They gather at Yoyogi park, the cafes on Omotesando street, and on the way to the Meiji shrine to display their latest Harajuku creations for tourists as well as their friends.

There are now many clothing stores and websites which sell Harajuku fashion, but the spirit of this Japanese style has arisen from teenagers not being afraid to customize and accessorize their own clothes, and to wear crazy outfits with a sense of humor to stand out against social expectations of straight clothes, straight jobs, and straight attitudes.

So how do you wear Harajuku fashion?

1) Be creative
2) Be theatrical
3) Mix and match
4) Look cute
5) Have a sense of humor
6) Be confident wearing clothes which mix genres and influences
7) Be confident wearing clothes that have weird shapes
8) If you go for bright colors, make sure you have unusual, fun contrasts
9) If you wear make-up, wear it black
10) Be confident in your chosen look
11) And the most important thing? Be stylish! :)


Kogals are a group of young girls and women in Japan characterized by high disposable incomes and unique tastes in fashion, music, and social activity. Kogals are known for wearing platform boots and microskirts, copious amounts of makeup, hair coloring (usually blond), artificial suntans, school uniforms, and designer accessories. Kogals look like your typical Californian babe surfer babe in miniskirts, bikini tops, and tans.

Ganjiro / Shirogyaru

Ganjiro gal or shirogyaru means "white gal". Shirogyaru is just a normal gal, but they have very pale skin.


Ganguro are gals with tanned skin who wears light panda make-up (white eyeliner and eyeshadow around the eyes) . They usually color their hair brown, an orangish brown, or blonde.


Manba was formerly known as yamanba, but the name changed recently since it has come back into fashion with gals. Manba is a gal who has tanned skin and dyed blonde, brown, or grey hair almost like ganguro, except she wears her panda make-up thicker, and makes her lips a whitish color, uses fake eyelashes, and usually attaches stickers or diamonds underneath her eyes.

Gal Makeup! :D

You may not live in Japan, but you can always look like you did! :D Here's a makeup guide if you want to try the ganguro look.

What you need to get started:

- Foundation
- Bronzer
- White eyeliner - White eyeshadow
- Black eyeliner
- Lipgloss or lipstick (a pale or peachy color)
- Black mascara

Step 1! Put on the foundation like you usually do.

Step 2! Apply the bronzer all over your face so that you have a natural tan look. Skip this step if you already have tan skin.

Step 3! Apply mascara.

Step 4! Apply white eyeliner on the inner corners of your eyes and your lower eyelids. Remember to keep it light to medium in terms of thickness.

Step 5! Take the white eyeshadow (a small amount) and make a line on the bridge of your nose so that it looks like the picture above. You don't want people to see the eyeshadow. It just adds a little glow. You can also put some eyeshadow on your eyelids for an even more ganguro look.

Step 6! Apply the black eyeliner on the top and lower lids of your eyes.

Step 7! Apply the lipgloss / lipstick, and your done!

Stay tuned for Japanese fashion, part 2, coming next month! :]

Stephanie Lynn's editorial notes:
Mandy was born in Japan, and moved to the United States at a young age. She returns to Japan from time to time.

I personally visited Harajuku and Yoyogi Park in October 2006, and wrote an article for the first issue of Sweet Designs Magazine.

You'll want to return next month for part two of Mandy's article. Personally I can't wait to read it!!

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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