Japanese Street Fashion Essay

1349 words - 6 pages

Living in the United States for two and half years, I have been surprised how influential Japanese pop culture has been on some aspects of American culture now. I see many people wearing shirts and caps with Japanese calligraphy on it. I hear a lot of things about Japanese animation. I see a lot of articles talking about Japanese pop culture. More recently, a movie called "Lost in Translation" written and directed by Sofia Coppola was all about Tokyo culture.Many American young people seem especially interested in Japanese street fashion. Teenage magazine "ELLE" shows Japanese street fashion in Harajuku where most young people hang out. The magazine "Teenvogue" shows photos of an ...view middle of the document...

Then, the view on the fashion of the young man began to change as the trend of the times changed a lot. The student movement wore jeans from the second half of the 60s and this hippy fashion statement spread around the world. The Jeans symbolized freedom, resistance, and were a dissident symbol of fashion for a young-man. This was especially true in Japan. Jeans became a part of the workingman's culture during the first half of the 70s. Young men began to wear jeans as outdoor sport fashions on an everyday basis in the mid-70s. The fashion of the 1980s from which the buff bubble economy began is the time when fashion brands, such as a designer/character brand, and brand-name goods attracted attention. Then in the late 80s, bubble business would gather in popularity. As you can see, Japanese fashion has been always influenced by western cultures and history. However, In the early to mid 90's things were beginning to change in Japan. Young people started to seek more originality and unique style. Aoki Shoichi is a well known photographer of Tokyo street fashion for his magazine "FRUITS". Aoki's magazine "FRUITS" has sold more than 100.000 copies worldwide. He has been taking pictures and documenting young street fashion around Harajuku town in Tokyo which is well known as the shopping district since 1996. Since he started documenting the Harajuku trends Aoki has seen quite a few changes. "They are much freer in expressing themselves and can think for themselves. They even decide their own hairstyles now. In the mid 90's it was truly revolutionary when people started to dye their hair and choose their own color. You eventually saw all kinds of colors: green, red, anything" ("Street", par50.). So why are young Japanese so serious about fashion? In Japan today we still have the authoritarian, socialistic style, working man mentality and the guiding principle of this seems to be "The nail that sticks out will be hammered down." People who display too much individuality or assert themselves too forcefully are disliked. In other words, we have a society that considers it best to fall in line with the average. This feeling remains strong, so even though many people may not find that way of doing things interesting, most Japanese end up conforming to these expectations anyhow. Consequently, there are now many Japanese youngsters who think themselves that when they become adults they will have nothing more to look forward to than the uninteresting, boring life of a salaried employee. They abhor this kind of society and want to enjoy themselves to the fullest while they are young. They look to fashion as a way to express their obsession for self-expression and individuality. I believe that is why they are so ardent about fashion.Perhaps my way of explaining things is a...

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