Analyzing J-Fashion – Magazines galore

Apr 28, 2008 1 Comment by

I found a great Japanese fashion site today.
Take a look at this graphic.

Fashion Spectrum

It shows the interrelationship between men’s styles and magazines that cover it.For the non -Japanese reader, the upper edge of the map is the shoshokusei ga tsuyoi/ryuuko. (This means “Heavy Ornamentation” and “Fashionable.) The orange left-most edge is Onauke-softo which means “Feminine/soft” while the grey right-edge says “Masculine/hard” in grey. The bottom, in brown is shimpuru-teiban, which means simple, standard goods. AAAGoing counter-clockwise, starting at the top-left, this quadrant is defined by biyoushikei, which is “The beautician style” which sports hyper-feminized, unisex, or even female looks.

In the darker orange box that stretches down in to the lower-right, Extreme quadrant, we find the urahara-kei. Urahara is a play on words for “reverse;” these two kanji here, ura being hidden, or underneath, and hara being Harajuku’s hara. Together they form “Reverse Hara or Harajuku Underground.” It tends toward extreme fashion and is a layered look.

The violet square in the middle, spanning all quadrants in the Mennon-kei, which gets its name from the famous fashion magazine “Men’s Non-No.” This contains elements of all the styles out there and is most mainstream.Going to the bottom-left, the entire quadrant is defined by the Kireme-kei (This is characterized by freshness, put-togetherness, cleanliness, and safe fashions.)Within this quadrant, going slightly into the Biyoshi-kei, toward the “feminine” edge in the tan box is the Konsaba-kei (Conservative – “defined by elegance, glamor, soft, and a natural impression”.)

Moving right, we find ourselves in the ekusutoriimu-kei. This Extreme style is “hard” and “simple” style and “in the narrow sense, street fashion.” It’s a mix of skater, outdoor, roomy, almost hip-hop fashion. There are no sub-genres represented here. Moving back up into the top-right, the light-violet square is characterized by otona no rokku kei. This “Adult’s Rock” fashion conjures up the words “Rock, Sexy, Hard, Tight” in many magazines, according to Elastic. (Designer Kitahara Tetsuo comes from this trend.) This style gives you the feeling of street fashion meets high fashion, and the brands are quite costly.

Inside of this box, we find the grey box of the onii-kei which corresponds to the onee-kei in the woman’s fashion chart below. This is defined by tanned skin, brown hair, but a more mature presentation than the old-fashioned gyaru corollary of boys who felt left out by their yamamba compatriots. (Being a group-based culture, the boys needed a group to belong to as well as they hung out with the pack of gyaru.)

If you do read Japanese, here is the source material along with Japanese explanations of each fashion type.If you like, I can translate it for you you in the near future. This is a good overview for those who think J-fashion is all decora and goth-loli. There’s a lot going on in the men’s world.

But not so nearly as much as in the women’s world!

Take a look at this graphic!
ElasticOn the top, you have the self-intended (Jibun shimu), on the left you have the elegant, on the right the casual, and the bottom, the mote (Mote refers to a girl who is popular with the guys, and vice versa.)In the upper-left quadrant, in olive green, you have the modo-kei (For the fashion addict, who pays attention to global trends, Paris, Milan, NYC, etc), and toward the bottom of the quadrant the arasaa in mauve (Arasaa is fashion for gyaru who never stopped being gyaru! – Araundo Satei or “around thirty”), which dips into mote.

In lavender, the hai-endo kei, (High end) spans the middle between the upper-left and the upper-right quadrants.

Moving to the right, the light-green box encompasses the street-kei, and you can see all of the magazines in that category. (Casual street clothes, fashion students, tops, skirts, jeans, etc.) Moving down to the bottom-right in the area of casual and mote, in the orange box is gaarii-kei, (Girly – think juniors) and the lime-green box is gyaru-kei (gal, Used to be as in mamba, kogal, kawaii, etc. but according to the source site, it refers to a young lady who has overall fashion trendiness…”LA Celeb style” for whatever that’s worth!)

On the bottom-left, in the pink box is the Onee-kei (Onee-san means “older sister and the Onee Kei refers to styles for women who have graduated from the Gyaru-kei). Just above, in violet, is the OL-Kei which spans between elegant and casual. OL means “Office Lady” and tends to refer to women who, you guessed it, are professionals, and are going to be more conservative in appearance.

Now, let’s go find some of these magazines! Stay fresh, not stale!

Fashion, Research, 日本社会

About the author

I'm a PhD student at Washington University in St. Louis. I teach, write, and discuss Japanese popular culture and other topics on East Asia.