Because of the success of my last fashion topic post, I decided to post a new one to see if it gets just as many hits. Remember to share this link with others so this blog can get famous! The more famous, the more frequently I write (lol)

(all pictures used on this article are from google and from http://hikoncia.blogspot.com/)

This weeks topic will be Ganguro! First off, what is Ganguro?

Ganguro is an alternative fashion trend of blonde or orange hair and tanned skin among young japanese women that became famous around the year 2000. This style is a contradiction to the traditional japanese concept of beauty by having pale skin, dark hair, and neutral makeup tones while rebellious youth tanned their skin, bleached their hair, and used colorful makeup.

There is a connection to Japanese folklore of ghosts and demons, who are depicted with a similar appearance and often displayed in kabuki and noh costumes. This connection to folklore is further mentioned in another Ganguro style called Yamanba, named after a famous story about a mountain witch. The term Ganguro is a mix of the japanese word “gangankuro”, meaning extremely dark, and “guro” meaning grotesque. If you translate the word Ganguro literally, it translates to “blackface” or “charbroiled face”, meaning heavily-sunburned face.

Onto the fashion!
In Ganguro fashion, a deep tan is combined with hair dyed in shades of orange to blonde, or a silver grey known as “high bleached”. Black ink is used as eye-liner and white concealer is used as lipstick and eyeshadow. False eyelashes, plastic facial gems, and pearl powder are often added as well. Platform shoes and brightly-colored outfits complete the Ganguro look. Kinda reminds you of Decora fashion!

Yamanba and Manba are styles which developed from Ganguro. Old Yamanba and Manba (sometimes known as “2004 Manba”) featured dark tans and white lipstick, pastel eye make-up, tiny metallic or glittery adhesives below the eyes, brightly-coloured circle lenses, plastic dayglo-coloured clothing, and incongruous acessories (popularly, hawaiian leis). Stickers on the face died out shortly after 2004 and, for a while, so did Yamanba.

(Check out the face jewels on that Yamanba ._.)

2008’s Manba fashion sports a darker tan, and no facial stickers while hair is usually neon/bright colours, with pink being a favorite, it’s usually synthetic. Clothing remains the same, although leis are worn less frequently now.


(Manba fashion requires makeup under the eyes as well as over. Don’t be confused! Also be sure to perfect this alternate peace sign that is made with the last two fingers instead of the first, this is also important!)

Ganguro is now used to describe girls, or Gals (see my previous post about Hime Gyaru) with a tan, lightened hair and some brand clothing. Girls who follow the Gal fashion in the western world have also taken it upon themselves to create Gyarusa, a circle of friends who all enjoy the Gal fashion. They hang out together, much like a sisterhood and are so popular in Japan that a TV program called “Gyarusa”, featuring Morning Musume’s Yaguchi Mari, was made.

There are currently circles in the UK, America, and other European countries who are brought together online.

Recently, two British Manba from the UK gal circle “Hibiscgyaru” were interviewed for BBC World Services in an attempt to make japanese fashion more accessible and understood in the western world.

Other notable western Gal appearances can be found on Tokyo Kawaii TV, a popular television program about current youth trends in Japan. A former UK Gal circle was featured in the hime gyaru episode (that aired in march 2008) and more recently, spanish Gal circle “Hysterical” were featured in late august 2009.

(One of the members of Hysterical named “Hiki”)

Males are also just as adamant about is style as girls are! The male equivalent to Ganguro is called a “center guy”, a pun on the name of a pedestrian shopping street near Shibuya Station in Tokyo where Yamanba are often seen.

So girls, don’t be afraid to go darker this summer, embrace your tan and start making a style of it!

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