I am researching the Japanese subculture fashion, Including punk fashion, lolita fashion, banc fashion and costume play.  My goal is to find out how these elements are related to Japanese society and culture.

Japanese subcultures became a notable phenomenon in the post-war and early post-modern era. Though the styles have changed over the years, Street fashion and costume play is still prominent in major cities like Tokyo and Ahkihabara. This phenomenon is highly related to elements of otaku culture, Janapese manga, and animations.

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  • 1970s:When famous labels including Pink House, Milk and Angelic pretty began selling clothes that would be considered “lolita” by today’s standards
  • 1978: Cosplay at fan events likely originated in Japan
  • 1990s: Lolita fashion became better recognized, with bands like Malice Mizer and other Visual Kei (or visual type) bands coming into popularity
  • 1997: The rise and fall of many of these trends has been chronicled by Shoichi Aoki since 1997 in the fashion magazine FRUITS, which is a notable magazine for the promotion of street fashion in Japan
  • 1998: Tokyo’s Akihabara district has contained a large number of cosplay cafes, catering to devoted anime and cosplay fans
  • 2001:One magazine in particular, the seasonally published Gothic & Lolita Bible, has palyed an instrumental role in promoting and standardizing the style


[「Punk Fashion Style」、Wapedia]

Punk fashion emphasizes violent and treacherous images. Ripped off jeans and shirts are the common outfit along with the accessories such as chain and necklace. Furthermore in the case of female, corset, mini skirt and slave related items are widely used in punk fashion. In addition, people often dye their hair to bright colors to express there feelings.

After the revival, skull became the motive. Historically, skull symbolizes “momento mori” meaning “you must die”. However, in punk fashion, skull often symbolize anti-war than death.

In Japan, it seems like there is a confusion between rock and punk fashion. People often automatically assume that rock fashion is same as punk fashion. Therefore, in Japan, not a lot of people have seen true punk fashion.

“Alternative goth subcultural fringe and other fashion” (the alternative fashion blog, 6/4/08)

  • Japanese Subcultures and Fashion
  • 日本のサブカルチャーとファション

“10 Unusual Japanese Fashions and Subcultures” (Listverse, 4/20/09)

  • fashion list
  • ファションリスト

“カテゴリー ファッションの傾向を表す言葉 のページ (wapedia)

  • fashion list
  • ファションリスト

Entry contributed by Won Jun