Harajuku Culture

The History of Harajuku

The Main Strip of Harajuku

Harajuku as it is now traces its roots to the end of World War II during the Allied occupation of Japan. U.S. soldiers and government civilians and their families lived in a nearby housing area called Washington Heights. It became an area where curious young people flocked to experience a different culture and stores in the area stocked goods marketed towards middle and upper class Japanese and Americans. In 1958, Central Apartments were built in the area and were quickly occupied by fashion designers, models, and photographers. In 1964, when the Summer Olympics came to Tokyo the Harajuku area was further developed, and the idea of “Harajuku” slowly began to take a more concrete shape.
After the Olympics the young people who hung out in the area, frequently referred to as the Harajuku-zoku, or the Harajuku tribe, began to develop a distinct culture and style unique to different groups and the area. From this distinct style grew the culture of Harajuku as a gathering ground for youths. The term “Harajuku Girls” has been used by English-language media to describe teenagers dressed in any fashion style who are in the area of Harajuku. This fashion infuses multiple looks and styles to create a unique form of dress. The cyber-punk look takes its influence from Gothic fashion and incorporates neon and metallic colors.

Harajuku Fashion

Harajuku fashion is the name of a certain style of dressing that is popular in Japan. There are various sub-categories and distinctions within the umbrella of Harajuku fashion. Rather than being one defined form of fashion it has a broad scope with distinct styles. Among the many different Harajuku looks is the elegant Gothic Lolita which has long been popular in the country. On the flip side you have the ultra modern looking punk Visual Kei (VisKei) that has been inspired by the local music scene especially punk and rock.

Gothic Lolita

Visual Kei – Shocking, I know.

The fashion gets its name from the place of its origin which is Harajuku. The Harajuku station is one place where you will be able to see just how crazy the youth are over this trend. The station basically serves as a stage where teens from all over the place gather around to show off their costumes. It seems as though you are at a costume party with the youth trying on different disguises in order to mimic their favorite personality whether that is a rock musician, anime character of something gothic.

The Harajuku fashion epicenter in Japan is Tokyo. Over here you will find the youth to be dressed up in amazingly vibrant clothing. It is all a matter of experimentation for the youth who utilize their creative instincts to mix and match different kinds of clothing to come up with something outlandish. The bizarre outfits are often accompanied with colored hair and various other fashion accessories.

The Neon Hairstyle

(Levi Daifani)

 

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