May 31, 2011

Dark Gyarus - Telling Them Apart!

  Hello! I was recently searching Google for pictures to use for the Japanese fashion fact on my 20 facts post. I noticed for some people, there seemed to be a little bit of confusion on the difference between the 'dark face' fashions. If you're wondering what those fashions are they would be,


  I can see how they can be confused with eachother easily, so I decided to do an article about the fashions, and a couple more! Now, this is one of my first 'articles' so sorry if I ramble on a little or it doesn't feel very 'clean' or 'smooth'. I'm very new to this! So let's get started!

  Some people (including myself) seem to prefer to spell this 'Gonguro'. The spelling most people seem to prefer is 'Ganguro', but I put both spellings either way! Gonguro literally means 'blackface' in Gyaru language. The word Ganguro was used to just describe someone with a deeply tanned face. The prefix 'Gon' was added when the look became much more extreme. 

  Ganguro fashion appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s on the streets of Shibuya. It was very specific to this area. It is almost certain you will not find a Gonguro this day in age.

  Some believe the Ganguro were trying to be black, due to hip hop and rap music being played in the clubs they attended. They also believe that maybe they were just trying to stand out from the crowd in said clubs. 

   The look can be defined by the tan skin, bleached hair, and platform boots. One point of the fashion was for the Japanese girls doing it to look like what they thought American beach bunnies looked like (think Baywatch).

  Most of them had a very childish way of acting and would get together in groups known as 'Gyaru Circles' (or Gal Circles). If you're into a certain Japanese fashion, you know what these are. Gonguro prefered tanning beds to get the beach look. They also took to using white concealer around the eyes and on the lips, and also using black marker as eyeliner. One of the pioneers of the look was Buriteri,

  -who nicknamed herself after the sauce used on yellowtail fish (the color is basically jetblack). She was featured in egg magazine several times during the height of the Ganguro craze. Many people in the fashion and street scene were hearing rumors about a girl who had created a whole new style. egg heard of this rumor and decided to try to track her down in disco clubs.

  Buriteri introduced a core makeup staple for Gonguro skin. The concealer Max Factor's NW55 (a MAC product), which is a concealer shade made for black women.

  Buriteri and a group on Ganguros became spokepeople for a tanning salon called 'Blacky'. Buriteri even became a regular on a daytime talkshow.

  But due to heckling and bad press, Buriteri stopped the Ganguro look and lifestyle and went back to being normal. It is rumored she works in a clothing store now.

  The look was completely dead in 2001.

  Let's get down to business. For this article, I will be using a 'chart' to talk about the appearance characteristics and the clothing characteristics.


Bleached Blonde Hair (sometimes silver, or just bleached and not necessarily blonde)
Black Eyeliner (actually marker)
White Lips
White Concealer around the Eyes
Colored Contact Lenses (usually blue or green)

Platform Boots

Colorful Clothes
Long Coats
Micro-mini Skirts

Short Dresses

  Manba fashion appeared on the streets near the mid-2000s. What defines Manba are the colorful clothes, face stickers, colored hair, and most of all, the makeup.

  Manba gals were inspired by the Ganguros that came before them. But instead of just 'black face' or tanned skin, the white lips,and the small amount of white concealer around the eyes, they went all out with their make up. Manba makeup is white concealer around the eyes (but a bigger amount than the Ganguro), a white stripe down the bridge of the nose, white lips, black eyeliner, false lashes, and pearl powder on the top part of the cheeks. Manba also prefer using concealer and spray-tan then to use tanning beds (due to the risk of skin cancer). Back in the early age of Manba fashion, stickers or jewels were usually placed near the eyes. But in recent times, this has died down. They're also known to like colored contacts, usually blue.

  Manbas are easily confused with Yamanbas, which is an offbranch of the Manba fashion. Manba fashion died down in the late mid-2000s, but has been rising back up on the streets of Tokyo. A Manba 'lifestyle' usually consist of hanging out with your other Manba friends (weekends only if you're a student, unless you're a deliquent!), Para Para dancing (sometimes), and sitting around putting makeup on.

  Who could be considered one of the 'pioneers' (or just famous person) of the Manba and Yamanba fashion is Pinky (seen above, to the right). Though I'm not quite sure if she's been in magazines, she has been on T.V. several times and does Para Para.

(seen here on Japanorama)

  Manbas are also known for their love over the brand Alba Rosa.

  This brand is also loved by Yamanba girls, probably due to the Hawaiin flower motif, but more on the later! The stores were not to fond of the Manba buying their products since it was not good for the company's image. The store shut down in 2005, when it decided it need to clean up it's image. Alba Rosa products might fall more in the Gyaru or Hime Gyaru category now.

  The male equivalent of Manba/Yamanba is Sentaa Guy or Sentaa (Center Guy).

(Manbas referenced in the manga Beauty Pop )


White concealer around eyes
White Lips
False Lashes
White stripe down bridge of nose
Black eyeliner on eyelids
Colorful Hair
Tanned Skin
Stickers and/or jewels on face

Colorful tank tops,skirts,jackets, etc.
Ugg Boots
Colorful Hair Extensions
Long Nails (sometimes)
Layered Clothing

  Okay, here is the difference that people seem to have the hardest time deciphering. The main difference between Manbas and Yamanbas are these two things - Yamanbas don't put white concealer all the way around their eyes, only above, and Yamanbas girls incorporate a 'LOOK-HOW-MUCH-HAWAIIN-THEMED-THINGS-I-CAN-GET-ON-ME!' theme into the regular Manba wardrobe.

  The word Yamanba translated in English is 'mountain hag'. This word was used be people who dissaproved of the Gonguro fashion. The Manba took off the 'ya' and flaunted being a 'hag'.

  They also seem to have the same 'attempting-to-look-like-an-American-beach-girl' feel that the Ganguros did. Except for their hair. Most Yamanbas seem to have even more colorful hair than the Yamanbas do! While certain Yamanbas (as seen above) kept with the blonde color the Ganguros were so fond of, many seem to have colorful hair extensions and lei flowers gracing their hair.

The girl above could be considerd Manba

Another picture of Pinky

  Yamanba are also bigger on stickers and jewels on the face. There seems to be a good amount of Yamanbas still running around Shibuya, and there is a highly popular gyaru circle named Angeleek. Pinky is a member of this group. They have been on television in Japan several times. The group started in 2001, created by and for Manba. The group now seems to have several categories of Manba/Yamanba and Gyaru style in the members. Some of their members that fall under the Yamanba category are-


Rinyan and



White concealer around and on eyelids
White Lips
White Stripe on Bridge of Nose
Stickers and/or jewels (sometimes)
Colored contact lenses
Colorful Hair (usually dyed or hair extensions)

Alba Rosa fashion

Seen here is a Sentaa Guy in Shibuya
Colorful, layered clothes
Hawaiin Themed Things

  Kogals appeared before the rise of Ganguro fashion. They're known for hiking up their skirts, sexualizing their school uniform, casual 'dating', and being somewhat superficial.

  The basic premise of the fashion occured in around the 1980s, when private school dropouts conteracted the infamous Yankii (who lengthened their skirts) by shortening their uniform skirts. Most of these private school students were in middle school, and were attempting to act and look older.

The Kogal craze came around the early 90s. Going in the exact opposite direction of the Sukeban before them, the newer Kogal wanted to look younger or there age instead or trying to look older. They were proud of their youth and wanted to show it off.

  Kogals tanned their skin with frequent visits to the tanning salon. One other known trademark of the Kogal fashion is the big, loose socks they wore. They were originally intended to wear in rain boots, but most Kogals wore them because they were cute, and some wore them because of being self conscious of there chubby legs.

  Other items the Kogals loved were pricey ones, such as Burberry scarves and Louis Vuitton handbags. But these things being way out of their price-range, the Kogals felt they have a dilemma on their hands. This led to the phenomenon known as paid dating.

  Girls would seek out old men who were willing to pay for a 'date'. Some did usually just involve eating with the man, but sometimes sex did factor into the equation. The public was outraged by this act, which started to put Kogals into a negative light. 
  Another part of the Kogal lifestyle was the use of cellphones. Before the modern cellphone, Kogals used personal messaging phones that could send texts within a certain distance. They even had there own language. Some examples of this language are -
Cho beri ba - Really very bad
O-ru - Staying out all night
Gyaru-Yatte - Doing the gal thing
MK5 - On the verge of going ballistic
  The Kogal craze died down when the girls grew older, and was quickly replaced with the Ganguro. Some girls got scared off by "kogal cleansing" campaigns started by the underground prostitution world, where the were mad at the Kogals for taking away some of their profit.


Tanned skinned
Light blonde or brown hair (usually)

School uniforms

School shoes
Burberry scarves and/or knockoff scarves
Loose socks

  The kigurumi fashion came after the Manbas and Yamanbas died down in the early to mid 2000s. Girls started walking around the Japanese streets wearing pajama suits intended for children. They sported the classic tanned, stickered faces of the Manba and Yamanba.
  The girls found these suits from department stores in the party section. The look was usually completed when wearing flip flops or house/medical slippers. Some of the slippers even had characters on them, which would match the kigurumi that the girls had on.
  The look can still somtimes be seen with the Manba makeup along with it, but now girls usually wear kigurumi out with "clean" faces and some accessories along with it.

Tanned faces
White concealer around eyes
White lips
White stripe down the bride of the nose
Kigurumi (or pajama suits)
House/medical slippers

Other Fashions:
This is for the fashion I don't have a lot of information about

  Banba is very similar to Manba and Yamanba fashion, but with the intent of looking like a Barbie doll, hence the 'b'. Banbas are more likely to have bright neon clothes and hair. 

  Makeup is almost exactly like Manba and Yamanba, the only major difference being the super neon clothes and hair, and intent of looking like Barbie.

  The basic premise of this fashion is to look like a black girl. Or at least what these girls interpret as a HIP HOP black girl. The fashion includes slouchy pants, athletic jackets,caps, and sneakers. 


  Skin tends to be lightly tanned, while hair is a light color, usually somewhere in the brown shades. Hair is occasionally put in cornrows, or is cornrow-esque in the front of the hairline.

  This fashion is very similar to the rastaferian  fashion (my sister informs me it is a philosophy, but I think some people just do it for the clothes) in the states. Basically the premise of this fashion is to wear whatever you can find that is Jamaican themed (or green, yellow, and red), or marijuana related. Pot is viewed as a very bad drug in Japan, so in a way this is a "underground" fashion, with people wearing this fashion meeting together in alleyways. Also a way of rebelling.

  Skin is usually lightly tanned and hair is sometimes in dreadlocks. Usually is just curly, slightly curly, or straight in shape. Seems like dark brown is the main hair color in this fashion.

  Basically Manba fashion, except instead of bright, colorful clothes, pearl, pinks, and lace is the focal point. Names stands for 'romantic Manba'. Hair seems to either be pink or white with pink extensions. Roses, pearls, and pink are big themes in this fashion.

  Appearance is standard Manba makeup, but with possibly more pink or girly face decals. 

  Look is girls with a Manba or Gyaru look, but with a dedication to the breand CocoLulu.

  If you have been fairly confused about these fashions, I hope the article helped you! It's finally done and I'm happy I can finally post it :)!~