fashion japanese fashion

Akamoji-kei vs Aomoji-kei: It all started with red letters

In my last post, introduced Aomoji and Akamoji to you. I gave a basic definition and went deeper to explore the currently popular Aomoji-kei subculture. This time, I’ll be focusing on Akamoji which has not be properly covered in my opinion. I hope by reading this, it will expand everyone’s knowledge on Japanese fashion.

Akamoji-kei (literally: Red-letter style) is a fashion subculture that is more accepted by the mainstream. Akamoji appeals to young office ladies (OL) and female college students and is characterized by its conservative style. It is often worn by women in their early 20s. It is a style that is thought to be popular with men. Despite being conservative, it’s far from being outdated and is considered elegant. The name akamoji comes from the five magazines which were first known for their red title on the cover page. However it can be said that it has been on a decline since the bubble economy burst. Nowadays it has somewhat mixed with gyaru, creating onee-kei.

In short, Akamoji is the opposite of Aomoji is. It is a style popular among women who must adhere to the standards set by the workplace and school. Yet at the same time, being as fashionable as they want. They are always on the trends of what’s new and hot. It has been around since the 70s and as such has evolved with the times, suiting the young women of each generation.

The magazines that are part of Akamoji are JJ, Ray, ViVi, CanCam and the now suspended PINKY. While the title of JJ, CanCam and PINKY where red, Ray’s and ViVi’s were pink. These magazines all go on sale on the 23rd of each month (unless it’s a national holiday then it’d be push forward a day or two earlier). The magazines carefully choose what they model should wear. Likewise most of the models have brown or black hair and where natural make-up.

Akamoji-kei magazines

Even though it’s not the shining star that it once was, this subculture isn’t without its popular icons. Which include Rola, Suzuki Emi, and Nozomi Sasaki. Rola first started as a model for the gyaru magazine, Popteeen. However she later became a model for ViVi in 2008, in 2011 she skyrocketed as a TV personality and made a singing debut. Suzuki Emi is a Chinese-born model and worked with Seventeen and PINKY. While mysterious when it comes to her private life, she was not short on acting jobs. Lastly Nozomi Sasaki who also started out with PINKY became popular around 2009 and is currently working hard in not only modeling but acting, tv appearances (and occasional song release).

Left: Rola / Center: Nozomi Sasaki / Right: Suzuki Emi

Below I’ll show you some examples of Akamoji fashion to give you a better understanding of the look.

JJ December 2012
A street snap from an Akamoji magazine. As one can see, soft colors are a common trait as well as dark hair.


CanCam January 2012
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in Akamoji style. As you can see this is a drastic change. They have toned down her use of blush. She’s wearing a soft and cute blouse/dress. Her usual blonde/pastel hair has become brown with thicker eyebrows to match. Even her eye make-up has been more natural. This is the best example to show how night and day Aomoji-kei and Akamoji-kei is.


Ray November 2012
A cute and feminine look, matched with a classy bag. This bound to stir a man’s heart.
I hope that this helped you all understand the style better. There is not a lot of in English on this style, so I hoped to explain it better. If you have any questions about it, feel free to comment below. Thanks to Popsister and Jfashionmagazines for the magazine scans.

2 replies on “Akamoji-kei vs Aomoji-kei: It all started with red letters”

I'm definitely a fan of Akamoji, I just love the pretty but mature look it gives.
I love Aomoji also, but it seems a bit much for everyday style for me~ It would be something I would do when im feeling really bold~

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