This is part two of the two translations about the changing state of gyaru culture. Former Egg and Men’s Egg model, Uetake Hiromu gives his views on what’s happening to the scene. I hope to give you all my opinion on everything in the next blog post. This includes my opinion on the international community and speculation on other reasons for the shift. The translation starts below…
The end of Egg’s publication causes a huge impact… What is the key to reviving the Shibuya Gyaru Culture? A legendary Gyaru-o tells us about it
Gyaru magazine, Egg (Taiyoh Books), will cease their publication with the May 31st release of
their July issue. It comes to an end with a long history of 19 years and 9 months. Many have been saying that “Gyaru have disappeared from the streets”, and we need something to liven up the Shibuya Culture that Japan boasts about. We interviewed Uetake Hiromu, also known as “Piromu”, a charismatic dokusha model at the time of the magazine’s launch that currently makes efforts to transmit Shibuya’s culture.
In 1997, Uetake debuted as a dokusha model in Egg, with the launch of Men’s Egg in 1999, he took the opportunity to transfer there. He’s a charismatic pioneer Gyaru-o, and spread this name as a super high school student. Last October, Men’s Egg ceased publication, and now, after learning of this announcement, Uetake couldn’t hide his unrest, “This is definitely a big shock”. He held these magazines very dearly, “With the next issue of Egg, it means that [the modeling activities of] our own juniors will be completely ended. To me, I feel like Egg is my true parent, and Men’s Egg is like my foster parent”.
Gyaru magazines end one after the other, the causes of that are…
It’s not only Egg and Men’s Egg, recently, due to the end of the publishers’ businesses, fashion magazines targeted at these peoplesuch as “Koakuma ageha”, “Happie nuts”, “I LOVE mama”, have ended one after the other. As for the causes, Uetake analysed it, “From my own point of view, men used to be in “egg” very often. Those men became crazily popular and that created “men’s egg”. Already since that time, the “subdivision of Gyaru” might have started.”, and he gave us these 4 points.
- The power of Gyaru became dispersed because of its diversity.
Uetake: At the time of the lauch, various genres of Gyaru were joined together in Egg. Each of them dispersed into their own magazines and diversified, they are Popteen, Happie nuts, JELLY, “BLENDA, S Cawaii! and Koakuma Ageha. Each of these magazines had their own icons so, a “genuine” charismatic model that would rise over the walls of the magazines no longer existed, and it weakened us as a culture.
- The iconic Gyaru that became charismatic models grew older.
Uetake: Before, the “charismatic models of Gyaru” was for those up until high school, but once the culture was established, the “concept of graduating from Gyaru” disappeared, many who were over 20 years old started to be titled as charismatic models. Those that were over 20, compared to those in their 10s, their degree of perfection was higher, their makeup became lighter, they stopped tanning their skin, they wore expensive items that the readers couldn’t buy and imitate. They wore items that were forced upon them due to adult circumstances, they wore items that readers couldn’t possibly imitate, and there was a change of those items. With all of this, it’s impossible for the readers to imitate anything.
- Many of the dokusha models had different information depending on “magazine transmission” and “SNS transmission”, so we lost consistency.
Dokusha models became a kind of model that was embarrassing to professional models.
Uetake: Before, the Gyaru were on the streets, now they’re on SNS, if you want see the actual person, you have to go to fashion shows to see them. This is not limited to Shibuya, but being able to stand out when you go out shopping, it’s something that doesn’t have any more meaning to current Gyaru. That’s because of the bashing that happens on the internet.
The key to revive Gyaru Culture
With how things are going, the streets of Shibuya have lost their energy. So, what’s necessary to be able to liven up Gyaru Culture once again? Uetake told us as follows.
It’s fine even if it’s only for the weekends, I wonder if we can revive the pedestrian mall inside Shibuya Station. Most used to originate and started from there. In the huge crowds of Shibuya, you’d get photographed while basking in everyone’s stares. I have the memory of having a feeling of nervousness that you couldn’t feel anywhere but there, and feeling great and proud when [I] appeared in a magazine. It doesn’t mean that those photos really need to be in magazines, but it’s great if they put them even on SNS.
Top: Ueno Arisa | Bottom: Saitou Natsumi
Hereafter, the birth of icons that rise over the walls of a magazine will become the key. Uetake selected Ueno Arisa, the creative director of fashion brand “FIG&VIPER”, as well as Saitou Natsumi, a model that started in Gyaru magazine “Ranzuki” and is currently in Mode magazine “VOGUE JAPAN”. He says, “I believe that (the two of them) are creating a new era so, I’m anticipating it”.
Credit goes to my friend Hassy for translating this for me 😀