Harajuku, Tokyo
July 19, 2004 2:53 AM   Subscribe

Every Sunday, it's Halloween in Harajuku. Hanging out by the train station at Tokyo's most fashionable district are young women dressed as nurses, but with white faces and a trickle of painted blood dripping from a lip. Men in their late teens or early twenties fidget under huge manes of spiky green hair and layers of black leather.
Some really amazing costumes can be seen here. And by amazing I mean interesting, and by interesting I mean freaky.
posted by Jase_B (30 comments total)
Oh, and by the way I realise first link is pretty old, but the content is still relevent. I live just outside Tokyo and plan on checking it out when the weather gets cooler.
posted by Jase_B at 2:54 AM on July 19, 2004

Perfect way to start a Monday. Thanks!
posted by fluffycreature at 3:47 AM on July 19, 2004

[this is groovy]
posted by moonbird at 4:09 AM on July 19, 2004

fluffy, that's so funny -- that was the first link I clicked, too.

Man... Japanese women are astoundingly beautiful. </ObjectificationFilter>
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:27 AM on July 19, 2004

Phaidon puts out a fun bookfull of these fashion freaks called Fruits.
posted by kozad at 5:35 AM on July 19, 2004

Yeah, sunday around lunchtime over the bridge from meiji to Harajuku. You can go up to any of them and ask for a picture and they will strike a pose.

For an added treat go into the downstairs area of the Mcdonalds around the corner - it serves as a prep area for all the kids.

Damn do I miss Japan.
posted by quibx at 5:57 AM on July 19, 2004

More here (warning, self link)
posted by quibx at 6:02 AM on July 19, 2004

Yes Yes, Harajuku-eki is cho kakkoii blah blah blah.

Where is the attention on the more interesting and less "circus" areas of Tokyo? (Oh look! Blade Runner-esque! Oh Look, Red Light District! Oh look, Hachiko! *retch*) And heck, where is the commentary on the area these kids dress-up in front of? Meiji-jingu is far more interesting and gorgeous. Last time I visited there (ignoring the kids desperately looking for attention), I witnessed a beautiful traditional wedding at the shrine.

Sorry, I know, I should appreciate everything Japanese, but what we see as unique, is really just kids overreacting to freedom. Those same kids wear the usual school uniforms the other 6 days of the week.
posted by Dantien at 6:32 AM on July 19, 2004

hunkabutta's got a bunch of photos too
posted by soplerfo at 6:33 AM on July 19, 2004

Harajuku was one of my most memorable parts of visiting Tokyo in April. If you like the fashions seen on the bridge to Meiji, then I highly recommend the shopping side-street that is just across the road from the lower entrance to the Harajuku JR station. Even in the middle of the weekday it was absolutely packed with shoppers of all ages in their fabulously outrageous fashions.
posted by jsonic at 6:37 AM on July 19, 2004

Kind of, ummm. Nevermind, it's nothing like that. America doesn't try hard enough.
posted by m@ at 7:11 AM on July 19, 2004

Amazon's preview of fruits. I highly recommend the book.
posted by alms at 7:45 AM on July 19, 2004

they still look all the same to my western eyes.
a pity really, cause they could look so good with traditional dress.
maybe some bound feet would peak my interest.
posted by billybobtoo at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2004

a bit of background... (and a self link photo)
posted by shoepal at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2004

Japanese Streets, previously posted... somewhere around here.
posted by Shane at 8:19 AM on July 19, 2004

It's Gothic Lolita Bible come to life!
posted by falconred at 8:39 AM on July 19, 2004

shoepal - so that's you in the pink skirt?
posted by Jase_B at 10:28 AM on July 19, 2004

posted by shoepal at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2004

Nice seeing "Death Rock" alive & well. It is funny seeing the shoe on the other foot. In the late 80’s while working at a Californian Amusement park, have many memories of Asians staring in odd of the “KROQ death rocker/smith fan” which later became widely known as the “Goth” look. The dance studio hall, “Cloud 9” was there hang out at Knott’s.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:16 AM on July 19, 2004

I think it's beautiful. But then I draw comics about goth kids. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:22 AM on July 19, 2004

Oh and on August 29th, all the goth kids I know will be in Disneyland for Bats Day in the Fun Park. As will I. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:24 AM on July 19, 2004

Those same kids wear the usual school uniforms the other 6 days of the week.

Niiiiice... :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:16 PM on July 19, 2004

geez man, they are kids.
posted by Dantien at 1:58 PM on July 19, 2004

[/droolfilter] *rolls eyes*

It's all a wonderful explosion of theatrical creativity, no?

Young women all over the world are beautiful simply by virtue of being young. But it's not the only kind of beauty, and it's without much substance, being unearned.
posted by jokeefe at 2:13 PM on July 19, 2004

This is an awesome post, Jase_B, and by awesome I mean fun, and by fun I mean funky.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:19 PM on July 19, 2004

jokeefe, there are guys in the photos too.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:37 PM on July 19, 2004

Great photo, shoepal.
posted by Tlogmer at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2004

geez man, they are kids

No, they're young. What? It's OK to lust after the senior-class cheerleaders when you're 17, but a decade later you're supposed to be turned off? I've got some news for you: there's a reason men are attracted to young women, and it's not because "they're told 2 by teh media". Women are at their most fertile when they're younger. That's attractive.

And as for this:
"it's without much substance, being unearned."

So what is earned? A guy is born 8'2", so he's a great basketball player. Unearned. A girl is born with increased folds in her cerebral cortex, she memorizes things quickly, learns faster -- a genius. Unearned.

What, am I only supposed to be impressed if it's a crippled burn-victim who's walking on the stage of Ms. America? Only through adversity, and all that bullshit? Tell that to just about any famous artist who has ever lived. Beauty, for the sake of nothing more than beauty. Don't be afraid and deny yourself the satisfaction of revelling in the shallowness of your desires.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:21 PM on July 19, 2004

There's a whole genre of music called, "Visual Kei" or style, to go along with these outfits. X Japan and Malice Mizer are probably the most famous examples. Malice Mizer's guitarist, Mana, is famous for his/her fashions. Some of the examples on the pages above are pretty faithful copies of the outfits.

Anyone intrigued should check out Gackt, Malice Mizer's former singer, who's put out some incredible solo albums. (The page I linked to has an mp3.)
posted by GeekAnimator at 5:43 PM on July 19, 2004

Those same kids wear the usual school uniforms the other 6 days of the week.

Isn't that all the more incentive to make a lot of effort to express yourself on the one day that you aren't required to wear a uniform?

One of the most interesting pictures I have from a trip to Tokyo a few years ago is a guy dressed up as Hide from X Japan-- red dress, red wig, white stage makeup, everything-- standing in that same spot outside of Meiji-jingu, sticking his tongue out, rolling his eyes, and pointing his finger at his head like a gun. Hide committed suicide in 1998.

Dantien, Meiji-jingu (the Meiji palace) is interesting, there is no doubt, but it is a historical site and the kids in Harajuku are a pop culture phenomenon. There are merits to both.

Thanks GeekAnimator for the links; I only know a very little about Visual Kei and I'm glad that people here who didn't know about it before can learn a bit about it now.
posted by halonine at 2:05 AM on July 20, 2004

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