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Gyaru kei - The 'kei' s of Japanese Fashion v1

Updated on September 6, 2011

Gyaru Kei

Gyaru kei originates from the English word 'Gal', which started out as a brand name of jeans in Japan around 1970 (called Gals). The jeans slogan was, "I can't live without men". This fashion was geared towards teenagers and women in their early 20's, but it's popularity gradually declined from 1980. Now, Gyaru is a term used both in fashion and towards younger women who have little interest in marriage or work. Even with the decrease of popularity, the Gyaru fashion subculture is still has a heavy influence on Japan today.

Gyaru, no longer to be confused with the awkward style of ganguro, is essentially all glamor and man-made beauty. Many western influences have evolved into a large part of Gyaru kei.

Japanese deco nails
Japanese deco nails
Kogyaru (kogal)
Kogyaru (kogal)

Great books about Japanese fashion~

Subcategories of Gyaru

Agejo and Kyabajo - The term Agejo comes from the word 'ageha', meaning swallowtail butterfly. The latter part comes partly from the honorific word for young miss, 'ojousama', which is generally used for a young lady who is well off in means of old money.

Kyabajo is used to refer to the same style as Agejo, but the origin of the name comes from 'kyabakura', or hostess clubs.

Although the styles are more or less the same, there is a small difference in the way the terms are used. Agejo centers more around the style, and Kyabajo is more about the profession. The exception to this rule is when Agejos are models (usually for Ageha magazine).

The traits of this fashion:
- Mori hairstyles
- Dyed hair (Usually from the brown to blonde range, although Kyabajo girls do not always dye their hair)
- Nails with shine (and glitter, gems, and other fun decorations)
- Glamorous accessories
- Large sunglasses
- Top and bottom eyelashes with think eyeliner (Because Japanese girls tend to have very thin eyelashes, they usually put on fake lashes)
- Dolly-style contacts
- A combination of pink and black clothes
- Brand name bags and jewelry

As mentioned above, the clothing is generally a combination of pink and black. The short dresses are tight in the chest, but lose everywhere else. Fancy lingerie aspects are typically shown, such as garter stockings, laced corsets, and bras peaking out from the top.

Amura - An Amura girl is a girl who follows the look of Namie Amuro; a Japanese R&B/pop singer.

Bibinba - These Gyaru girls wear a lot of jewelry, especially gold. It's similar to a b-gal.

Banba - A less extreme version of Manba. Banba girls wear less makeup and her hair doesn't have as much neon in it. They wear dark makeup and club wear to complete the look.

Bozosoku - This is a biker style. It has a lot of characteristics of banba, with similar hairstyles, as well as corn rows, braids, or faux hawks. They wear a lot of black and brightly colored clothes, leather, plaid, and chains.

B-gal - A b-gal is a hip hop style, but less gangster and more bling. It's much more feminine then the hip hop style in America.

Coco-gyaru - A girl who wears the Cocolulu brand.

Gaijin-gyaru - A foreign girl who follows the gyaru style.

Ganguro - This style is nearly non-existent anymore. It's characterized by deeply tanned skin and bleached hair. It's popularity was short lived, mainly existing between late 1990 and early 2000. These girls wear massive amounts of light colored makeup and white lipstick. The clothing is brightly colored. They also wear a lot of random accessories.

Himegyaru - These gyaru gals dress as princesses. Their hair colors vary between blonde and black, and it's usually teased up to be big and puffy. Their clothing is VERY expensive.

Himekaji - A toned down version of himegyaru.

Kigurumin - Kigurumi are pajamas that resemble cute animals. A kigurumin is a gal who wears these.

Kogyaru - Gals who follow the typical gyaru styles, except they wear high school uniforms (sometimes even after they graduate). They are also called 'kogals'.

Manba - Manba gals have dark tans, and wear layers upon layers of neon colors. Their hair is long and combed back, and usually blonde or pastel. White makeup is caked on to contrast their dark skin.

Oyajigyaru - A gyaru who behaves more masculine than other gyaru. She uses rougher language and tends to drink beer.

Oneegyaru - This style is used by older gyaru. It gives them a more sophisticated and an older sister look (thus, onee, meaning older sister in Japanese).

Ogyaru - a gyaru who wears their clothes disheveled and doesn't take daily baths. (I don't have an explanation as to why girls choose to be this kind of gyaru. lol!)

Tsuyuome Gyaru - A lighter colored version of banba

Tsuyuome Manba - A darker colored version of manba. They also tend to wear massive amounts of accessories.


Tune in next week for Gyaru-o kei - The 'kei's of Japanese Fashion Volume 2!


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    • iviskei profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyou Capps 

      5 years ago from In your computer, stealing your internet.

      I agree! I look awful in all of these styles though. lol

      Thanks for reading!

    • Ayu Bi profile image


      5 years ago from Sorajima

      Himegyaru looks cute! :) But I doubt everyone would look good in that style though.

    • iviskei profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyou Capps 

      7 years ago from In your computer, stealing your internet.

      I really like the kogal style too~ But my reason for liking it isn't as good as yours. lol! I just think it's cute. xD

      Thanks for reading!

    • Rehana Stormme profile image

      Rehana Stormme 

      7 years ago

      Lol at your blurbs for ogyaru and oyajigyaru! I definitely fall under the kogal category. Wearing a school uniform symbolizes learning and I'm someone who is constantly learning and appreciating new things! I also like the lolitas. Great comprehensive hub, well done! ^^

    • iviskei profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyou Capps 

      7 years ago from In your computer, stealing your internet.

      I think himegyaru is cute, but I much prefer kogyaru. Uniforms are simple, easy, and cute to boot~

      Thanks again for reading Senpai~

    • Bubblegum Senpai profile image

      Nigel Kirk 

      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, CAN

      I've kind of preferred the Himegyaru fashion style. The clothes worn by Ganguro Girls was pretty neat (I still love bright colors) but the make up was a horrible contrast to the dark tan skin. Properly done Himegyaro looks kind of cute.

      Another highly informatice hub! Thanks!


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