Monday, June 9, 2014

Gal history

I thought it was time to find out where the gyaru style actually comes from! I may be a little bit of a nerd, but I thought I might understand it better and get better at being gal if I knew what it is all about exactly, as up until now I knew nothing more than the Egg slogan "Get wild and be sexy!"

I found really interesting (but verrry long) articles about the rise of galism: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. As they take quite a long time to read, but I wanted to read them anyways I'll give you a shorter summary version. You can look for more details in the liks ^^


Japan is known for having different street cultures that constantly success each other as being the new dominant one, while the old culture disappears. This way they kind of present the way of thinking in Japan of that period. The funny thing is that the Gyaru culture came just like the others, but stayed and evolved. It all started with the Kogyaru(1991): school girls with brown hair, short schoolgirl skirts, and slightly tanned skin clutching European luxury bags and wearing Burberry scarves and loose socks. They were from well to do families and most often attended private schools. The Kogyaru started out as being the girlfriends of the party organisers and bad boys. These gals were seen as party girls and lust objects (partly because of their shortened school uniform skirts). In this time it was even not uncommon for older men to come up to them on the streets to ask them to go on dates or have sex with them for money O.o The word for this was: enjo kōsai (compensated dating). What's most wrong about this, I think, is that the Kogals were mostly between 14 and 18 years old! There were probably actually very little gals who agreed on enjo kōsai, though the media tried to make it look like they were. Most of the girls who did do so were outsiders and loners. Not at all the gals who were supposed to need the money to buy their clothes, make-up and nails!

Gyaru becoming a fashion market

At about 1993 the Shibuya 109 complex was failing really bad, which is hard to believe now. The sales numbers were very low and it was almost going bankrupt. That's when the Kogyaru and their older sisters the Paragyaru (graduated party gals) discovered the brand MeJane, LoveBoat and ESPERANZA. These store all focussed on a summery, sexy style with f.e. shirts showing the bellybutton ^^ After this more kogal brand got in this building and it became the predecessor of today's gyaru shopping heaven! One of the reasons of success was the new shopping concept of the charisma shop staff, who paid a lot of personal attention to the customers and were extremely dedicated to their shops and styles. They have their own blogs and many gals look at them a lot to get inspiration. Meeting these gals is for some a dream come true <3 Also as these gals were the first kogals, they were the inspiring force behind the stores' clothes, letting them decide. After 1995 Kogyaru became mainstream, making way for the purikura machines as we now know them, special gal slang and gal magazines!

Gyaru Media

Gyaru had by now taken over Shibuya, with even middle schoolers dressing Kogyaru. This was when the first special gyaru magazines were started: Toky Street News, Cawaii! and everyone's favorite Egg \(^o^)/ Though Egg started as a magazine for men interested in the not-so-wholesome 20-something party girls at clubs and on the streets of Shibuya, the founders quickly realised the real Wild&Sexy girls were the Kogyaru. They featured them doing derpy stuff and being up to no good, in a very real and private manner not as if it were especially for the sake of the magazine.

The rise of Ganguro

By 1997 a split occurred in the Kogyaru style, which was a result of gals of lesser neighbourhoods joining the style. They tanned darker and dyed their hair in silvery streaks (messhu). They took over the Shibuya streets, while the original Kogyaru fanned out to f.e. Ikebukuro. These new gals had previously been part of the manly Yankii style for motorriders and felt attracted to the exaggerated female, cute and sexy style of the Kogyarus and ended up merging the two cultures. With their darker skin and streaked hair, they started wearing colour contacts in blue and green and enormous platform boots. With this the style started to move away from the sexy and uke (attractive to boys) and became anti-uke to impress the other gals instead of boyfriends. This many girls hanging out in Shibuya of course attracted teen guys as well: gyaru-o. They dressed like more manly versions of the girls in order to hit on them XD 

Now these gals started tanning to unhealthy unnatural shades of brown, making the normal gyaru make-up invisible and thus creating the need for a new make-up style: white or otherwise bright make-up, thus creating a “panda”-like reversal of skin tone and highlights. Girls also started attaching fake eyelashes to draw more attention to the eyes. This facial look was then added to lightly-colored orange or silver hair, thus suggesting an almost photographic negative of the normal face.


Out of the Ganguro later a new and even further out style was created called Yamamba (mountain witch) with pitch black faces, Halloween white make-up, face stickers, and rainbow-colored stringy hair and a white nose-stripe. Of course the entire Japanese media went completely insane over the ganguro and yamamba. The funny thing is that this was actually their goal, to make people scared or look extreme ^^ This was a big step in Japan finding pride in its own fashion and overcoming the inferiority complex towards style originators overseas. The ganguro gals were getting exactly what they wanted: their own society, values, and fashions in which they were celebrated and rewarded.

New Gyaru

As the streets of Shibuya were full of gyaru in the mid-1990s it became a meeting ground for the middle-school drop-outs and runaways. A new word developed o-gyaru (汚ギャル)— o is the on-yomi for “dirty” — to describe the ganguro types who partied all night, lived on the streets, used magic marker to paint on their eyebrows, and generally did not bathe, brush their teet, or change their underwear. They were not with many, but were very noticable ;) This new Shibuyastyle inspired less imitation and in just a few years, the gyaru style had become an extreme and non-aesthetically pleasing costume with which “normal” girls did not want to associate themselves with, which almost caused the end of the gyaru style! The next generation of gyaru work really hard though to get the subculture back in wider society. Gyaru style experienced an unexpected resurgence in the mid-2000s thanks to a pretty “white” style taking over pop culture. From this surge most of the styles we know now come! 

Unfortunately this is were the articles stop, as there were suppossed to be four, but the fourth article was never written T^T. I tried to look it up though and this is what I found:

The Hime gyaru style was originated by girls who really liked the Lolita fashion, but decided to make it a bit more sexy and more modern. The Ane gyaru came from the girls from the lower class neighbourhoods, who used to be in biker gangs and wanted to be more sexy and girly and also attract guys. The B-gals were inspired by the American hiphop culture and made it their own mixing it with gyaru. Onee-gyaru were the older gals who kind of went back to the Paragyaru look, but made it more grown up. Manba and Banba became the more toned down versions of the ganguro look. Agejo came from the original high-class Kogyaru, who were now older and created a very glamorous and sexy style. Most other styles were like B-gal Japanese interpretations of Americanor European substyles (f.e. goshikku- gothic).


I hope you liked reading this! I am sorry for the post being this long, but it is quite a lot of history and this is already a verry short version ^^

Much Love!


  1. Yeah I was browsing thought the article. Interesting. Thanks for shortening it!
    Makes me want to experience more Gyaru!

  2. o-gyaru omg i never knew....Dx