Banchō (fashion and attitude): properly only refers to the leader of a boy gang. The term’s mostly vestigial at this point.

Bosozoku: (fashion) youth who go in for a very motorcycle-racer image.

Cosplayers: (fashion) much like America, pop-culture cosplayers generally wear their costumes at events. Sometimes you can find cosplayers in Harajuku (between Shinjuku and Shibuya), especially near Yoyogi park.

Dekora: (fashion) bright colors and “kawaii” accessories – hair clips, character pins and pendants, plush dangling accessories, “candy” jewelry, and so on.

Dekotora: (automotive) “pimp my semi” as a subculture.

Fairy Kei: (fashion) focused on 80’s pastel “cute” things like My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, and the Care Bears.

Freeter/furīta: (situational) unemployed/unemployed/intentionally non-career workers. More a “fall through” than a true subculture, but some – especially Changelings – may fall into or choose the freeter life.

Gothic Lolita: (fashion) darkly elegant fashion, often with petticoats, lace, and morbid iconography (coffin purses, etc). Sort of a combination of baby-doll fashion with European/American fancy goth.

Gyaru: (fashion) hyper-trendy girly glam, with tans and surfer girl hair as the consistent feature. Bound to find them in Shibuya, thanks to all the fashion stores.

Gyaruo: (fashion) male equivalent of gyaru, with subtypes (military, rocker, biker, surfer, probably another three as I typed this)

Hipster: yes, even Japan has hipsters.

Hostess/Hosuto: (fashion) gaudy fashions, big hair and labels. Tragically hip may apply.

Kogal: (fashion) gyaru in high school, so in the school uniform most of the time.

Mori Kei: (fashion) imagine romanticised fairy tale forest looks. This is that.

Otaku: (interests) someone with an obsessive level of interest in a subject, often anime or manga but can be other subjects. Considered insulting (though this is changing as more self-identify with the term, similar to geek in the USA)

Punk Lolita: (fashion) mostly punk with some pastels and maybe ribbons added.

Reki-jo: (interests) female history buffs. Serious history buffs. To the tune of $725 million USD per year of economic activity. Considered a form of otaku.

Rockabilly: (fashion) there’s actually an association of people who dress like 50’s greasers (as opposed to the US where it’s more crossover with swing and zoot suits). The Tokyo Rockabilly Club meets in Yoyogi park on Sundays.

Street Fashion: (fashion) more of a mashup of cosmopolitan streetwear than anything; highly individualistic.

Sukeban: (fashion and attitude) properly only references the leader of a girl gang, the same style and attitude are mirrored by the other delinquent girls in the gang. They generally go for dyed and/or permed hair, modified school uniforms (colored socks, longer skirts, rolled sleeves). They’re purported to be involved in petty crimes and violence, but if arrested there’s a tendency to charge them with “pre-delinquency” instead of actual crimes.

Sweet Lolita: (fashion) pastels (mostly pinks), whites, and big frilly dresses (similar to baby-doll fashion)

Visual Kei: (fashion) a glam and rock/punk/pop mashup.

Wa Lolita: (fashion) classic Japanese fashions – kimono outside of the typical ceremonies, etc.

Yamamba: (fashion) dark tans, extreme makeup around the eyes, and very bright clothing. This subculture is fading into nearly complete obscurity.

Yanki: (fashion) youths who try to put forth a yakuza-like image and attitude. Trashy clothes, smoking, and rude and crude.


The Past Lost So That the Future May be Found vulpin