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Tokyo fashion: culture and aspects of the pulling power of Japan

Tokyo fashion: culture and aspects of the pulling power of Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The old Japan still appeals to vast numbers of people because of the rich cultural legacy of this unique nation.  This applies to so many factors, from the cradle of high culture in Nara which was then followed by Kyoto and the religious influence of Zen Buddhism,  Kukai, and Nichiren. Other major areas apply to ceramics, martial arts, ukiyo-e, Japanese tea ceremony, the samurai, geisha, kimono, kanzashi, Japanese garden, haiku, kabuki, mysterious world of the ninja, ikebana, bonsai, and a host of other factors. 

Indeed, the uniqueness of Japan is best summed up within the Shinto faith because no other major nation maintained its indigenous faith within just one location. All other major nations throughout the world became swallowed up by Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.  Hinduism of course is the indigenous faith of India but Hindu civilization spread to distant shores, from Afghanistan to Indonesia, before the advent of Islam.

 

In modern times the pulling power of the old world still exists but new themes attract the international community and this applies to the younger generation and all generations.  Therefore, Japanese animation, kawaii culture, fashion, cosplay, maid café, computer games, gadgets, and a host of other areas, is drawing people close to Japan. 

 

Regionally also, Japan is a huge pulling power for music and many American singers and groups have fallen in love with the buzzing fashion of Tokyo and Osaka.  Not only this, but Korean pop (k-pop) music and dramas now understand the power of Japan because more and more k-pop groups and television series from South Korea want a slice of the “Japanese apple pie.”

European fashion companies also desire a slice of the “Japanese apple pie” and this can be seen by the strong showing of profits made in Japan.  The South Korean k-pop scene is now following the same logic and this will only enhance the international reputation of Japan.

Therefore, while the economic base of Japan may be stuttering and the ravages of nature continues to create havoc during this sad year in the land of the rising sun – the soft power still continues to grow despite all these negative upheavals.  Indeed, political leaders in Japan and many internal companies should be doing more to reach out globally because the younger generation in many nations is focused on aspects of modern Japan. 

Fashion wise Tokyo and Osaka are buzzing and not only these cities because Kobe fashion is extremely vibrant and Kobe in its own right is a stunning city and one which is creative.  However, internationally the focus is on Tokyo and Akihabara (anime, gadgets, otaku, and maid café), trendy Shibuya, independent Harajuku, high fashion of Aoyama, Omotesando, Ginza and Roppongi Hills, and the name of Shinjuku, are all internationally well-known.

Osaka also is a huge international market and places like Namba and Umeda are great places for fashion and Namba entertainment district never sleeps.  In truth, Osaka is overlooked too much because the Kansai region is one of the richest regions in the world.  Therefore, Namba fashion and Umeda needs to be sold more and Osaka needs to reach out to the international community because this city is so energetic and contrasts greatly with Tokyo in terms of thinking.

Twenty years ago the younger generation in China and South Korea were largely disenfranchised from Japanese street culture.  This no longer applies and Japan is a hip place to visit and the Chinese tourist market to Japan is growing and developing rapidly.  Therefore, more fashion companies in Japan are focused on developing their image in China and also attracting Chinese tourists.

The best of k-pop in South Korea are also focused on the huge music market in Japan and this is altering the music balance.  Fifty years ago to the last ten years the American music power dominated in Japan and the same applied to the film industry.  However, in recent times more and more young people in Japan are listening to j-pop and k-pop and the domestic film industry is seeing a growing share.

 

Of course American music is still powerful and the same applies to the film industry but companies like Warner Bros. Studios in America are increasing their sights in Japan by also focusing more on Japanese films.  Warner Bros. Studios is a fantastic company in this sense, because they understand that times are changing and the best of both worlds is being provided by this dynamic company.

Therefore, while j-pop and k-pop continues to grow within Japan for the younger generation both music styles are making inroads in other nations like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and others within Asia.  It must be remembered that in China, Japan, and South Korea, you have over 1.5 billion people and the growing middle class and upper class in China is leading to new thinking and new energy.

Japan will always attract people because of its rich legacy and Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, Koyasan, and so many other places, will always attract people because of high culture and the richness of Buddhism in the old world is internationally famous.  The Shinto faith also provides the real uniqueness of Japan and festivals throughout the year keeps this faith within the soul despite Japan being secular on the whole.

Turning back to fashion then this sector is so rich and diverse and each area within major cities like Tokyo and Osaka will have special zones which cater for certain styles. Also, exquisite international companies want a share of the “Japanese apple pie”

In a previous article about fashion I comment that “The beauty of Tokyo is that different areas contrast greatly and you have noticeable changes within fashion styles. Therefore, you will find greater individualism in Harajuku and Shibuya and both areas have a youthful image and are powerhouses.” 

“This contrasts greatly with Ginza and other fashionable areas like Ebisu and Aoyama which cater for young adults and all age ranges, with the emphasis being high income earners or people with wealth. Ginza is awash with international brands and Japanese brands where the focus is on elegance, sophistication and extreme quality.”

“Harajuku and Shibuya are not just about youthful fashion because both areas connect with Omotesando and within each area the mixture of fashion is amazing.  Therefore, you can visit independent companies like 6%DOKIDOKI in Harajuku and within a short distance you will find international and famous Japanese brands.”

“The fusion of fashion companies and the noticeable change within districts or within a short distance; increases the spice and the creativity of fashion in Tokyo.”

 “This all adds to the high energy of fashion in Tokyo and the spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI and Macaronic are a blessing.  Therefore, designers like Sebastian Masuda (6%DOKIDOKI) and Takashi Aoki (Macaronic) have no boundaries and instead their creativity and passion can be felt within the products that they provide”.

Sebastian Masuda

In the past Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo were famous for attracting broad followers and each individual is highly respected within the fashion world. Despite this, the fashion sector in Japan is extremely diverse and no individual designer or brand can dominate because the market is so complex.

The beauty of the fashion sector in Japan is its rich diversity and collectively all the influential designers compliment this aspect of the fashion scene.  Therefore, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Sebastian Masuda, Yohji Yamamoto, Takashi Aoki, Junya Watanabe, Tsumori Chisato, Yoshie Itabashi, Chiharu Kikuchi, and many other fantastic designers, are collectively creating a major buzz throughout the international fashion industry.

 

It matters not if your favorite company is A Bathing Ape, Comme des Garçons, N. Hoolywood, Grimoire, Samantha Thavasa, 6%DOKIDOKI, SmackyGlam, Diet Butcher Slim Slim, Hiroko Koshino, Rip Van Winkle, H. Naoto, Macaronic, Candy Stipper, or any of the multitudes of quality and imaginative fashion companies in Japan. The most important aspect is the creativity of each individual company and how competing styles help to highlight fashion in Japan.

6%DOKIDOKI and SmackyGlam use amazing creativity and color schemes within their designs and both companies have different thought patterns and client bases.  Yet, this diversity amidst creative fashion is attracting fashion lovers from all over the world.

The brainchild behind 6%DOKIDOKI is Sebastian Masuda and this extremely creative fashion designer and thinker, never remains static because the spirit of fashion and Harajuku run through his veins. He is blessed with excellent staff who enthuse not only kawaii culture and chaotic punk, but who have raw energy and a rare vibrancy and spirit. 

The color schemes and creativity of 6%DOKIDOKI is beyond boundaries and kawaii culture and their free thinking shines out in a world of fashion which can sometimes be constrained.  6%DOKIDOKI is a company which makes Harajuku tick and their fashion and accessories say much more than people could ever imagine.

Another amazing aspect of fashion in Tokyo is that you have so many districts in this city which have their own distinctive vibe. Therefore, while places like Aoyama, Ebisu, Ginza, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ueno, are more well-known and established areas, this is not the entire picture.  This applies to trendy smaller areas of Tokyo like Kichijoji, Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Naka-Meguro, and Shimo-Kitazawa, because these places highlight the plethora of areas to visit for fashion in Tokyo and this is rare for a major city because the options are enormous and extremely varied.

The image of Japan is changing in the eyes of the younger generation because the new Japan is trendy, creative, and provides rich new trends which have global appeal.  Kawaii culture is no longer stuck in Japan and cosplay, Japanese anime, new gadgets, fashion, computer games, maid café, and other areas are all adding up and leading to new dimensions.

At the same time, the mysterious Japan is still potent and appeals to all generations and this unique factor makes the land of the rising sun so fascinating. For some individuals it is all about kawaii culture and Japanese anime.  However, for others it is about the richness of Nara, Kyoto, Wakayama Castle, Koyasan, Japanese gardens, Buddhism, Japanese ceramics, kabuki, ukiyo-e and other high cultural aspects of Japan.

 

Obviously many individuals will enjoy both worlds and feel relaxed within the rich traditional culture of Japan and the changing aspects of the new nation which is constantly evolving because of new trends.

Therefore, the pulling power of Japan will continue to grow and k-pop groups and other international music styles will continue to focus on the “Japanese apple pie.” The same applies to the magnificent and stylish fashion scene because of amazing designers who focus on creativity and innovation.

Overall, Tokyo is amazing for fashion and cosplay, anime, maid café, kawaii culture, and a plethora of other trends, is leading to such a rich and vibrant culture.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/ 

http://www.smackyglam.com/

http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/tokyo/harajuku_fashion.htm (Harajuku – Tokyo)

http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5160.html  (Namba – Osaka) 

http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/tokyo/shibuya.htm (Shibuya – Tokyo)

http://candystripper.net/

http://www.macaronic.jp/

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://shibuyafashion.metrocity.nl/

http://www.photopassjapan.com/tokyo_-_shibuya/

http://www.warnerbros.co.jp/main/homepage/homepage.html (in Japanese)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Japan

 

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Japanese Fashion: buzzing with spirit and energy in Tokyo

Japanese Fashion: buzzing with spirit and energy in Tokyo

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

6%DOKIDOKI highlight the sheer vibrancy of Tokyo fashion

Japanese street fashion is extremely diverse and no single style could ever corner the market and within areas of Tokyo and Osaka, and other major cities, you will have areas which appeal to certain styles. Japan is also a huge market for exquisite global fashion and major companies vie alongside Japanese companies and individual outlets for a slice of the huge market.

The beauty of Tokyo is that different areas contrast greatly and you have noticeable changes within fashion styles. Therefore, you will find greater individualism in Harajuku and Shibuya and both areas have a youthful image and are powerhouses. 

This contrasts greatly with Ginza and other fashionable areas like Ebisu and Aoyama which cater for young adults and all age ranges, with the emphasis being high income earners or people with wealth. Ginza is awash with international brands and Japanese brands where the focus is on elegance, sophistication and extreme quality.

Obviously the price mechanism caters for the rich.  However, being Japan, then many Japanese ladies and men who may have less disposable income, will also save in order to buy luxury brands.

Harajuku and Shibuya are not just about youthful fashion because both areas connect with Omotesando and within each area the mixture of fashion is amazing.  Therefore, you can visit independent companies like 6%DOKIDOKI in Harajuku and within a short distance you will find international and famous Japanese brands.

The fusion of fashion companies and the noticeable change within districts or within a short distance; increases the spice and the creativity of fashion in Tokyo.

This all adds to the high energy of fashion in Tokyo and the spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI and Macaronic are a blessing.  Therefore, designers like Sebastian Masuda (6%DOKIDOKI) and Takashi Aoki (Macaronic) have no boundaries and instead their creativity and passion can be felt within the products that they provide.

Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto provided a strong image for Japanese fashion and their energy was noticeable in the 1980s and onwards.  However, the nature of fashion in Tokyo and throughout Japan is changeable and no single designer can express the exuberant fashion which is part and parcel of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Instead, the real beauty of Japanese fashion is the collective because Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Sebastian Masuda, Takashi Aoki, Junya Watanabe, Tsumori Chisato, Yoshie Itabashi, Chiharu Kikuchi, and many others; collectively add their own individual style and thinking.

It matters not if one fashion designer is hugely famous or not because fashion is not static and different fashion styles will cater for different markets.  Also, the raw energy of designers like Sebastian Masuda and Takashi Aoki merge their free thinking within the unique style of Harajuku.

Sebastian Masuda – 6%DOKIDOKI

6%DOKIDOKI is international in thinking and this company relates strongly with their clients in Harajuku and throughout the world.  The color schemes and designs of 6%DOKIDOKI and Macaronic sums up the creative nature of both companies. 

Fashion also means many things. This applies to a sense of belonging within certain fashion trends, mainstream, individualism, street credibility amongst the hip-hop inspired youth, and so forth.

Irrespective if your favorite fashion company is Comme des Garçons, A Bathing Ape, Uniqlo, 6%DOKIDOKI, SmackyGlam, Candy Stipper, Macaronic, or a multitude of other companies; the importance is that however large or small; or irrespective of stature or design style; each and every company enhances the spirit of Tokyo and Japanese fashion.

If fashion is high on your agenda then Tokyo and Osaka cater for fashion in abundance and the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo and Namba in Osaka are buzzing because of creativity and difference. 

The stunning color schemes of SmackyGlam and 6%DOKIDOKI are a million miles apart and this applies to thinking and client base.  However, the thinking behind the designs is done with utmost care and imagination and this vibrancy and difference is leading to such energy in Tokyo.

6%DOKIDOKI and the Mighty Harajuku Project

Japan is a Mecca for fashion and Tokyo is awash with creativity and style. The same also applies to Osaka which is also very energetic and this certainly applies to places like Namba.  Therefore, this sector will remain vibrant because of the diverse nature of Tokyo and Osaka and it is this diversity which is making the fashion scene tick.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/

http://www.smackyglam.com/

http://candystripper.net/

http://www.macaronic.jp/

http://tokyofashion.com/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Fukushima certainly hit the economy in northeast Japan, Kanto region, and other surrounding areas.  Companies in other parts of Japan were badly hit because many production lines were based in northeast Japan and blackouts and power shortages created untold problems.

Of course during the devastating events of March 11 and the following days all emphasis was on the tragic death toll and trying to find people who were covered by the mass of debris. 

The radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also created panic and many foreign nationals, companies, embassies, and so forth; relocated or left temporarily because of the fear factor and mass uncertainty which was generated by the nuclear issue.

Several months later and the nuclear crisis is still ongoing in Fukushima but at a much lower level because of containment policies. Therefore, the fear factor in Tokyo appears to be over and embassies which were closed have re-opened and normality is returning to most sectors.

Obviously, the situation in northeast Japan remains problematic because while the economic recovery is starting to impact on areas hit the most it will still take a long time to readjust.  Also, certain sectors, like the fisheries, remain to be hit hard and the nuclear issue in Fukushima will continue to hinder this sector and the same applies to areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

However, turning back to Tokyo then it is clear that this city is in full swing and the fashion sector is starting to pick up again. 

In late 2010 the economy of Japan was starting to show signs of a recovery and this was maintained in the first few months of 2011.  Therefore, strong sales in December, 2010, were announced at many luxury retailers throughout Tokyo and the fashion sector on a whole was optimistic about a positive 2011.

This was all cut short by the devastating events of March 11 but now optimism is returning to Tokyo and with the long hot summer on its way then a new vibrancy is also picking up. 

Companies like 6%DOKIDOKI took their fashion designs to North America and acted with compassion and care and Sebastian Masuda was the brainchild behind the Mighty Harajuku Project.  Therefore, 6%DOKIDOKI, and other fashion companies which supported the Mighty Harajuku Project; were raising funds for northeast Japan alongside helping local clients and showing an image of positivity despite the despair which was being felt at the time.

Today if you visit buzzing places in Tokyo like Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shinjuku, and other trendy areas, then it is clear that fashion companies are attracting shoppers.

In Lumine in Ikebukuro on the west side you have fantastic displays of elegant and exquisite fashion companies.  Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) and many other fashion boutiques have an array of luxury products whereby you have high quality fabrics alongside fantastic color schemes and designs.

Department stores which have been in the doldrums for a long time apart from the odd period have also announced strong April sales compared to the slump in March following the events of the March 11 earthquake.  Hankyu-Hanshin announced very positive sales and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya also stated that sales were up by just less than 3 per cent. 

Mitsukoshi-Isetan also stated that sales were slightly up and given the events of March 11 then for Mitsukoshi-Isetan this was remarkable. After all, Mitsukoshi-Isetan is more focused on the Tokyo region than Hankyu-Hanshin which is Kansai based.

However, department stores are still down when compared with results from last year but it is hoped that the summer period will see an upturn and given the events of this year then the figures could have been a lot worse.

Therefore, with the long hot summer on its way the fashion sector in Tokyo may see a rebound of fresh optimism because the doom and gloom of March and early April seems a long time ago. 

It is also hoped that tourists will start to flock to Tokyo and Japan once more because Tokyo is a Mecca for fashion and Osaka is also very vibrant.

The long hot summer is on its way and the feeling of hope and the freshness of new styles will hopefully lead to an upturn in sales.

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://www.dokidoki6.com/  (6%DOKIDOKI)

http://www.smackyglam.com/ (SmackyGlam)

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/ikebukuro/  (Lumine)

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo ladies: fashion in Ikebukuro and Shibuya

Tokyo ladies: fashion in Ikebukuro and Shibuya

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

Smacky Glam – Modern Tokyo Times Image

In a survey by Kanebo Cosmetics it was reported that Tokyo ladies use more make-up than any other major city in Asia.  Fashion is also high on the agenda and for the modern Tokyo lady image, style, and dressing fashionable is a way of life.

Tokyo is awash with fashion and Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and other areas in Tokyo, caters for fashion on a grand scale. 

This sector is extremely competitive and this applies to domestic companies and international companies.  Therefore, for Tokyo ladies they are spoilt for choice and “in places” and famous stores are competing for a slice of the enormous apple pie. 

In Ikebukuro the Lumine company is re-igniting fashion in this part of Tokyo and the west side of Ikebukuro is “breathing to a new fashion beat” because major restructuring is ongoing.  This applies to many fashion boutiques opening up in and around the train station.

Lumine is vibrant and full of energy and the décor is a wonder to behold and this is matched by an abundance of high quality stores which provide stylish clothes and other products.

The list of high quality companies in Lumine is too many to name but Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) caters for ladies who love exquisite fabrics and designs.  This fashion outlet is full of panache and is ultra modern and this suits the modern Tokyo lady to the full.

Also, it is clear that space, design of the layout and the show of the products on offer is part and parcel of this exquisite company.  Smacky Glam therefore utilizes the natural environment of the Lumine layout and creates an image of modernity, style, and elegance.

This is matched by extremely high quality clothing and delightful color schemes which suit the modern Tokyo lady.  Smacky Glam, and other high quality companies in Lumine in Ikebukuro, have created an atmosphere of luxury, modernity, and creativity.

Ikebukuro is connected to Shibuya by several train lines and Shibuya is famous for its energy and it is a Mecca for young adults.

Shibuya is always buzzing and latest fads pass through Shibuya and Harajuku. Also, just like all major fashion areas in Tokyo, you have a distinctive feeling in Shibuya and the raw energy is noticeable.

Shibuya fashion is not just about extremes it is about a mixture of fashion styles and just like life, it is never static but always looking for a new creative feel.  Shibuya 109 is a hub for fashion and keeps on drawing in the crowds. If you want the more daring side of Shibuya then boutiques like Candy is for you or you can feel the vibes of the Center Gai area or Koen Dori.

Smacky Glam is also located in Shibuya given the fresh outlook of this company and the appeal of fashion in Shibuya is its rich diversity.  Boutiques like Candy, Smacky Glam, and a host of other fabulous fashion companies, can be found and the richness of styles is amazing.

Lumine in Ikebukuro – Modern Tokyo Times Image

Even if you are not a fashion guru you can feel the rich and youthful energy of Shibuya, therefore, if you desire to feel “the teenage or young adult within you” then it will be revitalized in Shibuya.

It is also noticeable that “Shibuya girls” care deeply about hair style and the “in colors” are blonde, reddish brown, light brown and a mixture of other colors.

Ikebukuro and Shibuya are very near and by the Saikyo Line it takes between 8 and 10 minutes or you can travel by the Yamanote Line. 

Therefore, you can easily visit both Ikebukuro and Shibuya on the same day and appreciate both places for their unique differences. 

Shibuya and its energy

Local Tokyoites will clearly have their own special parts of Tokyo which appeals to them and the same applies to people who reside in Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama. 

If you are a tourist or if you are thinking about visiting Tokyo in the near future; then for fashion lovers you will find so many fantastic boutiques in Ikebukuro and Shibuya. 

A visit to Candy in Shibuya and Smacky Glam in both Ikebukuro and Shibuya is well worth it.  This applies to the contrasting styles and different thought patterns which have produced such stylish clothing.

The ying and yang of different fashion boutiques is refreshing the fashion industry in Tokyo.  In truth, you have so many exquisite boutiques in Ikebukuro and Shibuya, therefore, you will be spoilt for choice.

www.smackyglam.com –  Smacky Glam

http://sanyo-i.jp   –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

http://tokyofashion.com/candy-sister-fashion-shibuya/ 

http://www.fashion-j.com/E/trend/201010.html  (3rd article from the top shows some images of Lumine in Ikebukuro.)

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Japan

 

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