JAPAN AMBASSADORS OF CUTE: SCHOOLGIRL, LOLITA, HARAJUKU STYLE MODELS.
Quite a few major news outlets have reported on the Three Cute Ambassadors. As I previously wrote, the three young women were named cultural envoys by the government, with a mission to spread the word on cute, cool Japan.
The three young women hosted a press conference at Japan’s Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on March 12. “Every female from small girls to grandmothers loves pretty clothes,” said nurse and part-time model Misako Aoki, representative of Gothic Lolita (above right). “I think I can continue to dress like this all my life. Age has nothing to do with it.”
Some of the articles comment that the Japanese government recognizes the appeal of “Cool Japan” – alternative fashion, J-pop music, manga, anime – and are leveraging this “soft power” to reach out and promote the nation’s interests.
My thoughts are more fashion-centric…
† Yu Kimura, the “Harajuku new style” envoy (above), is a little hard to pin down. The pastels, polka dots, and pink-stained hair suggest Fairy Kei to me. Why do you think the government chose “Harajuku style” as one of the representatives?
† Misako Aoki, the Lolita envoy, has only been pictured in Sweet Lolita clothing. Do you think she will dress in Gosurori as well – or, as the Death Note author suggests, would that render her “less approachable”?
† Shizuka Fujiokai, the Schoolgirl envoy, is the most jarring choice to me because the loose-socked uniformed look hasn’t been considered a fashion statement since the 1990s. Fujiokai, the clothing coordinator for a school-uniform store, says “I was surprised to meet young ladies in Barcelona wearing school uniforms. They told me that wearing school uniforms expresses the freedom of Japan.”
My head spins a little. Sure, Japanese schoolgirls are extraordinarily creative within the constraints of their uniforms… but having attended a private school, “freedom” isn’t the first word that pops up in my mind. And I can imagine girls in Barcelona enjoying Gothic Lolita or Visual Kei fashion… but schoolgirl (as anything other than cosplay)? Can anyone make sense of the ambassador’s statement?
In contrast, last year’s official appointment of Doraemon as “anime ambassador” makes perfect sense to me. More power to earless cats!
Song of the Day #68: Switchblade Strawberry – Since Yesterday