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Sunday May 3, 2015

Yukari (Yuge)

minato, tokyo
SPRING 2015, girls
Kjeld Duits


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I noticed from comments on Facebook about these photos of Yuge that some people unfamiliar with aspects of Japanese pop culture seemingly are thrown off by how Yuge has masterfully combined different aspects of modern Japanese pop culture with the traditional Japanese art of Kinbaku (rope tying).

Culture is a language, and when you are unfamiliar with the vocabulary in a language you are very likely to misunderstand what is being said. You must first know the words in order to understand the message.

Yuge is a Japanese designer and has managed to synthesize this outfit by combining unrelated elements from a wide variety of sources in common everyday Japanese culture, modern Japanese street fashion, anime, manga, and even traditional Japanese arts.

Masks are very common in daily life in Japan. They are used by people when they have a cold, so they won’t give it on to others. In Japan, it shows consideration and respect for others.

Some of the clothes Yuge is wearing here are from street fashion trends such as fairy kei.

Many Japanese hair accessories are inspired by manga and anime. I didn’t ask Yuge why she choose the rabbit ears. She may even have chosen them without being consciously aware of how and when she was influenced by a certain input.

The traditional Japanese art of Kinbaku (rope-tying) has a long history going back to Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868). Whereas pain might play a more important role in Western style rope tying, aesthetics play a very important role in Kinbaku.

If you can only see rope tying from the non-Japanese perspective, you will completely misunderstand what is being said in this picture.

If you are familiar with the sources, you realize that Yuge has done an amazing job here. If you are not, it is just weird and mystifying.

So, if you feel mystified or confused by these photos (and even many Japanese themselves will be), realize you still have to learn a lot about Japanese traditional and pop culture. I hope you’ll see that as a challenge to learn more!

Kjeld Duits About the Photographer

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent photos by Kjeld Duits:

Japanese fashionJapanese fashionJapanese fashionJapanese fashionJapanese fashionJapanese fashion

Comment (日本語もOK)

her head accessoire reminds of a very fashionable moth. it goes nice with the fuzzy shoes. what a cute look.^^

May 3, 2015 (2702 days ago)

@Lisa: “A very fashionable moth” — I like that!

Kjeld Duits (photographer)
May 3, 2015 (2702 days ago)

What an amazing designer! *u * I would buy from her collection!

May 3, 2015 (2702 days ago)

@Yoel: I’m sure that will make Yuge very happy.

Kjeld Duits (photographer)
May 3, 2015 (2702 days ago)

I really like pale color combos using cream, ivory, vanilla, pastels and champagne beiges. I think between her wardrobe, hair, and makeup, she’s incorporated it all. Curious what, if any, lip color she’s wearing. On a side note, Kinbaku = Shibari?

Ms. Jody
May 16, 2015 (2689 days ago)

@Ms. Jody: Although the term Shibari is used in Japan, I think _ Kinbaku_ is more common. While outside Japan, most people use Shibari.

Kjeld Duits (photographer)
May 16, 2015 (2688 days ago)

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