Ganguro girls in Shinjuku – Tokyo

Ganguro girls in Shinjuku - Tokyo
My most popular photo on, how embarrassing is that?
You don’t see Ganguro girls any more but I always appreciated the rebellious youth culture they represented, something that I find is missing completely in Japan nowadays, and everywhere else for that matter; I guess the youngsters just cannot get away from their phones and social media and quietly get onto the corporate ladder. How stupid is that? If I had the chance again, I would know to make the best of those years!

I took this picture in 1999 on one of those Sundays when Shinjuku is closed off for traffic and all kinds of people come out to perform or sell their wares until the police show up and make them disappear in a wink. The girls in the photo are ‘Ganguro’ (ガングロ) which either stems from ganguro (顔黒, blackface) or from the phrase gangankuro (ガンガン黒, exceptionally dark), depending on who you ask. A deep tan, bleached or dyed hair, false eyelashes, dark makeup, platform shoes and brightly-colored outfits complete the ganguro look. However, the Louis Vuitton bags suggest a kogal influence (or whatever.) 🙂

  • Camera: PENTAX MZ-3
  • ISO: 400
2 comments on “Ganguro girls in Shinjuku – Tokyo
  1. Ian Bramham says:

    Hi Hans – I read your follow-up photo to this shot. It’s a fascinating photo and story and I’d love to visit Japan one day.

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