Japan for many years has been known for its advancement in technology and some bizarre fashion not everyone can pull. Harajuku is a district in Japan that is known for its outrageous fashion. The Harajuku women are known for their street style, their outfits filled with a burst of colors, and fashion sense that has defined Japan lately.
Though Harajuku fashion carries an expression of Kawaii or cute it also represents freedom. The pinks and pastels, catchy accessories, frills, and a lot of cute elements make Harajuku fashion appear sweet and optimistic.
But there is a new trend going around Japan that might seem kawaii when you first notice it but as you get to know the style a little better, you’ll know how dark the fashion really is.
Yami-Kawaii is the latest trend in Japan that has received a lot of attention and followers.
At first glance, Yami-Kawaii is like any other Harajuku Kawaii trend. It also uses the sweet pastel colors and accessories that define Japanese street style.
But what’s different about this style is underneath all that kawaii is a hidden message that is relatable to a lot of Japanese teenagers. Yami-Kawaii reflects the style of depressed people.
Japan has a relatively high suicide rate compared to other countries and it is one of the leading causes of death for people aged 20-44. Mental health in Japan is still an issue that is taken as taboo and if a person suffers from any type of mental illness and tries to seek help, it is rather considered a weakness.
Yami-Kawaii in Japanese has a very deep and dark meaning. ‘Yami’ in Japanese means darkness and ‘Kawaii’ is cute, and when you combine the two words it becomes “Yami-Kawaii” or “Dark Cute” or “Sick Cute”.
This fashion has an element of darkness in it that deals with depression and suicidal thoughts, a relatively less explored genre in fashion. But even in darkness, you can find cuteness and that is why Yami-Kawaii is tolerable.
Thus, the mismatch between how cute it looks and the anti-social message it conveys is what makes it so popular amongst the new generation.
Yami-Kawaii is represented by a character named Menhera-Chan. This character was created by an artist named Bisuko Ezaki. He is the person behind turning the popularity of Yami-Kawaii into a business and trend that is relatable to hundreds of Japanese teenagers.
Menhera actually means a person who needs mental health care and naming a cartoon character after something so unorthodox was a move of bravery for Bisuko who used to draw Menhera-chan as an escape from reality.
But today, seeing his creation turning from a simple drawing to something that represents a whole trend as well as something that so many people relate to is unbelievable.
Yami-Kawaii Clothes, Accessories and Makeup.
Soft pinks and pastels mixed with darkness are what Yami-Kawaii is. Even though the colors are easy to eyes and kawaii (cute) the messages that are printed on the clothes like “I want to die,” “Kill you” etc make it darker.
And the accessories that are used are also very unconventional. A rope around the neck, cute chokers with pointy thrones, a syringe with dripping blood necklace, etc are the types of accessories people wear to be Yami-Kawaii.
The makeup people opt to be Yami-Kawaii screams Japanese fashion the moment you see it. The same pastel pinks and purples, a lot of glitters. A very minimal use of eye-liners and the maximum utilization of the eye-shadows and highlighters.
But again the makeup comes with a twist. Along with the bright pastels, people draw blood either around the neck, hands, or the face, to show what Yami-Kawaii represents.
Yami-Kawaii is not just a simple street style fashion. It is rather a coping mechanism for complex emotions. In today’s world, fashion represents so much more than just the clothes you wear.
It’s about being yourself, accepting yourself and reflecting on yourself through the clothes and accessories you wear. And Yami-Kawaii is a perfect representation of the modern day fashion statement.