Japanese fashion subcultures have always been very… eccentric and peculiar. I haven’t quite seen fashion styles as unique and as bizarre as the ones from Japan and I haven’t seen a country and its people as open (well, maybe not the whole country but at least a good portion of it) and as embracing as them either. That is a very good thing, of course, as it gives individuals the freedom to truly express themselves,
The fashion style you are going to read is not quite the same as the others we’ve written on this blog. The others were obviously uncanny in their own way but, this particular fashion is just bizarre on a whole new level.
If you are an enthusiast of the Japanese culture, you might have seen them. And I want to know, what did you think of them at first? Leave a comment! But for now, let’s talk about the Yamanba.
What is Yamanba?
The term itself originated from the Japanese word, “Yama-uba,” which is a mountain hag from Japanese folklore. Yama-uba is a character that is often seen in Japanese art, literature, and even pop culture. As described, Yama-uba is an old, unkept, mountain hags that eat children. So it is safe to say that instead of the term being directly related to fashion, it really started out as an insult. But that didn’t really stop these individuals from embracing it and just like all other uncanny Japanese fashion styles, Yamanba thrived.
Yamanba was a relatively small subculture and is believed to only have members in the numbered 100s in the entirety of Japan. That is a small community if you compare it to others who had a few hundred thousand members under their name. But despite being small in numbers, their reputation, locally and internationally, rivaled the other more popular fashion subcultures.
Yamanba is a style developed from its parent subculture, the Ganguro and to describe the Yamanba fashion in one word, it would extremist. Just imagine a Ganguro, now multiply her sense of fashion a hundred times more. That’s the Yamanba. But despite being a popular fashion style, Ganguro and its other alternatives, including the Yamanba, didn’t really sit that well with the public. Most of the time, they are often described as “bad girls” and is synonymous with the words “rough” and “easy.” People would judge the girls, saying that they are “poorly educated young girls who have no common sense.” It’s pretty harsh, I must say. But that is a reason to applaud these young girls who are interested in these fashion and lifestyle despite being ridiculed by the public opinion.
I do think that all Japanese fashion subcultures just deserve a big round of applause. You’ll probably never see subcultures as varied, as uncanny, as peculiar as those from Japan. And mind you, these are not “just for fashion” or “for the pretty dresses and makeup.” No. Others are adapted to these subcultures and other than just for the sake of fashion, these are actually their lifestyle.
The Yamanba Look
Yamanba is Ganguro look, notched up a few (or maybe a few more) levels higher. Just to give you an overall concept, Ganguro fashion requires the girls to tan their skin, bleach their hair and has theatrics for dramatic makeup. For Yamanba, all that, but extreme.
The Yamanba tans their skin a few shades darker than Ganguro, with skintones now ranging a very dark drown or even going as far as bordering the black tone. In contrast to their extremely dark tan, they usually put on a white lipstick and light and pastel eyeshadows.
Another feature of the Yamanba makeup is the eyeliner and drawing and shaping the eyes for a more droopy and puppy look. To accentuate the eyes even more, they would swipe in an extra pigmented white shadow under their lower lashline.
Theatrical makeup is not complete without the dramatic fake lashes and Yamanba puts that into a different level. To put an emphasis on the eyes and guise oneself to have wider, puppy-like eyes, Yamanba would put on humungous fake lashes. These types are so huge and overly long that sometimes, it would rest just above the cheekbones.
When it comes to contour, Yamanba really puts the exagge in exaggerated. Unlike the normal and mainstream makeup trend, wherein the contour is soft brown against fair or medium-toned skin, Yamanba contour is looking more like face paint rather than proper contouring. They use a very pigmented white to contour to the usual areas of the face such as the T-zone, the nose line, and the jawline and I’m telling you, there’s not much blending in these contoured areas (or maybe no blending at all.)
Their outfits are a total contrast to their tanned skin since Yamanba prefers to go all out neon or dress in very light colors of dresses, shorts and blouses.
These girls all have their reason to choosing to wear the Yamanba style. No matter how bizarre and uncanny the fashion style might be, it is still a way for these individuals to express themselves. In fact, even knowing that they will shunned away in public but still choosing to dress this specific way is a very brave thing to do.
What do you think? Does the Yamanba fashion style pique your interest? Let us know!