Manba Returns?!

I think by now, most of you have seen this from EGG’s May issue;

I was intrigued to see it, and read it – especially with a title such as ‘Manba Returns!!‘ We all know Manba is a hit-or-miss topic when it comes to Gal – some say it is out, others say it isn’t. Well I decided that I was going to translate this for those who can’t read Japanese – and as far as I know there isn’t an English source for it at the moment.

So what does it say?

When I/You say ‘Manba’ it’s probably this person.
[meaning this person comes to mind]

“Ka~tan is a charisma Manba who began the 2nd Manba movement.
Now she is a reader model on one magazine and has started a work clothes brand ‘kon-burenda’.

Manba Transformation~

“The finished look, all 5 of them applied too much foundation.
They clearly have a border between their face and neck (lol)”
“Mami having her foundation applied by Ka~tan. 
Mami was really nervous in front of her.”

“She couldn’t apply concealer straight onto the face as the foundation was so dark. Therefore she applied it with a brush.”

“I liked that person (referring to Ka~tan), Manya said.”
[showing an old issue of EGG with a feature on Ka~tan]

“The last weapon is FACE STICKER DECO!
[They emphasis how great and cute it is for creating a winning look]

“Their hair didn’t have much power with their normal style.
Therefore hair extensions/decorations from CARRY were put on.”
The desired Manba project finally started!
Going to change to the strongest Manba!


” ‘Let’s do Manba project!’
Word started of this project through E.GIRLS. To tell you the truth they were inspired by issues of EGG that they had read when Manba was popular – these 5 girls wanted to try Manba (lol).
In fact, they were so eager to do the project that they even made a proposal (project paper) and handed it in directly (lol).
Anyway, let’s be Manba~

So they met up, but they weren’t sure how to be Manba as they weren’t around during that time (Kanako was around in that generation?? lol).
To know the special secret (essence) of Manba they invited a girl who is Manba.
Founder of Manba religion: Ka~tan sama ☆☆

She graduated from Manba 6 years ago and [today] there are no signs of Manba on her. [you can’t notice she used to be Manba]. However her sense of Manba may be revived [she may became excited with the ex-soul of Manba when she remembered].

She picked up a CANMAKE white concealer (for eyes) and black foundation and began her lecture. 

The 5 girls were confused about using [very] black foundation and massive eye make-up, but they also introduced their own way by themselves and created a new generation of Manba (Neo-Manba), which was a combination of old and new styles.” 

Finally, from left to right:
Gugun, Pink Manya, Kawabatan, Mamin, Mira (Daiso?)
[The kanji on the end of some of their names means old woman/hag/bitch]

There you have it! Unfortunately this is more of a special interest piece (likely due to EGG’s recent anniversary) and not a proper revival of Manba. But who knows? Maybe people will be inspired by these girls and will feel the call of Manba once again ;D

Special thanks go to my Japanese friend who helped me with the parts I got stuck on! This is not a literal translation, otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense. I translated it into English that made more sense but still kept the original meaning.

Gyaru gaki….

Here’s an interesting article about ‘Gyaru’ clothing for children.

If we look at the strong revenues of Shibuya 109 and the rise of ex-“Popteen” model Tsubasa Masuwaka, it seems gyaru fashion has pretty much taken over mainstream Japanese fashion. The male equivalent of gyaru is the yankii who have moved on from the extremes of bosozoku jump suits to a slightly more upscale style they call Oniikei (“big brother style”).
Gyaru and yankii tend to marry each other, and they also tend to get married much earlier than the rest of the population. Evidence exhibit A: Tsubasa Masuwaka got knocked up and married Naoki Umeda of Oniikei magazine “Men’s Egg” back in December 2007 when she was 22.
gyaru gaki

If all goes well, your children will be this cool.

So when young gyaru and yankii have children, the only logical thing for them to do is to dress them in the exact same style. Think about it: if upper middle class French mothers are putting their three year-olds in Petit Bateau nautical sweaters, why shouldn’t kyabajo hostess‘ four-year old daughters also wear a black chefon mini-skirt?

This concept has led to the “gyaru gaki” (gyaru brat) phenomenon, where a good portion of Japan’s young children now look like they are about to beat up the kindergarten teacher for catching them with cigarettes. Oniikei magazine “Men’s Knuckle” even does street snaps of the toddlers to show parents the latest kids fashions.
So now we know turning our children on to the joys of extreme taste is in vogue, we have to ask: Where can we buy such glamorous items for my kids?
Start with Coco Market, a site for “kids only.” This is the best place for child-sized leopard print pumps and sweaters with human skull patterns. Angel Kiss is also a good place for skull-motifs. Yankii parents evidently think it is very important to reinforce the concept of mortality to their offspring.
Dream Wing meanwhile has all the leopard print baby sleepers you will ever need. If all goes well, your daughters will end up looking like this.
Yes, the world is so topsy-turvy that it will be kids no doubt that embarrass their parents by not dressing “cool” enough. The only way gyaru gaki will have to rebel in the future is by sneaking off to piano lessons when they are supposed to hit the tanning salon.
I don’t know about you guys, but the author seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Gal. The whole article makes way too many generalisations, assumptions and even manages to discriminate against Gyaru. I would be surprised if he had done much research at all. Instead it seems as though he has googled some websites, seen a few Gals in Shibuya and picked on Tsu-chan’s shotgun wedding (he forgets to mention they were a couple for several years beforehand) – why does he also keep picking on Tsubasa (only one he knows probably)? Just because you have one or two examples doesn’t mean you can generalise D:

He also forgets to mention that these items of clothing are nothing different to what you can find/might buy your children in the U.S. or Europe. I personally wouldn’t buy the MA*RS-esque outfit (see top image) for my non-existent child but the rest seem to be cute, casual and fashionable.
What do you think?
Would you buy these clothes for your children?

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A look into Host Clubs…

My love of photography brought me across this rather interesting exhibition by Manabu Numata. Living in Tokyo, Manabu decided to create a series based on Host Clubs. He spent 5 years taking the 『指名あり』series, which was then featured in a Shinjuku gallery. Manabu also recently did an interview about Host Clubs with CNNGo. As most of you will already know, Hosts and Host Clubs are very much relevant to Gyaru culture in Japan, and Manabu’s interview mentions Gyaru so I thought I would post the relevant pieces here.

CNNGo: Host clubs are mostly located in districts with big ‘mizu shobai’ red-light areas. Host clubs have this image in the media of being for ‘rich housewives,’ but their main customers are girls who work in the sex industry, right?
Numata: Yes, almost all of the customers are from the mizu shobai industry. There are a few establishments that cater to older women, but since the mainstream places are in red-light areas, they’ve generally moved towards being for young customers who are kyabajo, hostesses and fuzokujo sex workers. There are almost no older customers.
CNNGo: Why do you think those customers go to host clubs?
Numata: They want someone to talk to, I guess. And I think a lot of them are not psychologically stable. They are also always having to serve men, so they want the reverse. I guess it balances it out (laughs). And they also have a lot more money than normal girls.
CNNGo: Are the hosts on good terms with each other?
Numata: They are very competitive. There is of course a hierarchy, and the more you ‘sell,’ the higher you go on the ladder. In the pictures, the ‘number one’ guy is always in the front middle. In a lot of cases, the older guys would make the younger new guys do something crazy in the pics.
CNNGo: What is the average background of a host?
Numata: They are different types, but there are a lot of guys who want to be attractive to women. Also a lot of ex-yankii who are like, oh my sempai is in Tokyo so I will follow him there. Maybe about half are from the countryside, and I found that they tend to stick out a lot more.Most of the top guys at the clubs are 26, 27. After that they retire and don’t show up in the club much but work behind the scenes.
CNNGo: What do they do after they work as hosts?
Numata: The top guys are very smart. They earn money and then figure out how to invest it.For example, there was a host who owns a bunch of clubs, and he wanted to start a business. He had a lot of customers, and realized they always have out big flowers when it’s a host’s birthday. But there were no cool flowers with good design. So he made a company that makes really well-designed flower arrangements, and he makes his customers buy from that place when it’s his birthday. And his flowers always look much better than everyone else’s, and from that he gets a lot of promotion.
CNNGo: Where does that specific host style come from — with the feathered hair, dark skin, etc.?
Numata: I think they are imitating popular male idols like those from Johnny’s Jimusho. There is a lot of crossover with gyaru-o style. And I think they try to match their customers’ style which is very gyaru. When I started taking pictures though, the hosts didn’t look very gyaru-o. They just wore suits and didn’t have that crazy feathered hair. There are still a lot of old-school hosts who look like enka singers. The guys before the gyaru-o came in looked like Takuya Kimura. The mainstream hosts now don’t really have that fake tanned skin anymore though. It depends on the place, but there are many guys who look like Visual-kei bands too.
CNNGo: What makes the top hosts so good at their jobs?
Numata: They are not always the best-looking guys. But they are just very serious about listening to and dealing with customers. I think if they worked as salarymen in a sales position, they would be equally good at their jobs.
CNNGo: What do you think is the thing most misunderstood about hosts?
Numata: They aren’t just all philandering good-for-nothings. They are very serious and do their jobs well. The guys who sell have their own ‘know-how’ which they have researched — everything from the way they speak to their hair to their fashion. They have put in a huge effort. I think it’s too bad if people just think of them as, “You guys are doing something bad.”

I personally think that Manabu raised some good points, but I thought it was a little harsh to say that the girls who visit Host Clubs are ‘not psychologically stable‘. That may be true to some or even the majority of customers, but I have friends who have visited quite a few Host Bars and they are perfectly stable, they just enjoy relaxing and having fun with a guy who doesn’t have a hidden agenda, even if he is paid to do it.

With that said, a lot of the women who go regularly obviously become emotionally attached and it makes me sad that they feel the need to pay for the attention they want.
 
I also found it interesting that he didn’t notice that much influence from Gyaru-o anymore – obviously though this is only related to the clubs he visited in Tokyo. I was also a little disappointed to hear that some Hosts are going for the Visual-Kei look?! I’ve seen a few but they weren’t heavily influenced, I hope it doesn’t become a trend.
 

I think I could be persuaded to visit a Host Bar (by friends), for fun – if they were paying haha.

What do you think of Manabu’s interview – has it changed your opinion of Hosts?

Have you/Would you ever visit a Host bar?
 
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