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Ganguro (ガングロ), literally "black-face", is a Japanese fashion trend among many Japanese girls which peaked in popularity from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, an outgrowth of chapatsu hair dyeing. The Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo are the centre of ganguro fashion.

The basic look consists of bleached hair, a deep tan, both black and white eyeliners, false eyelashes, platform shoes (usually sandals or boots), and brightly colored outfits. Also typical of the "Ganguro Gal" look are cell phones covered with purikura stickers, tie-dyed sarongs, mini-skirts, hibiscus flower hairpins, and lots of bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Ganguro - Picture by Eurocave

Extreme trend followers further bleach their hair up to a platinum blond shade, get even deeper tans, wear white lipstick, multicoloured pastel eye shadows and tiny metallic or glittery adhesives around the bottom rim of the eye sockets (See Yamanba). Popular Ganguro magazines include: Egg, Popteen, and Ego System.

In an interview with Tony Barrell, Creator of FRUiTS magazine, Shoichi Aoki, stated: "Ganguro was a phenomenon that was specific to Shibuya, about 1km away from Harajuku - which we have been talking about - and they were totally different so FRUiTS as a rule didn�t really take them up. Only a few times we�ve covered ganguro in our magazine. Where they came from is actually a mystery, no one really knows but there is some speculation that they were girls who were infatuated or fascinated with Janet Jackson or black American musicians or perhaps Naomi Campbell, the supermodel, but it�s still a mystery what their origins were."

There is some dispute surrounding the etymology of the word "ganguro." Many claim the name itself, "Black face" support this. This also goes against Ganguro itself, because many people are seeing it as racist and comparing it to the Blackface of early 1900's culture in America.

Perceptions of ganguro in Japanese manga

Peach Girl Manga
"Peach Girl" is a manga minimally involving the ganguro phenomenon, as its protagonist Momo is misconstrued to be shallow due to her tan skin. However, she denies being classed as 'ganguro' frequently throughout the storylines on the claims that both her skin and hair colour have come about naturally.

GALS! Manga
In "GALS!" one of Ran Kotobuki's major annoyance is the Ganguro Trio a.k.a. Tan Faces Red, Yellow, and Blue. The Ganguro Gals tell Ran that they are way beyond season and that they won't let seasons demean our cheap chill or thrill.

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)

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