experiencing it's first generation gap in recorded history.
Youth are refusing to simply follow in the
footsteps of their parents, and they are challenging values
that go to the heart of Japanese culture. But there are
considerable forces that may yet keep them in line. It's a
colorful generation that clearly enjoys breaking the rules, or
at least the appearance of rebellion. It also has it's dark sides. You can read my
longer article about Shibuya, Youth
and the New Japan here.
Note: The pictures
below are from different years and seasons. I'd like to
update the page in 2003, but trends change too fast to keep it
always up to date.
Radicals at the Crossing
In this (now
dated) picture, student anti-war
protesters in Shibuya are denouncing "Boosh" and the war on
terrorism. A music video plays in the background and thousands
of people walk by as if nothing unusual is happening.
What would be unusual in Shibuya anyway? This
generation is so in love with image, and they are
searching hard for identity. You have to wonder how much
real driving force there is behind the rhetoric.
Protesting "Boosh" atop a "Peace-Love" bus in Shibuya may just
be a cool thing to do.
A couple of
amateur videographers among the throngs of videographers who
come to Shibuya, searching for the secrets of their own
entrepreneurs run beauty salons on almost every corner
throughout this newly developed area east of Tokyo. Most
of them have big glass windows, so that passersby can see the
cool clientele and the even cooler people cutting their hair.
Being a hair stylist is IN in Japan. Most of them
are fashion icons themselves. It must be a rough
business, though, with all the competition. These two, I
imagine, are inspecting the day's receipts.
Three school girls
hang out in the train station after school. These girls,
at their age, are probably at the height of their personal
power in Japanese culture, as trend setters and head turners,
and they are determined to use it while they have it.
A few years ago the
"gonguro" style was "in" and now it's
"out" (though not extinct). "Gonguro" means "dark"
(that is, really, really tanned, either by the sun or liberal
amounts of fake tanning lotion). The style included clothing and
hair as in the picture, and 12 inch platform boots so high
that some girls literally injured themselves falling off of them.
Thankfully, this style has faded. But there are new
girls in Shibuya today who are equally desperate for
attention. The dark side of such fashion is
that many girls finance their expensive tastes through casual
Shibuya Girls, 2002
Each year Shibuya
has a new look and style. This photo is from the summer
of 2002. These girls were hanging out by Hachiko
Crossing attracting guys with big cameras.
Here's an unusual
young man that I spotted crossing the street in Shibuya.
He stands out in a crowd of others who seem equally intent on
A ghostly "idol"
image surveys the masses as they flow across Hachiko Crossing
outside the Shibuya Station.