Boys in skirts are a new fashion trend in Shibuya, Harajuku

20091024p2a00m0na014000p_size5 There’s a new fashion movement in Tokyo, and it involves men in skirts. The Mainichi calls them “the skirt boys” — one interviewee, who calls himself Shana, claims he was inspired by Harry Potter robes. He does not consider himself a cross-dresser, however:

Cross-dressers are people who want to be girls. I’m not wearing this because it’s what girls wear, but because I like the line and the texture of the material.

Men’s fashion magazine Smart is thinking of doing a special section on skirt boys for an upcoming issue. Maybe it’s similar to the Utilikilt fad in the US?

TokyoMango t-shirts shipped, and Reader Gallery

Dear readers who ordered a TokyoMango t-shirt,

I just went to the local post office and shipped off a boxful of t-shirts, which should get to you within a week or so. Please keep an eye out for yours, if you ordered one. And THANK YOU. It took Ben and me almost three full days to make them, but that’s a good thing because we ended up selling a lot more than we expected — plus, it was fun.

Also, I’d love to do a gallery of photos on the site of TokyoMango readers wearing the t-shirts. Email me a pic to mango [at] tokyomango [dot] com by the end of the month to be a part of it.

Thanks, and have a good weekend!


Get your hand-printed limited edition TokyoMango t-shirt now (2 weeks only)

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My friend Ben and I made a test run of TokyoMango t-shirts on Saturday. They’re really nice, do you want one? If so, you can buy one here. Below are the details:

– All shirts are 100% cotton.
– Each t-shirt will be hand-silk screened by me and Ben on his Yudu machine. The shirt logo was custom-designed by Ben. Mango design courtesy of my web designer James.
– The Women’s tees come in a t-shirt style (pistacio and white) and a spaghetti strap ribbed tank (yellow).
– The Men’s tees come in orange and white. In the pic above, Ben is actually accidentally wearing a girl’s tee, but you get the idea… the sleeves will be more manly on the one you get.
– You can choose a custom colored tee for $25. Just shoot me an email with your preference after you place the order.
– The sizes tend to run a little big (except for the tanktops). They might shrink in the wash.
– Some of you will receive a free surprise Japanese toy or gadget with your t-shirt! I’m just gonna randomly stick them into bags, so keep an eye out.
– We’re taking orders over the next two weeks only, at least for this first printing. They’ll ship at the end of those two weeks, when Ben & I will silkscreen them by hand.
– Last day to order is Monday, October 5th.

UPDATE: T-shirts are no longer for sale. Maybe we’ll do another round sometime!

Photos from New People World, the new J-pop center in SF


I finally visited New People World, the new entertainment complex in San Francisco’s Japantown. It’s small, but really cool! The shop has tons of awesome design-y Japanese things that I actually wanted to own, the cafe has delicious — albeit overpriced ($10!) — pork cutlet sandwiches, the art exhibit by Yoshitaka Amano was stunning, and I really want to go back to see the Yayoi Kusama movie at the cinema.


This is the 6% Doki Doki store, where you can buy super cute hair accessories and colorful earrings that spell out Japanese words like “arigato.”


This amazing piece of art by Yoshikata Amano was made specifically for the US showing of his exhibit, Deva Loka. It’s created much like the way a car is painted — with automotive paint on aluminum. And if you look carefully, it actually spells out “America” in katakana. アメリカ. The photo does it no justice, but all his works are strikingly bold and amazing! This one’s price tag was around $40-50K. Made me wish I had real money to spend on art.

New People World home page

Designer Issey Miyake shares his experience as an atomic bomb survivor

ImagesFashion designer Issey Miyake wrote an amazing op-ed in Monday’s New York Times about having survived Hiroshima. I did not know he was a nuclear bomb survivor &mdash I don’t think that many did, in fact, he says in his piece that he deliberately buried this part of his past because he didn’t want to be remembered as the designer who survived the atomic bomb. He finally decided to come out in this op-ed to encourage President Obama to follow through on his pledge to rid the world of nuclear weapons:

I have never chosen to share my memories or thoughts of that day. I have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to put them behind me, preferring to think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy. I gravitated toward the field of clothing design, partly because it is a creative format that is modern and optimistic.

Link (Thanks, Gen!)

British girls imitate ganguro gyaru trend


According to the BBC, there’s a new subset of British youth that thrives to be just like the Japanese ganguro &mdash you know, the girls with the bleached blond hair, super tanned skin, and crazy makeup. I read somewhere that for Japanese women, making themselves up this way is a deliberate form of rebellion against the traditional aesthetic of jet black hair and pale white skin. I wonder what it means when Caucasian girls with naturally lighter hair pick up the trend.

Uniqlo might buy the GAP

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One of my all-time favorite stores in Japan is Uniqlo &mdash it’s like the GAP, except the styles and cuts are a lot more contemporary and its cheaper. Now we’re hearing that Tadashi Yanai, the guy who founded UNIQLO and the richest guy in Japan according to Forbes, might be buying the GAP.


Uniqlo calendar with stop-motion scenes of Tokyo
Uniqlo to send clothes to refugees
New Years lucky bag: Uniqlo vs MUJI
Uniqlo NY will have robot shopping guides

Photo exhibit featuring Harajuku fashionistas starts next week

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There’s a small photo exhibit at the Japan Information Center in San Francisco featuring the works of Andy Heffernan, who spent four Sundays in Harajuku snapping pics of interesting characters, like this girl in a red jumpsuit, pink Birkenstocks, a fake scar and mustache on her face, perfectly shaped eyebrows, and a Burberry shopping bag.

The exhibit is from June 18 to July 30. It’s at 50 Fremont Street, Suite 2200, in SF. Link

ANTM finalist is Creepy-chan, a 4chan web meme


If you’ve ever talked television with me, you know that I’m a big fan of America’s Next Top Model. Cycle 12 just ended this week, and one of the finalists was a girl named Allison Harvard. As I do with every ANTM cycle, I googled the contestants—and found out that Allison used to be a web meme on 4chan, the image bulletin board started by my buddy Moot that is notorious for anime porn. Allison used to be known as Creepy-chan, and she posted all these crazy photos of herself looking like a strange bird.

Tyra does not know this (or maybe she does) but this season, thanks to Creepy-chan, her show transcended the closet-girly-girl-guilty-pleasure audience and gave web geeks something to get excited over every week. One more really creepy photo and a photo from ANTM after the jump.

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“What’s wrong with getting naked?” t-shirts for sale

Inspired by the recent debacle over SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s drunken naked rants last week, someone is selling these t-shirts online with his now-famous quote: What’s wrong with getting naked? on them. I kind of want one, although the fact that it’s on a t-shirt is kinda ironic, because if you’re wearing it you’re not really naked. Maybe go bottomless to get the point across?

Product page (Thanks, Jenn!)

Fundoshi underwear makes comeback in women’s lingerie shops

Fundoshi, a traditional Japanese male underwear similar to a loin cloth, is making a comeback. But this time, it’s in trendy women’s lingerie stores, not in pre-WW2 bath houses. Apparently it’s a new form of women’s lib. Since we can’t, you know, ask for stuff like equal pay or respect in the household, we’re gonna wear your underwear instead. The new fundoshi for women comes in tons of new designs and pastel colors. It looks comfy—I kinda want one.

(Thanks, Walter!)

Agejo, the new hostess bar-inspired gal trend


If you’ve ever walked through the streets of Kabukicho, or walked past a sticker picture booth in Shibuya, for that matter, you know what a hostess club worker looks like. Long and voluptuous wavy hair, light skin, big doe eyes, fake lashes, silky loungey dresses. It’s actually now being linked to a new street trend called the agejo—-the modern day version of a kogyal, you could say. A fairly new magazine called Koakuma Ageha leads this trend, with a circulation of nearly half a million per month. The photo shows models from the magazine posing in what are dubbed “agejo dresses.” It would make a great Halloween costume! (Thanks, Mary!)

Washi bracelet and other Japan-inspired jewelry


If you’re looking for something to do in SF on Saturday night, you could go to 111 Minna and check out their local designers show. My friend Christine will be selling her washi cuff bracelets and earrings, as well as other cool Japanese nature-inspired things like earrings that look like moth wings or silver-and-gold necklaces that flap their wings. If you can’t make it or aren’t in SF, you can also buy some of her stuff on Etsy.

Related posts:
Pretty silver jewelry featuring cool moving parts
My favorite buy of the week: lotus root jewelry

Lynchian rabbits posing in front of a gal store in Harajuku


I saw these rabbit-headed mannequins on display at a storefront on Takeshita-dori in Harajuku, and it made the store look and feel like being in a David Lynch movie. These are not cute bunny-ear bunnies. These are serious bunnies that will sit in your living room and talk about really serious things that are beyond your level of comprehension.