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Sukeban (スケバン/助番) means delinquent girl or boss girl in Japanese, equivalent to the male banchō. A dictionary of Japanese slang[1] says that sukeban only refers to the leader of a girl gang, not any member of the girl gang.[2]


The common signifiers of sukeban (described by the Japanese police in 1980s pamphlets as "omens of downfall") include brightly dyed or permed hair, and modifications of the school uniform such as wearing coloured socks, rolling up the sleeves and lengthening the skirt. Sukeban are reported to engage in activities such as stimulant use, shoplifting, theft, and violence, but if arrested, they can be charged with the lesser offence of "pre-delinquency".[3] The word sukeban was originally used by delinquents, but has been used by the general population since 1972.[2]

Media depiction[edit]

In the 1970s and 1980s, sukeban became popular characters in seinen manga.[3] Sukeban characters could also be seen in shōjo manga publications. Sukeban Deka, Tales of Yajikita College and Hana no Asuka-gumi! were three popular shōjo series that had a mostly sukeban cast.[4]

Pink film director Norifumi Suzuki made the first films in the seven-film Girl Boss (Sukeban) series. He also started the four-film Terrifying Girls' High School series (1971–1972) featuring sukeban characters. Both series featured prominent Pinky violent actresses Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto.[5] On December 6, 2005, Panik House company released a four-disc region-1 DVD collection surveying Sukeban films entitled The Pinky Violence Collection.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "The Japanese Slang Jiko".
  2. ^ a b Yonekawa, Akihiko. Beyond Polite Japanese: A Dictionary of Japanese Slang and Colloquialisms, 2001, pages 26–27. ISBN 978-4-7700-2773-3.
  3. ^ a b Cherry, Kittredge (1987). "Christmas Cake Sweepstakes: Girlhood to Wedding". Womansword: What Japanese Words Say about Women (paperback) (First mass market edition, 1991 ed.). 17-14 Otowa 1-chrome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112: Kodansha International Ltd. pp. 51–52. ISBN 4-7700-1655-7.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ Yuri Manga: Sukeban Deka Review, Okazu, Erica Friedman of Yuricon Archived September 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ D., Chris (2005). Toei's Bad Girl Cinema. Panik House Entertainment L.L.C. pp. 10–15. (booklet in the Pinky Violence Collection)
  6. ^ "The Pinky Violence Collection". Retrieved 2007-10-13.


  • Weisser, Yuko Mihara. (2001). "Japanese Fighting Divas 101". Asian Cult Cinema #31, 2nd Quarter 2001.
  • Ashcraft, Brian with Ueda Shoko. (2010). "Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How teenage girls made a nation cool". Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-7700-3115-0