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Project Assessment[edit]

This article has a long way to go. Although I would imagine that all the various subcultures and fashions have their own articles, to see them so unrepresented here is strange. The whole thing seems only a very superficial, brief overview. (1) Explain out the misconceptions. People think it's a teenage hangout for the trendy kids, which isn't really true because LaForet, GAP, etc are a bit closer to Omotesando and a great deal different from the kind of subculture you see in "ura-hara" or Takeshita-dori.... (2) Explain out the unique role Harajuku has played in subculture fashion, etc etc, particularly the area around Yoyogi Bridge (or whatever it's called) (3) Expansion and added depth overall. Bigger and better pictures would be great too. I actually have a number I could offer, but I'm sure plenty of other editors do too. A view of the station, of Takeshita-dori... LordAmeth 09:20, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

I think the content of the page is some what of a style issue. There is good content on the linked pages for Omotesando, Takeshita-dori, Yoyogi Park etc, but I think then there is too much if you bring all of these sections into one page. Yes it seems a bit thin but I think to do otherwise is repeating too much content.

Fashionable buzzwords[edit]

radical, cutting-edge casual fashion designs -- Does this mean anything, and if so, what? -- Hoary 00:40, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

PS I rewrote this crapola as something shorter. -- Hoary 11:56, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Gwen Stefani, etc[edit]

"Harajuku is, as of 2005, a major theme in the show of American singer Gwen Stefani, who uses four female dancers dressed like Harajuku girls to form her background act." Thanks for the good wording; in fact she USES them. The word must stay in, since she treats them and nicknames them as if they were some sorts of pet puppies or something. No doubt (sic!) that she hurts the feelings of many lovers of the Japanese culture because she just puts them in a ridiculous kinda light. -andy 11:54, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

from the page history it looks like that phrasing is from my humble self ;-). I must profess to a lack of familiarity with Ms. Stefani and her girls, and have not encountered her in the general media either here in Europe or in Japan, despite lengthy stays in the immediate vicinity of Harajuku Station. Only the fact that I have heard of her via the BBC prevented me from wiping the reference entirely. Personally I wouldn't be sad if someone comes up with a paragraph or two describing the influence of Harajuku in overseas popular culture, tangentially referencing the aforesaid popular singer if relevant. I for one am already well over 30 and therefore no longer qualified to comment on trends popular amongst the younger generation. Ianb 19:53, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
A simpler way to avoid criticism from people would be to rephrase it as "incorporates" as opposed to "uses". TheMonkofDestiny 11:25, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
Based on my limited exposure to Gwen Stefani, I'd have to say that her Harajuku Girls may have been inspired in some vague way by Harajuku fashions (also by the movie Cabaret, and perhaps a dream about Marie Antionette), but there really isn't a strong link. adamrice 15:10, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
OH Please some put down a definition !!! Harajuku : from the japanese, Fashion Kill "Literally" ie. in the sense of "punks" in the U.K. circa '75 and on excuse the hirrid punctuaytion but this topic must have attention, yeas i love you librarioans with an adonic shine of the first magnitude but please this is a thread of relevance to Global Culture

Once more please, in English this time. adamrice 15:57, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

-Dunno.. I think Gwen's Harajuku girls are cooler than "real" harajuku girls. They seem to have more attitude and style than the countryside kids from Saitama who hang out in Takeshita street on the weekends. This girl who wrote the gwen stefani criticism 1) I believe she's not Japanese, but one of the many Asian-Americans who seem to over-idolise Japanese pop-culture. As can be seen in many Japanese style-magazines, the goal of your average young Japanese girl seems to be "mote" (MOH TEH) or, in other words, to be popular with the opposite sex. (not that this is not the case in most countries) but there is nothing particularly noble or cool about harajuku, although the styles are visually interesting. Although the outfits may seem daring to your average outsider, most of them are just doing what your average teenager does, which is be "individual" like everyone else. spend any length of time in Harajuku, and most people will realise that the outrageous outfits are mostly the same, fitting into "FURUGI" (thrift-store clothing imported from LA and Europe), "B-KEI" (black-style or hip hop), "SUTORIITO KEI" (Street-style), "GYARU-KEI" (GAL STYLE), etc...

Just my impression, or is the article more interested in Harajuku in the anglophone imagination than in Harajuku as it is or was? I was amazed to see no reference to Dojunkai; but then Dojunkai doesn't exist any more and wasn't a commercial product, so perhaps I shouldn't be amazed after all. -- Hoary 00:40, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

PS I'm wondering if "Gwen Stefani" is somebody I should have heard of. I tried reading the article on her but got bored and so skipped to the end, which turned out to be something straight out of Hello!. The amnesia about Dōjunkai Aoyama apāto was so depressing that I created Dōjunkai. -- Hoary 06:03, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the Dojunkai article Sparkzilla 11:41, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


Why delete my image of some locals dressed in Hip-hop wear. It is a very high quality image ( Image:TAKA22.jpg ) , and represents what you really see when you go to Harajuku! Its not all Rockabillys and Goth-lolis etc. In fact the most prevailant style is often the hip-hop style. There are over 10 stores in Takeshita which deal exclusivley in hip-hop fashion. Please dont delete this image, as I feel it gives a complete image of Harajuku. Clothing stores from Harajuku sell their goods all over Japan, so why not take that into account.--Sean-Jin 21:25, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Pretty irritating that my image was deleted, and so much attention to Gwen Stefani "Harajuku" girls, who are american and look nothing like girls in Harajuku! Arent these pages supposed to give an overall feeling of an area or subject? How many of the contributers actually live in the Harajuku area????--Sean-Jin 21:33, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

There are also many, many types of fashion and designer shops in the area. Are we also to add pictures of girls wearing Louis Vitton, Prada, etc? Find some sources that say that Harajuku is a center of hip-hop fashion, and then maybe that fact can be mentioned in the article. Whether it merits its own picture would then be open to debate. Sparkzilla 22:59, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, true there are many other styles in the area- but people ALREADY know that many Japanese wear high-end and designer fashion. As far as I know, people come to wikipedia to LEARN things , not to view things they already know. Why, for example is there a picture of Rockabilly kids on the page ? Are there huge ammounts of Rockabillys constantly roaming the streets of Harajuku? Not quite. Go there on any day and count the number of Rockabillys compared to those dressed "Street" or "hip-hop" or "urban" . In fact Harajuku is a huge hub in the hip-hop or "urban" clothing scene. The designs come from here and are then shipped out to trendy stores ALL OVER Japan, from Osaka to Nagoya to Kyushu.--Sean-Jin 23:28, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is about verifiable knowledge WP:ATT, not just adding things you think poeple should learn WP:OR. If what you say is true, you should be able to find plenty of sources that say Harajuku is a centre of hip-hop fashion. Sparkzilla 23:41, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

All of the links I have are in Japanese, so should I still post them? Who is going to read and verify them, you? You seem to think that Harajuku is teeming with Rockabillys, and you somehow ignore anyone dressed in urban fashion. How am I going to get an un-biased opinion from you? I work in the video industry in Tokyo, and I have seen the spread of this sort of fashion all over Japan. Labels such as A Bathing Ape are now WORLD famous, have roots in Harajuku. They dont just export to the rest of Japan, they export world-wide. There is NO doubt to me that Harajuku is one of the centres of hip-hop fashion in Japan.--Sean-Jin 00:39, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

In an article about some aspect of or place within Japan, if you want to claim something for which you only have evidence that's in Japanese, there's nothing wrong with citing Japanese-language sources. (It's courteous to label these {{ja icon}}, however.) -- Hoary 01:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

A quote from Nigo- world famous urban clothes designer: " A true veteran of Ura-Harajuku, Nigo grows unusually nostalgic when discussing the old days. “I have really good memories. There weren't as many people in Harajuku back then. The store would close at eight, and all my friends would come around just to hang out and talk. We can't do that anymore. It's too crowded.”


"Clearly, Nigo is one of the key reasons why today's Harajuku is less like a salon than an overstuffed supermarket for fashion victims. From the mid-'90s, Tokyo's hippest teens and 20-somethings began to go ape in every aspect, bearing Nigo's logos and motifs from head to toe, and toting his “BUSY WORKS” bags, incongruously featuring an ape head sandwiched between the circular signs for two of New York City's Westside subway lines, above the words, “Transit Authority.”


Is that good enough? Thanks.--Sean-Jin 00:46, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I can't answer your question. Don't know if I should say this, but I find ludicrous any claim that it's "hip" to bear any logos and motifs from head to toe. Oh well, I suppose these "hip" teens are just emulating their "LV"-logo-splattered moms: same notion, different logs; rebellion in Japan isn't even skin deep. -- Hoary who never wears any logos, thank you 01:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Another quote- "The area known as "Ura-Hara" (back streets of Harajuku) is a center of Japanese fashion for younger people — brands such as Bathing Ape ..." This quote is taken from (!) --Sean-Jin 00:57, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Never trust Wikipedia! -- Hoary 01:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Quote: "Interior designer Masamichi Katayama has also given Ura-Hara its signature nonsartorial style, conceiving interiors for fashion line A Bathing Ape (Bape). Since collaborating with Bape's creator Nigo on the company's Busy Work Shop in 1998, Katayama has produced 15 Bape shops in Tokyo, Osaka and London" ( Seems like Uru-Hara is WORLD famous for urban fashion...--Sean-Jin 01:10, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I think it is fair to day that there is hip-hop fashion in Harajuku in the text but the picture is problematic with respect to this article. It does not have any specific Harajuku features in it. We only have your word that it was even taken in Harajuku. I think it would be better to post a picture of the Bape store to illustrate your point. Sparkzilla 01:16, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

In that case how do we know that the Rockabilly picture is taken in Harajuku? It could be a different park. The image I added was taken at "Corner Shop" in Uru-Hara. You can visit it if you like. Thats what it looks like.--Sean-Jin 01:27, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I think that pretty much anyone here will be able to verify the rockabillies at Yoyogi park and gothic lolitas at the station, however, your picture looks like a generic hip-hop shot that could have been taken anywhere. This page is about Harajuku, so the image should give some indication that it was taken there. Sparkzilla 01:58, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I think ANYONE who has been to Takeshita even once, can testify to fact that there are a huge ammount of urban stores there. Dont delete the image , just because you are too lazy to check out the store for yourself..... I have a feeling you have something against hip-hop. I think this article should represent the true face of Harajuku.--Sean-Jin 02:09, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I have nothing against hip-hop, but this simply isn't an article about hip-hop. For your information I live very close to Harajuku, and I was just out in the area for the past few hours and strangely enough I didn't see any overt hip-hop culture on the streets.
This article is about Harajuku, and a picture of two anonymous youths with a generic background is not representative of the area. It is also pretty clear that the picture was professionally produced. Note the photographer's lights and backdrop.
As the editor trying to make the insertion, the responsibility is on you to show its relevance. I have given you several suggestions to improve the relationship of the image to the article. If you want to add a pic of the Bape store, or pics of hip-hop kids in an identifiable Harajuku location please go ahead. Do not put this particular image back again without discussing it with other editors to get consensus. Sparkzilla

Thanks for noticing it was professionally shot, I took it myself. I am a photographer. I spend a lot of time in Harajuku, usually 6 months of the year. For this shot I used an EOS Kiss Digital N with a EF-S10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM wide angle lens. Look at most of my contributions to wikipedia- they are all shots of Japan. It was my idea to start contributing to WIKI with a lot of my Tokyo photography, to make the pages more visually interesting. I will try to upload another image which is "more recognizable", so that it won't cause a problem. Interesting how Hoary agrees that the "kids dressed in rockabilly and gosurori styles and stores catering for them were indeed hugely outnumbered by kids dressed in baggy jeans..."-- 07:35, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I thought so. I should say that I think it's quite a good shot (just not right for this particular article). Why don't you start an article on Japanese hip-hop... Sparkzilla 08:39, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Why isn't it right? Because it doesn't give enough background, or because it doesn't fit Stefani's stereotype, or something else? -- Hoary 08:48, 8 April 2007 (UTC) Whoops, I missed the comment above. -- Hoary 13:13, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
This Image:TAKA22.jpg of yours: Is that a spliff? Lawds a mercy! Gimme the address of the place and I'll try to get down there some weekday soon and verify that it is where it's claimed to be. ¶ I haven't been to Harajuku for ages but my impression was that kids dressed in rockabilly and gosurori styles and stores catering for them were indeed hugely outnumbered by kids dressed in baggy jeans (male) and tight jeans (female) and large logos, and stores catering for them. (Meanwhile, I guess the true face of Harajuku is commerce; the landowners don't care who rents the retail space as long as the payments are made. How fitting that today's the day Tokyo's answer to Jörg Haider gets reelected.) Meanwhile, rockabilly and gosurori are what capture the imagination of anglophones who visit Harajuku even less often than I do; see the article's preoccupation with somebody called Gwen Stefani, and if you wanted to cut some of that crap you wouldn't get any opposition from me. -- Hoary 02:39, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Hoary - Regarding the image, it is a blunt, not a spliff. A spliff is usually a joint that is mixed with tobacco, then rolled with a zig-zag or "rizla". Blunts are hollowed out cigars with weed inside them. My guess is that this blunt was worth at least $180. It was kind of the point of the picture, that kids who work at hip-hop stores in the area make easily enough money to even smoke it... In terms of hook-ups , I cant really help you - but I would say go to Yoyogi Park or Kichijoji & Inokashira-Koen Park and talk to the Japanese hippies. If you get to know one of them pretty well, they could help you out.--Sean-Jin 18:39, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I guess I need some drug to recover from the realization that the good Volk of Tokyo have actually reelected their Führer. But "Japanese hippies"? I thought they died out decades ago. I'm amazed. -- Hoary 22:53, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Hoary- Yeah Ishihara got re-elected, but no suprise there, Japan is and always has been quite right-wing politically, while labeling themselves with words like "Liberal" or "Democratic" in the party names. Young people even into their mid 30's don't vote at all. Its a total lack of interest to them in politics. Yeah, Hippies, you know. Guys with long hair who play congos a lot in Yoyogi park on a Sunday. You really have to get to know one of them. I think I might have to set up a "Weed in Japan " wiki page so people are aware of the use and history behind it. There are tons of people smoking it in Tokyo, they are just really secretive about it.--Sean-Jin 07:44, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Harajuku according to a US pop singer[edit]

I've removed this:

The American singer Gwen Stefani mentions Harajuku in several of her songs[1] and has incorporated four female dancers, "Love," "Angel," "Music," and "Baby," dressed like Americanised Harajuku girls, into her background act. A song is dedicated to them on her solo debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., titled "Harajuku Girls" and the word "原宿" (Harajuku) is depicted on the stage surface during her music video for "Hollaback Girl". Her use--or appropriation--of Harajuku girls and Harajuku fashion has been criticized by a number of Asian-Americans, notably Margaret Cho, for perpetuating stereotypes of submissive Asian women.[2] Slant magazine stated that the album's "obsession with Harajuku girls borders on maniacal".[3] Stefani has also released a line of clothing and accessories called "Harajuku Lovers" with designs similar to Hello Kitty-style children's products.[4]

because the version of Harajuku of a single US pop singer seemed peculiarly trivial, or anyway to say a lot more about her and her fans than about Harajuku. -- Hoary 13:40, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Though I'm no fan of Stefani, the reaction to her fetishization of Harajuku is notable. I added the ref to Margaret Cho (even though it's a blog) and to Stefani's rebuttal in Entertainment Weekly and condensed the text...

The American singer Gwen Stefani mentions Harajuku and Harajuku Girls in several of her songs as well as having a fashion line called "Harajuku Lovers". Stefani's use of Harajuku has been described as "maniacal"[3] and has been criticized by a number of Asian-Americans, notably Margaret Cho [5], for perpetuating stereotypes of submissive Asian women.[6] In response to Cho's comment that the girls were "a minstrel show" Stefani responded "The truth is that I basically was saying how great that culture is." [7]

-- Sparkzilla talk! 15:12, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

This may tell us something about Stefani. Does it tell us anything non-trivial about Harajuku? -- Hoary 15:22, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
If the sources were poorer I would definitely say no, but given that there is a faily well-sourced (minor) controversy surrounding Stefani's use of Harajuku as a brand, then it is reasonable to have a brief mention of it here. -- Sparkzilla talk! 15:32, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps the longer version would be best in the Harajuku girl article. Exploding Boy 15:35, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

What about the short one. Do you think it should be in this article? -- Sparkzilla talk!

Right. Harajuku girl doesn't explicitly say that "Harajuku girl" is an English term, but (surprise surprise) "girl" isn't a Japanese word: at best, "Harajuku girl" is a real concept that has an entirely different name in Japanese, or a term that's a translation or assimilated version of a Japanese term. Harajuku gyaru or similar is imaginable but I don't think it's used. I can't think of anything in Japanese (which proves nothing) and neither could an L1 Japanese speaker I've asked just now (which does). Moreover, I note that the article Harajuku girl doesn't link to an equivalent in ja:WP. So the article Harajuku girl seems to be about some US-centered fantasy about girls who frequent Harajuku. The article seems an ideal dumping ground for Stefani's addition to the fantasy, and the "controversy" about this. I don't see any reason for the Harajuku article itself to mention Stefani. (If she'd frequently held concerts in Harajuku, or had a famous shop in Harajuku, that would be different.) -- Hoary 15:54, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Come to think of it, the Harajuku girl article should probably be exclusively about Stefani's .... erm.... backup dancers? As for this article, I think it would be fine to indicate that Stefani attempted to capitalize on the fashion cred of the area by linking the image with her music and clothing line, but I don't think we need an extended discussion of it. Exploding Boy 16:33, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Moved "Harajuku girl" to the more appropriate Harajuku Girls, and cleaned up. Please take a look. Exploding Boy 16:46, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

While I don't think the "Harajuku girl" article is much good, I do think it is reasonable to have one: the phrase has achieved some currency in English--kicked off by Gwen Stefani, of course, but it has taken on a life of its own, and does not (as I've encountered it) refer to GS' backup dancers anymore. The fact that the phrase comes from English, not Japanese, does not invalidate it. If we can have 和製英語, a little 英製和語 isn't going to kill us. adamrice 22:03, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
I guess it was just a matter of time: I've had my first encounter with the use of "Harajuku girl" by a native speaker of Japanese. To be clear, I'm confident this is sort of a reverse-borrowing from English, but there it is. adamrice (talk) 16:24, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

What's going on?[edit]

Since I last edited:

  • Mention of fast food outlets and so forth has been cut from the description of Takeshita-dōri. They were there the last time I looked, about three weeks ago. Shall I provide photographic evidence?
the problem is with "and so forth", which sounds stupid and contains zero information. Be specific about the "and so forth".-- (talk) 20:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
  • "Gothic Lolita" is again a "see also", even though it's already linked in the text.
  • My VAGUE tag next to the claim that Omotesandō is regarded as the Champs-Élysées, asking whether this was a matter of its being an avenue or a collection of the kinds of shops you see in airport departure lounges, has been replaced with a reference to the NYT, in which one Matthew Rusling simply asserts, without evidence, that the historic tree-lined Omotesando Avenue [is] the Japanese equivalent of the Champs-Élysées. Actually I think Rusling is right; and if he's right he's talking about the width and avenueness and not the ease of blowing loads of money on overpriced stuff you can buy a bit more cheaply elsewhere: the WP article manages to cite the NYT article in such a way as to give the opposite impression.
  • The straightforward and informative (I think) four dancers who accompany Gwen Stefani has become the obscure (to me at least) a dance entourage associated with Gwen Stefani (And I hadn't even realized that "entourage" was a countable noun!)

I can't figure out any of these. -- Hoary 13:13, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I added the NYT ref. It think it doesn't really matter why the street is compared to the Champs Elysee, it only matters that it is often compared to the Paris street in reliable publications. -- Sparkzilla talk! 14:29, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Then we disagree. If it doesn't matter why the street is compared with the Champs-Élysées, then it seems to me that we're treating the comparison as pretty vacuous. And if it's vacuous, then why bother with it? (Additionally, Rusling doesn't say that the comparison is often made. He makes it, and implies that it's because of the physical scale rather than the glorious opportunities to burn up one's money.)
In Japanese, the two together get 12,300 ghits, but a quick look shows the predictable blog-waffle, perhaps mixed with some self-serving commercialism. Alas I don't have an encyclopedia of Tokyo at hand. Do you? -- Hoary 14:44, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
See Paris AKA "the city of light" for a similar example. I found a reliable source that says Omotesando is compared with Champs Elysee. If you can find a reliable source as to why it is compared, please add it (even though the reasons are likely to be conjecture). -- Sparkzilla talk! 14:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
IIRC (and I'm not in Tokyo right now, so I can't check this), Omotesando draws this comparison itself: the brass rails surrounding the shrubs along the sidewalks have small plaques saying something like "champs elysees harajuku" (or otherwise making the comparison explicit). This may be puffery by the local merchants' association, but there you go. adamrice (talk) 20:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Article Expansion[edit]

I think the best way to expand this article will be to decide on some general way to split this article up into sections. Right now the text flows well, and I hate to disrupt it, but it might do better to break it up into "Location", "History", "Subcultures" etc. Or perhaps another way entirely. I have a few good resources to add to this article as well. Denaar 22:04, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Why break it up? It's an area of Tokyo with lots of clothes shops. -- Hoary 13:00, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


I'm puzzled by the recent insistence by some IP that some US pop singer pushed Harajuku into "mainstream society". Stefani has an article. Her clothes brand has an article. Her dancers have an article. But that's not enough: this article too must kowtow to US marketing, it seems. -- Hoary 13:00, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
We already have a link to her dance troop in the "See Also" as well as a link to the disambiguation page at the top - I really see no need for this info here too. Denaar 14:59, 13 October 2007 (UTC) source[edit]

The article cites:

Perry, Chris Rebels on the Bridge: Subversion, Style, and the New Subculture

This appears to require a plug-in, and is on a site that seems to be the text equivalent of Flickr: there's no editorial control. I see no reason why it should be taken seriously and propose to delete any mention of it. -- Hoary (talk) 10:49, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

The more I think of this, the more obvious its unsuitability is as a source. Not that I'm knocking it (I can't even read it); I'm merely knocking problems inherent in its publication. Anyway, I'm removing mention of it. -- Hoary (talk) 12:20, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
You are right, it is not a credible source. Most of the references for this article are not. (talk) 12:57, 22 July 2008 (UTC)