What is ‘Gyaru’? In brief words…

Gyaru, or “Gal” is a type of Japanese street fashion that consists of darkening your skin and wearing the brightest colors as possible so as to stand out. At least that’s what I’ve read in books and on the internet. If I mix everything I’ve learned into my own words, Gyaru, for me, is a subculture in Japan that became popular around 2000 and breaks the traditional view of beauty in Japan by doing the complete opposite: Dark skin vs Fair skin, Discreet vs Indiscreet and etc. In other words, it’s a way of rebelling against the society that favors similarity.

There are many types of Gyaru (even men types!), some more extreme than the others. The mother of them all is the Yamaba style based off by an old Japanese legend of witches that live on mountains. But today, the style has been updated and replaced by Mamba.

The big difference between the two is that the makeup is applied more carefully than before.


The one I would call the most extreme is Ganguro (meaning “black face”), that requires a very dark tan, white coloring make-up, and bleached hair. It’s not unusual to see Ganguro in anime, since they’re the most known type of Gyaru.

I’ve actually seen these girls on Japanese TV years ago.


Himegyaru is similar to Romamba (a lolita version of Yamamba), but requires either tan or light skin. Himegyaru rarely have bleached or very colorful hair- they have either brown, light brown, or black.


Kogal is another type that you might have seen in anime, since Kogal are always high school girls. They really force on the “cute” side of Gyaru and always follow fashion trends, just like the Himegyaru with the brand Liz Lisa.


A last known one which I would call Amura (after singer Namie Amuro), but has a few different characteristics than said one is B-Gyaru. The style is inspired by African American artists which is possibly one of the reasons why this type still survived the years- American culture is still very popular around the world.

Interesting posts on gyaru (mostly Ganguro):

Ganguro anime girls 

Gyaru Gal Styles -Main source

Ganguro Blog (in French, but very recommended)

Ganguro post – By my king of otaku

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