It’s 2010; I am scrolling through livejournal, saving every picture I could find of Yui Kanno and Liz Lisa shop staff girls and dreaming of the day that I would look like that kind of gyaru. Himekaji. Casual princess. I fell in love with the pink blusher, the big curls, and the cute floral dresses. Those were the days that I went to my nearby Miss Selfridge to buy similar clothing (as I didn’t have the means to buy it online back then) so that I could feel like an everyday princess.
Fast forward to now and I happily have an array of himekaji items in my wardrobe from a mixture of gyaru brands and Western brands. I’m even working with my favourite himekaji store Kawaii Gyaru Shop, but I feel sadder than I was back in 2010.
And that reason was because there aren’t any himekaji anymore.
hoodie: offbrand (I say that because I have no idea) / dress: liz lisa via kawaii gyaru shop (coupon code LIZBEE) / boots: dorothy perkins / accessories: new look & tesco / bag: floozie by frost french
Okay, I’m being dramatic – there are himekaji out there, but only a handful of himekaji gyaru. I never thought I’d have to place himekaji and gyaru side-by-side as himekaji is a gyaru brand, but the gyaru side of it has drifted off into the larme-kei/kawaii realm. The dramatic gyaru makeup has been replaced with little to no makeup. It’s been so long since any gyaru were wearing himekaji that it’s like a forgotten era.
If there was a toned-gyaru-timeline then I would say that himekaji was the first style to go. There was a large audience for the cutesy appearance that became attractive to people of all Japanese fashions, not just gyaru, and so brands like Liz Lisa and Ank Rouge toned down for that audience. Then the ‘Liz Lisa Girl’ was born, but people often mixed that up with himekaji until himekaji did mean someone who wore Liz Lisa. Not a gyaru wearing Liz Lisa, just any person. I have gotten used to the fact that when I search the himekaji hashtag on instagram that I wouldn’t get many – if at all – actual gyaru on there, and it’s such a shame. I’ve always believed that you can’t label something gyaru if there’s a lack of gyaru makeup, because that’s pretty much what sets you apart from someone wearing Liz Lisa (the Liz Lisa Girl) to a gyaru wearing Liz Lisa (himekaji)*.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned to believe that himekaji is still gyaru. Maybe I should get over it. But how can I get over it when himekaji was the first style I fell in love with? When it gets so much grief from other people who no longer believe that it’s a gyaru style? Sometimes I want to hold up a sign at the instagram-airport saying, “SEARCHING FOR HIMEKAJI WITH GYARU MAKEUP” or “SEARCHING FOR ACTUAL HIMEKAJI” but then I don’t want to sound like a dick by bashing those who do what they believe is himekaji. Most of them probably don’t know about how himekaji began, and with gyaru toning down overall it’s no wonder that people don’t wear much makeup anymore.
But I don’t care; I love himekaji, and I’m going to keep on doing and be my own gyaru inspiration. Himekaji gyaru. Or just plain ol’ himekaji, like it’s supposed to be.
What do you think? Have you heard of himekaji before?
*I used Liz Lisa as an example in this post, because that’s one of the most popular himekaji brands, but this does apply to himekaji brands overall.