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男よりイケメンな女がモテる!? 海外も注目する「ボーイッシュ系」 Japanese girls as “boys” are more popular than the boys. The “Boyish-Kei” phenomenon


Japan takes “tomboy” to another level. What about females who dress as boys, talk like boys, are treated as boyfriends, and become famous as boys? It’s more than just pants and pressed collars and goes WAY beyond just being a fashion trend. It’s called “boyish-kei” (ボーイッシュ系 ) and it’s *fascinating*.




A TV show that I host on NHK World, Kawaii International, usually covers the lighter side of Japanese fashion like Harajuku-kei, lolitas, and gyaru. But the episode that is airing this weekend (times below) is a whole ‘nother level when it comes to Japanese fashion and how it connect to culture norms and abnorms. I have to say, it’s a MUST-SEE.

The episode is about females who dress as boys, either simply by wearing “boyish” clothes like baggy items or men’s style suit pieces in their everyday Harajuku-style street fashion, or going full-on “boy” through cosplay. The former is not so strange as slim women wearing boyfriend jeans or tailored mens blazers emulating mannish style is already a huge trend in fashion (for example, YSL’s Le Smoking, or Kate Lanphear of today).

ミーシャはNHKのKawaii Internationalに出演しているのだけど、ジャパニーズファッションの代表格である原宿系、ロリータ、ギャルについて特集することが多いなか、今週末放送の回の内容は全く違う!ジャパニーズファッションの誕生や、文化の常識非常識とのつながりなど、より深い所まで触れている。声を大にしていいたい、絶対みるべし!

レディースがメンズとしてドレスアップすること。たとえば、原宿のストリートファッションでよく見られるバギーパンツやメンズスーツなどを着てボーイッシュな格好をするみたいな。とか、男のコスプレをすること、について語っている。ファッション業界では、既に「マニッシュ系」と呼ばれる、細い女の人にがボーイッシュな着こなしをするってけっこうありますね。たとえばYSLのLe Smokingスーツや今のスタイルアイコンのKate Lanphearとか。

boyish-Kate_lanphear_04 Kate Lanphear (ここでも紹介してます)



(The photos above are from this unique blog, , which features some women who are REALLY good at wearing the boyish aesthetic. Definitely check it out  上の写真たちはメンズウエアをかっこよく着こなした女性がたくさん見れるユニークなブログ。本格的ボーイッシュ!)

The latter though, is where things get interesting. You can call it cross-dressing, but “cosplay” is certainly a better way to get into the psyche of it. For example, these women learn to emulate men down to their way of walking, talking, and interacting with other women. The better ones go on to become popular models in menswear magazines, and the mag doesn’t even need to advertise that it’s a woman as she wears it as well-or better- than the men. Basically, think of it as Andre Pejic in reverse.

Some women form communities, and they get together in their menswear clothing, wigs, and hold photoshoots,  posing as men together. ROOT gave us some tips on how to pose like a man and it was not easy to get your body to stop curving out every which way.

Here’s ROOT, one of our guests on the episode, and she is an exclusive “male” model in the menswear mag Spider.

後者のコスプレについてだけど、クロスドレッシングとも呼ばれている文化はおもしろい。例えば、彼女たちは男らしい歩き方や話し方学び、他の女の人たちを虜にしてる。そして、人気の人はメンズ誌の専属モデルになれる。マグは宣伝する必要もなく、男よりかっこよく着こなす女となるの。アノ女性用の服を着るメンズモデルのAndre Pejicの逆みたいな。




ROOT (twitterはこちら)

boyish-MAIN_akiraAKIRA (Disacode)も出演

On top of this are female idol groups who cosplay as boys, like FUDANJUKU, and are treated as boybands. Watch out, ONE DIRECTION! Their female fans obsess over them as fantasy boyfriends, and the members often give advice on relationships as if they are men. I don’t know how that will bode for the fans’ *actual* male-female relationships, but it certainly is a fascinating phenomenon.

There is so much more in the episode, like the history of femme boys in Japanese history, and the “ideal” fantasy boyfriend of Japanese girls that is just mindblowing. Melody Yohko and I couldn’t keep our jaws off the floor.

Anyway, it is on Youtube now so check it out…If your mind doesn’t explode, I owe you a beer.





NHK国際放送「かわいいインターナショナル」MC: 関根マリ、メロディー洋子、ミーシャジャネット


Asst editor Natsumi Yasuoka

2 replies on “男よりイケメンな女がモテる!? 海外も注目する「ボーイッシュ系」 Japanese girls as “boys” are more popular than the boys. The “Boyish-Kei” phenomenon”


Aside from the fashion world acceptance, how is this different than butch women anywhere else in the world? This is hardly a unique Japanese phenomenon.

If you watched the episode, it goes a bit beyond “butch”, which is a connotation associated with sexuality. For one, many of these women are cis, just like most of the men in pink shirts and skirts in Tokyo are not gay. Also, seeing cis women fawn over girls dressed as guys- and having that being largely accepted is VERY different from how it would play out in the west these days.

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