Someone today asked me, why are you so interested in the Ganguro culture? and I paused for a bit and answered. “ Because sometimes I wish I could be as free as them!”. Sometimes I just want to rebel. When I turned 18, four years ago, I taught that my parents could give me the freedom that I deserved. But I guess my expectations were only fueled by watching movies like ‘A walk to remember’, and all the other Filipino movies I watched; that showed me that when you stand up to your parents they will learn to accept that at that age a person is mature and independent. But being a Filipina girl and the eldest girl in the family, the eldest daughter, the elders grandchild, I was not entitled to that freedom. This is how my fascination with the Ganguro girls began. Through contemporary media vehichle such as the internet and blogs, i found out about Ganguros!
The Ganguro girls were not only a product television show such as Baywatch and African American music videos, they are to me a product of rebellion, a way to escape the strict and high expectations of being a Japanese girl. Personally, it is to break away from the strict and outdated expectations of many Asian culture and parents.
In a book written by Paul R. Spickard titled ‘Mixed blood: intermarriage and ethnic identity in twentieth-century America’ he informs the reader of why ‘white skin’ was seen as an imperative characteristic of a high-class Japanese girl.
He stated “the Japanese from very early times liked white skin, which they associated with spiritual refinement and upper class status, and disliked black skin, which they saw as a sign of primitiveness. (Spikard 1991 pg.43)
“ A woman out to have “ a small and well-shaped face, white skin, gentle manner, an innocent, charming and attentive character” (Spikard 1991 pg.43)
Here is a similar comment that a blogger made from the website ‘Ming the Mechanic:Ganguro Girls The NewsLog of Flemming Funch’ on
11 Apr 2006 @ 21:41 by Jessa @18.104.22.168 : Ganguro
“I read an article in a book years ago that said that Ganguro girls paint their faces black or use really dark shades of tanning lotion to challenge the traditional Japanese culture of girls having skin white face.Actually, I read an article about these girls in the Anime Insider magazine. It said that one of the goals for Ganguro (or Manba, or whatever) is to not only capture the California beach girl look, but to also rebel against the ideal Japanese beauty (moonlight-pale skin, long, ebony-black hair, etc.). “
Like the Japanese culture, my parents to this day are very strict on me, jsut because I am a girl. My parents too didn’t like me being outside and getting my skin dark. I was encouraged by parents to use whitening lotion and whitening soap. I feel a strong connection to the Ganguro girls, because I believe that I too am living as a prisoner of my culture. But you would never catch me dressing up and wearing my make up like them!
- Spickard, P.R. 1991 ‘Mixed blood: intermarriage and ethnic identity in twentieth-century America’ University of Wisconsin Press, America.
- 2003, ‘Ming the Mechanic: Ganguro Girls’, The NewsLog of Flemming Funch,Ming, viewed 29 September 2009, <http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000633.htm>