From Shōjo to Bangya(ru): Women and Visual Kei
This chapter explores the relationship between shōjo culture and the Japanese music subculture of Visual Kei—a flamboyant genre consumed primarily by women. It demonstrates links between Visual Kei and aesthetic trends in Japanese women’s/shōjo culture (particularly idealized masculinities), arguing that these wider socio-cultural developments should be involved in future analysis of these types of subcultural practices. Drawing from a combination of long-term ethnographic research and social media discourse analysis, this chapter places Visual Kei within academic literature on Japanese women and the media they consume, arguing that Visual Kei is inseparably entwined with wider shōjo/women’s culture. Through this, the chapter demonstrates an additional location for the shōjo within the complex contemporary Japanese popular music landscape.
KeywordsVisual Kei Japan Popular culture Popular music Women’s media Masculinities
This chapter is constructed primarily of edited excerpts from my M.A. Thesis, “Skirts, Heels, and Bare Chests: Expressions of Gender in Visual Kei,” submitted to Kyoto Seika University in January 2015.
I would like to thank my M.A. advisor Masahiro Yasuda, along with Thomas Baudinette, Yuki Nakayama, and especially Sophie Charlotte van de Goor, without whom this chapter would not have been possible.
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