Japan’s reputation as the street fashion capitol of the world can be traced directly to two specific Tokyo neighborhoods – Harajuku and Shibuya. Harajuku’s “kawaii” fashion scene has experienced a major boom recently as a result of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s rise. For the last few years, Shibuya’s gyaru-centric street culture has been left in the shadow of Harajuku’s resurgence. But a new force has appeared on the horizon, ready to challenge current trends and return gyaru culture to its rightful place in the sun.
Meet Black Diamond, Japan’s top kuro gyaru unit!
English subbed interview.
“Kuro (hada) gyaru” literally means “black skin gals”. Ten years ago, their dark tans (several Black Diamond members actually work at tanning salons) may have led to these girls being labeled ganguro. However, kuro gyaru is a thoroughly modern version of the super-tanned gyaru. When it comes to fashion, Black Diamond’s kuro gyaru members share a love for the Japanese brand D.I.A., with most members wearing D.I.A. items daily.
In recent years, Japanese gyaru magazines like Egg have focused more on the less-extreme shiro gyaru (white skin gals). But Japan’s fashion scene changes quickly and there are recent signs that tans gals may be making a comeback. Egg launched “Foxy egg” this summer, a sister publication that covers the new kuro gyaru boom and showcases sexier, less conservative gals. Soul Sister Magazine also covers kuro gyaru, including running several features on members of Black Diamond.
Black Diamond’s over one hundred members come from all over Japan – from as far north as Hokkaido and as far south as Okinawa. While Shibuya remains the center of gyaru culture (Black Diamond members can frequently be seen on the streets around 109), they also hold meetings in other cities throughout Japan. The basic goals of the group are simple – to support each other through shared interests, to make friends, and to promote kuro gyaru fashion and culture both inside of Japan and abroad.
Working toward their goal of growing the kuro gyaru boom in Japan, Black Diamond members often travel from all corners of Japan to Shibuya in order to pose for, and talk to, Japanese magazines and television shows. Several members work at popular gyaru fashion brands and shops where they can interact with other gyaru and promote the culture. Some girls are also fashion models. There are even future plans to bring together a musical group consisting of Black Diamond members.
Reaching out to international fans of gyaru culture, Black Diamond have launched their own English-friendly Facebook page. Several members of the group can speak English, and these gals have posted videos on YouTube speaking directly to potential allies abroad. In the last few months, Black Diamond have begun inviting foreign gyaru to join the group. Black Diamond International has signed up over fifty girls in twenty countries thus far.
After watching Black Diamond’s popularity explode in the Japanese press over the last few months, we tracked them down to learn more. We got together with over twenty members of Black Diamond while they were in Shibuya for a meet-up. The girls were kind enough to pose for pictures and video around Shibuya, as well as sitting down with us for a chat about Black Diamond, gyaru culture, fashion, their plans for gal world domination, and much more.
The interview contains a lot of inaccuracies about the foreign branch. For the low-down from an intl girl who was in the cir: here and here. I don't have anything against the girls in the group, the idea they had going was great imo. But the leader/manager Tsuyoshi Asano is an ass turd.