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Ageha and Mori Girls in Japan

Looking Like a Doll Is Big in Japan

Gothic Lolita? That look is soooo last century. In Japan, the latest thing among trendy young women is to look like living dolls. The Mori/forest girls go for simple makeup and earthy fashion, but the Ageha girls aim — as the New York Times puts it — to look like blow-up dolls. As Tim Gunn would say, that's a lot of look.

Ageha is heavily influenced by hostess clubs, places in which young women entertain men by flirting, lighting their cigarettes, laughing at jokes, and so forth. The job, like the Ageha look, focuses almost exclusively on appearance. Nineteen-year-old Naoko Kamijyo is a typical Ageha girl. "I'm no great beauty, but I love to be made up," she says. "I want to change myself, to be unrecognizable. Who wants to go through life just being themselves?" To that end, she wakes at 5 a.m. and spends at least two hours applying false lashes, hair extensions, and makeup. Every day.

Magazines like Koakuma Ageha (subtitle: "Seduction and Desire Book for Beautiful Gals Who Want to Become Cuter") and shops like Jesus Diamante capture the Ageha aesthetic. Sadly, it seems much more important for these women to be seen than heard. As one Ageha girl told the Times in a depressing display of frankness: "Dolls shouldn’t need to talk, much less explain anything."

Here's a look at some publications for and about Ageha and Mori style. What do you think?


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PrincessGarnet PrincessGarnet 4 years
I was very disappointed with this article. Claiming that Gothic Lolita is "soooo last century" while many girls (myself included) still dress in the style is definitely a blanket statement. Besides, that cringe-worthy spelling of "soooo" is reminiscent of a tween gossip magazine. While this article was supposed to be about Ageha and Mori girls, Mori girls received little mention while most of the article was spent on the so-called "dark side" of being Ageha. As wolvesvane mention, the quotes in the article are only from one girl who is definitely not representative of most Ageha girls. Perhaps if the author actually bothered to talk to any Ageha girls instead of taking quotes from an article on the same subject from The New York Times, this article would have been more fair and balanced. I'm calling poor journalism on this one.
wolvesvane wolvesvane 5 years
i think this article is really biased. it (only) uses quotes that make the girls look superficial and stupid while ignoring anything else that may show a different side. surely, SURELY, not every girl who likes and emulates the look of the pretty dolls they grew up with is dumb and hates indivuality. some more variety in the girls they choose to quote for this article would definately show a whole different attitude towards it. the author needs to think about that a bit more before blindly posting something that carries such an obviously disapproving tone. honestly, what little girl looks at all her pretty dolls and /doesn't/, at least for a moment, want to be like them?
GummiBears GummiBears 6 years
They look like live-action anime dolls. Not that is a bad thing but just not my thing. The one with the silver collar looks kind of tired with the under eye puffiness.
LuniaFloria LuniaFloria 6 years
This seems veeerrrry creepy to me. "Dolls don't need to talk"? Ummm....
BriannaLovesKaty BriannaLovesKaty 6 years
I love the real life doll look and all the dresses on the jesus diamante website are sooo cute! I wish i could get my hands on them.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
Is it just me, or just she also look like a little girl? A small doll look, and the eyes are so changed she doesn't even look Asian anymore. I've heard of them having surgery to look less Asian... Or too much like Anime.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 6 years
I'm going with creepy even though I'm a makeup girl. I don't like the comment "dolls shouldn't need to talk". Can't wait for it to come to USA - not!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 6 years
To each their own. Personally, I subscribe to a different philosophy of beauty. I prefer to be the healthiest, natural version of me. I think natural beauty trumps cosmetic beauty any day of the week. JMHO.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 6 years
I'm actually a huge fan of circle lenses. And while I think it's a bit harsh, at least the girls statement to the Time lets you know she knows what's up.
jenni5 jenni5 6 years
Why does her head look so big??
bryseana bryseana 6 years
"Who wants to go through life just being themselves?" Oh my goodness
xgreenfairyx xgreenfairyx 6 years
What do you mean? No one is ever completely 'themselves' anyway. And yeah, I agree with what the girl said. Seriously...when you spend that exact amount of time doing yourself up to go out to the club or whathaveyou...aren't you doing the same thing? You're not wearing your stained sweatpants or holey socks or your boyfriend's hoodie are you? No...you're pretending to be something else....somebody that you're not. And when you're out there, on the dancefloor, secretly wearing your 'special' underpants...you're just a big done-up lie. Everybody knows that. She's just performing. Being yourself all the time IS boring. If I could be bothered to go through all of that, and could afford it, then I'd do it too.
azulsky azulsky 6 years
I agree with tlsgirl, this stood out to me, "I want to change myself, to be unrecognizable. Who wants to go through life just being themselves?" -- uh ME, I DO, I'm all for freely expressing yourself, trying a new look or even every once in a while (i.e. Halloween, costume party) being somebody else. Enhancing what you have with a little help is fine, but 2 hours to look like somebody else and I'm not getting paid for it or reimbursed for all the makeup and added hair, no thanks. The real question is who wants to go through life being anybody but themselves?
Beauty Beauty 6 years
I think it's really sad that someone would spend two hours each day getting ready so that she doesn't look like herself. I'm all for self-expression and looking cute, but it seems (as the Times story puts it, anyway) that this version of self-expression is low on the "expression" part.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I know I'm going against the grain here, but it kind of creeps me out. And makes me feel sad that anyone would voluntarily wake up at 5 a.m. just to look like someone else.
Allytta Allytta 6 years
i must admit i fell for the circle lenses hype. it's all the asian make-up gurus on youtube, they all wear them and it looks gorgeous on them, i'm very fair skinned with pale blue eyes, i don't think this look would really work for me, but asian girls with dark brown eyes look amazing. after this I started appreciating my boyfriend's asian eyes much more :)
thevioletfox thevioletfox 6 years
i will admit that i like the forest girl look, it's very romantic. as far as the other girls go, whatever works. if shes happy putting on make-up for that long, so be it. however i don't like that these girls in both groups seem to be blissfully ignorant. they just want to be a pretty face, nothing more. being a teenager and different cultures i suppose...
qtpie qtpie 6 years
A lot of Asian girls love doing this look, false lashes, those circle contact lenses, liner, to make their eyes look bigger.
mycatspot mycatspot 6 years
Reminds me of Twiggy.
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