Ishoku-Hada Girls: When Kawaii Meets Sexy

Photo credit | Miyako

There is a new fashion subculture on the rise in Japan that is arresting eyes and bringing color to the forefront. This new fashion trend is Ishoku-Hada, a style that incorporates anime, body paint, and elements from video games. “Ishoku-Hada” ((異色肌) is Japanese for “remarkable skin” or “unique skin.” Women who wear the style are often referred to as Ishokuhada Gals. Early adopters are said to get inspiration from Yamanba/Ganguro, cosplay, and sexy monster-girls, anthropomorphic characters that are a mix between humans and fictional or real creatures. Yamamba, also referred to as Ganguro, is a style that rose to popularity in the early 2000s that featured dark tans, white lipstick, and face stickers. Like Ishoku-Hada girls, bright colors were also a part of the wardrobe.

Ishoku-Hada can be sourced back to Miyako, a DJ and model that began using body paint to make her skin look closer in closer to the characters from video games she was wanted to emulate. Miyako organized a famous photo shoot with some friends where each woman painted herself a different color, depicting the style that is inspired by American comics, and the Japanese artists, Junko Mizuno, and Rockin’ Jelly Bean.

photo Ishoku-Hada Girls: When Kawaii Meets Sexy
Credit | Miyako

Junko Mizuno is a Japanese manga artist whose art is often considered Gothic Kawaii. Rockin’ Jelly Bean is known worldwide for drawing women in a cute, but crude way usually NSFW. Rockin’ Jelly Bean never likes to be shown without a Lucha doll mask. A luchador mask is a fabric based mask used in wrestling that dates back to 1915 and is still used today mostly in Lucha Libre style wrestling in Mexico. Take a look at some of their works below.

photo Ishoku-Hada Girls: When Kawaii Meets Sexy
Credit | Lianne Moseley

Ishoku-Hada allows its wearers to transform and take on alien or other worldly looks. It’s bright colors and use of body paint may also appeal to ravers, where they can glow under black lights. Unlike most kawaii styles that promote modesty and innocence such as Elegant Gothic Lolita, Ishoku-Hada doesn’t shy away from sensuality.

Ishoku-Hada is still in its infancy, but it has the potential to become the next big thing at culture conventions as people go further than just wearing a costume. The Japanese media is just now getting wind of the new fashion trend. It has already given birth to fan art and Youtube tutorials.

Only time can tell if it will become bigger, be overshadowed, or fizzle out.


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