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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