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Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How teenage girls made a nation cool

25 Comments

"Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential" is a must for anyone curious about the girls that dominate Japan's pop culture. For years schoolgirls have shown up in internationally popular anime and manga such as "Sailor Moon," "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" and "Blood: The Last Vampire." There are kick-ass schoolgirl characters in video games like "Street Fighter." Quentin Tarantino included one as an assassin in "Kill Bill," and magazines such as WIRED keep an eye on the trends emerging among these stylish teens.

With chapters covering everything from sailor-suited pop-idols and cult movie vixens, to the power of shopping and uniform fashion, "Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential" takes you beyond the realm of everyday schoolgirls to discover the secrets behind this iconic creature. Learn the origins of their famous sailor-style uniforms, and how they became a brand used to sell anything from kimchi to insurance. Discover why these girls have become such a symbol of girl power, and why they are so very, very cool!

Brian Ashcraft is the author of "Arcade Mania!" and a senior contributing editor for the video game site Kotaku.com, one of the world's most read blogs.

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Japan enjoyed schoolgirls long before the uniforms. Check out the various sex museums. around Japan. Girls lift the society up and are a source of strength for Japan. The feminine energy drives a lot of things that Japan succeeds in. Everyone outside Japan talks of how women are oppressed in Japan but I mostly see laughing, happy girls when I look around. Compare that with obese, unhealthy women in many countries. Their femininity has been taken from these obese zombies. The femininity of Japanese girls is much deeper than just being "cool" it drives the men to succeed and society forward.

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GirL power! hai! ♥

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Nice post azzassa. I especially like the bit about western women having their femininity stolen from them A lot of westerners seem to want to similiary turn Japanese women into men without the junk, and I am surprised they have not shown up yet to bash this article. Not to say Japanese society is totally fair to women, but its not fair to men either. No society ever is.

Learn the origins of their famous sailor-style uniforms, and how they became a brand used to sell anything from kimchi to insurance.

Why stop at insurance? LOL

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Let's not forget their image is also a major force in the pornography business here as any visit to the magazine rack at the conbini or AV corner of your local DVD rental store will attest to.

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tamanegi said: Let's not forget their image is also a major force in the pornography business

Oh, there you are! You are late! Oh, well at least your post is neutral. Yes, if women are going to motivate men, that better be part of the bargain or we don't move.

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Japanese schoolgirls are cool because they discovered the secret to raising the hems of their skirts, something that has never been seen in any other country.

And let's face it, innocent, sweet-looking girls are hotter than skanky ones, right?

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Ok yes many men use japanese schoolgirls in perverted ways to sell items but that's not the point of the book. It's supposed to be a fun book about the culture of japanese schoolgirls.

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It's just fetish, nothing else, it's not about school girls, it's about sex. -.-

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so many mature women also wear school uniform....? LOL

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loli alert?

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space monkey, i think you may be right in many cases. However you are in danger of being called a Japanophobe by the ever growing Japan idolists on this site.

Adoring/fantasiing about school girls ie kids is akin to peadophilia however you want to paint it . Something that is in fcat not very socially unnaceptable in Japan compared to other nations.

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@stevecpfc..."Adoring/fantasiing about school girls ie kids is akin to peadophilia however you want to paint it . Something that is in fcat not very socially unnaceptable in Japan compared to other nations." YEAH RIGHT! If YOU want to see it that way then enjoy. The rest of us normal people will just see tham as school girls.

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Nice post azzassa. I especially like the bit about western women having their femininity stolen from them A lot of westerners seem to want to similiary turn Japanese women into men without the junk,

Weren't they trying to give a chance at life for females who aren't pretty enough?

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meloveulongtime, i have no interest in schoolgirls but a lot on JT are and a lot if Japanese males of all ages are. It is an unhealthy obsession.

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Gotta agree steve... as much as I love sex and women, the highly insecure infatuated creep, lurk and loathe on this site and defend this racket... I just file them away with the millions of insecure, average and desperate Japanese men who pump & fuel the system...(same geek sort really) Some of us are just normal dudes working in Japan at times, but do stand outside the box and see the actual sickness.

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hai... and I know mistwizard & meloveulongtime are going to have a crack at me as usual.... but I respect your 2 cents fellas.... please respect mine. Cheers.

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I find this fascinating because Japanese schoolgirls exert a disproportionate level of economic power in Japanese society. Considering that young people are a very small segment of Japanese society how do you reconcile the fact that most of the cellphones on the market are geared towards the under-20's? A similar trend applies in fashion and several other industries in Japan. I was looking over some stats from a high school newsletter and one of the questions was, "how much pocket money do you get" and it was split up by grade and gender. The girls get on average twice as much pocket money as boys, many in the 10~20 000 yen a month range. Most of that is spent on 'luxury' items like cellphones, clothes, etc. On the flip side as an adult I might 'treat' myself to a new gadget that costs 5000yen and that would be it for my monthly luxury spending.

I don't think this book is about pedophilia (or more accurately hebophilia), but rather about economic power applied to specific sectors and driving change. Get your minds out of the gutter people, not everything is about sex. If your first thought when you see something about school girls is, "OMG! Pedophiles", then the problem here is you.

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my2sense...I respect your opinion and u seem like a man you can give and take it. As much as i disagree with you...I do respect you.

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It's not about Fetishism. http://kotaku.com/5490957/my-wife-and-japanese-schoolgirls He's got a family, and a wife in Japan, though he was American born. His wife co authored the book- using her as an insight into the actual culture of being a Japanese school girl, since he, as a middle aged white man, doesn't really have that experience. Nice to see bashcraft getting some attention, he really is an interesting guy.

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And if the schoolgirl in question was your own daughter, how would you feel?

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Well... if a 25-year-old looks cute in a sailor top, miniskirt and kneesocks, then I'm still interested so it's not so much the age as it is the look that matters, IMHO.

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As someone who reads Kotaku (where Brian Ashcraft frequently posts), I do not find this book surprising. Let's just say his interest in Japanese schoolgirls is not academic or coincidental.

Anyone who says this is the center of Japanese culture is self projecting. It's an important part, but I guess if you spend all day surfing the net for them you'll think they're the most important. Sure.

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kalinin... you're right.. sex sells.

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Reason why so much Japanese consumer culture is aimed at sub-20's is because the oldies lack confidence iin their own tastes and go for whatever is currently "cool". You see so many oba-sans with Disney or similar keirtais and so many men of all ges with some cute stuffed fluffy toys attached to their keitai or wallet or keys. Kids also exercise disproportionate influence over men's sexual fantasies in this country. not always in a healthy (i.e. over 16) way.

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Ah, Japan--mired in adolescence.

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