Japan Today

'Gurokawa' (grotesquely cute) fashion styles


Have you ever heard of the Japanese slang expression “gurokawa?” It’s a combination of the katakana words for grotesque and cute and is used to describe a distinct fashion style or character.

Here are a few “gurokawa” examples.

Gloomy Bear

Gloomy Bear is a cute-looking but violent pink bear that eats humans. The character was created by illustrator Mori Chack.

Gloomy is a little over 6 feet and weighs as much as 2,000 pomegranates. Owned by human Pitty, he’s well trained for the most part, but he can never remember that he’s not supposed to attack humans. Still, a pet owner must take ultimate responsibility for his pets. Recalling warm memories of Gloomy as a cute cub, Pitty tries to lead a life of peaceful co-existence with his pet bear.

There are various Gloomy goods such as cushions,clocks, cups, tissue covers, and so on. Popular fashion brand BEAMS has a line of of stationery in its DRUG STORE BEAMS line. The “gurokawa” items include pens that look like a syringe, eyeballs and bones, a brain keychain, and so on. Other items resemble human body parts and medical instruments. Prices start at 630 yen.

Eyeball Fashion Items

Eyeball fashion items are currently popular because fashion model and singer Kyary pamyu pamyu wears them. Popular items include eyeball bracelets, eyeball rings, elastic eyeballs and eyeball print socks.

Have a look at the Epicurean Garden Website.

Here are some eyeball fashion items below.

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@ Juan Carlos Barbosa Padilla:

This makes me remember an anime where a goddess went to live with a boy

Ah! Is that the anime where the three Norse goddesses (who also appeared as the "wierd sisters" in the opening scenes of Macbeth ("Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through fog and filthy air") Urd, Verthandi and Skuld all live in a Buddhist Temple with a Japanese university student with whom Verthandi fell in love -- even though all the uni student wanted to do was order a pizza?

@ AmericanForeigner:

I take it that it has been a long, long time since you have watched American cartoons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some of it is really funny......Was cruising around Amemura in Osaka the other day when I spotted a girl wearing a sweatshirt. On the front were 2 cats snuggling with "I smell good" on the front. On the back were 2 cats showing their behinds with " No fishy pussy here".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Doesn't seem as grotesque as a typical South Park episode, or what was routinely shown on Beavis and Butthead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gloomy has been around for a while, one of my friends used it as wallpaper on the laptop about 10 years ago, and that's how I first met this character. Surely not for kids, but damn funny. It has an official home-page, also translated in English: http://www.chax.cc/main.html?en

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, you're referring to 撲殺天使ドクロちゃん (Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan). I would definitely say it falls in under the gurokawa genre, and fondly remember how I got my friends back home to go WTF in disbelief while they were watching it (and I was laughing my ass off at their reactions). Good times, good times! :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This makes me remember an anime where a goddess went to live with a boy and for any pervert or jealousy moment she pulls out a big and spiky weapon and tears the boy in parts, with a lot of blood and violence in one hit... only to use the same weapon to make a chant and resurrect his victim...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Am I the only one shocked by the utter inappropriateness of this? And they want to sell this to kids!? Not when I'm around.

Apparently you are. Where does it say they want to sell it to kids? Uh... NOWHERE. So don't stay around, please return to your whitebread life in NoClue, USA. I have 3 Gloomy shirts and was the envy of friends, young and old, back in the states when I was there for xmas.

@KingBasil: totally agree about the kawaii

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Proof that even Japanese are getting sick of kawaii. I would think many of you would be jumping for joy.

I like it. I see it as the natural evolution of kawaii overdose.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am sure this will help improve suicide numbers a lot.

-7 ( +1 / -6 )

To be fair, this is quite a nice change from the all-too-common anime stuff around.

It might be a bit disturbing, but not as disturbing as some figures I have traded in the past specially Hellraiser (those figures still give me the chills whenever I look at them) and many more.

1 ( +3 / -1 )

Absolutely nothing wrong with this trend. It's different and unique. I bought a friend a Gloomy years ago and it doesn't surprise me that Gloomy is still popular. Good Stuff! :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Am I the only one shocked by the utter inappropriateness of this? And they want to sell this to kids!? Not when I'm around.

-14 ( +1 / -14 )

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