lifestyle

Meet Aki, queen of the 'gyaru-mama'

45 Comments
By James Hadfield

Single mother Aki, 27, is the head of “Brilliant Lab,” a "gyaru-mama" circle with 450 members. They have voluntary get-togethers once a month, for things like Halloween and Christmas parties.

Can you explain what a gyaru-mama is?

I think it describes a mother who’s proactive and always trying her best—as a mom, as a wife, and as a woman—in whatever she does, whether it’s raising kids, keeping house or looking good.

When did you become a mother yourself?

Six years ago, when I was 21.

What inspired you to start the Japan Gal Mama Association?

For a while now, I’ve been the head of “Brilliant Lab.” Over time, the number of members grew, and we exchanged a lot of information within the group. I wondered if I could do something for parents and children all over Japan, so I set up the association. I also know what a headache it is trying to hold down a job as a single mother, so I thought it’d be good to help single moms look for jobs, too.

What does the association do?

We have a consultation service on the website to prevent and protect against abuse. We make original T-shirts, donating a portion of sales to [child abuse prevention network] Orange Ribbon, and we’re also helping promote long-term employment for mothers. We now have chapters around the country, and we’re working to give a leg-up to parents and children who are struggling or feel isolated by holding events where they can meet others and have fun.

What kinds of feedback have you had?

Personally speaking, I used to get normal mothers talking behind my back about my flashy clothes and nails, but now people understand that this is a gyaru-mama’s right. There was one magazine survey where junior-high and high-school girls picked gyaru-mama as their number one dream occupation. Being a mother isn’t an occupation, but… [laughs]

Do you coordinate your child’s outfit with what you’re wearing?

I get a kick out of coordinating things, so I’ll give us the same hair, go out in matching colors or styles, or sometimes with exactly the same outfits. I’ve got a daughter, so I do "osoro-koode" [outfit matching] a lot.

What are the go-to places for a self-respecting gyaru-mama?

The main ones are Shibuya 109 and—I live in Yokohama, so—Yokohama Cial or Sakuragicho. I often go to Sakuragicho, as it’s a really nice place to take a kid. Yokohama gets called the Mecca of Gyaru-Mama, you know.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


45 Comments
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They have voluntary get-togethers once a month, for things like Halloween

Ya' Think! With that much make up on, what other day is appropriate?

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Three cheers and +1 Internets for Gurukun. If you have to chisel it off of your face, it is too much.

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'gyaru-mama' What about "Empty-headed, fake eyelash-wearing, pretentious, haven`t-got -a-clue, but am desperate to be famous mama? One look and I know why daddy hit the road Jack! And Brillian Lab? Almost peed in my boxers it is that funny! And the donating a portion for child abuse means .0000000001 of a yen to her hussle! Errr sorry cause! Pfff Another imposter Paris Hilton wanna be! My advice: Abstain from sex or have your scalp hunter wear a rubber!

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Where the heck is "Guy Papa"??? Someone should put an end to the "osoro-koode" immediately. God help her daughter or she may end up just as worthless and superficial.

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hmmm weirdly sexy for some reason

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This article is already slightly disturbing enough, but this:

Being a mother isn’t an occupation, but… [laughs]

...It's not? So, is it a hobby then? Being a PARENT is an occupation, it takes work and dedication like every other job. I know what she probably meant, but still, that needs to be clear to young people. It's telling that a lot of girls want to grow up and have this fabulous lifestyle and a baby, as if it's sooo easy. The reality is not that simple.

She's right, you have the right to wear whatever the heck you want while raising your kid, but in general it seems gyaru girls represent two things: materialism and THEMSELVES, so it makes sense why a lot of "normal" mothers probably looked down on her.

Anyway, I hope the best for her daughter. It sounds like Aki-san does seem to care, and I think the association is a nice idea, so good for her on that.

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Interesting stereotyping going on here, I wonder if in the photo she was a frumpy woman in a wool pantsuit if all these assumptions would be being made. As it is, she seems not only quite comfortable with the way she looks seems far less of an airhead than some of the posters.

She's doing something to better herself, the life she can offer her child, and also helping others in similar situations, that of being a young single mother in Japan or a wife who doesn't want to conform to their peer perceived fate.

I say more power to her.

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gogogo: I agree. I like big hair and lots of make-up.

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She may look foolish but it seems she is doing positive things for single mothers in Japan. My mom was one (back in the States) and I know how hard it was for her to raise me and also work to support us. Kudos to her.

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Looks sort of plastic.

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Kokorocloud, I agree. I have two kids and one on the way and I take my "occupation" very seriously. Its one you cannot afford to mess up.

However, I was actually more concerned about this bit

I get a kick out of coordinating things, so I’ll give us the same hair, go out in matching colors or styles, or sometimes with exactly the same outfits. I’ve got a daughter, so I do “osoro-koode” [outfit matching] a lot.

So her six year old little girl has the same hair and clothes as her? Little children should not have their hair dyed and permed. I've seen some of these little girls out and about. Ladies - children are not accessories! Have respect for their age please.

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I didn't realize at first that it was single mothers!! She's doing a good thing, but it's sad that it's restricted to only single mothers.

I personally am all for mothers having style!! Most of the mothers where I live dress frumpy and completely unappealing at all, no matter how young they are! WHY not just take 15 minutes and choose a trendy outfit and put on some makeup? I guess that it's not a priority now that they've got someone who "can't leave" (ie- because you have kids, your connection to that man is made forever), they don't have to care about their appearance anymore? I'm with what Oprah said-- look good for yourself! Dress nice for yourself! And you'll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes in your mood!

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Halloween everyday in their world.

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"I think it describes a mother who’s proactive and always trying her best—as a mom, as a wife, and as a woman—in whatever she does, whether it’s raising kids, keeping house or looking good."

That would just be a good mother, not a 'gyaru' mama. You forgot that you need garish make-up painted.

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I'm all for women wanting to look good and have style even when they become mothers, but the gyaru "mindset", if you will, is more than just that. I'm not saying that's how SHE thinks, but by the traditional definition of a gyaru, that's probably not a good example to set for the kids who will see her and think more about the nice clothes and hair and nails and makeup at the moment, rather than the having a baby part.

I don't look down on this woman as an individual though, and as I said, it sounds like she's doing a wonderful thing with her association.

And I agree smith-- her definition sounds like any good mother.

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She's quite hideous. She must be trying to compensate for something with all that junk on her face.

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"I used to get normal mothers talking behind my back. . ."

I'm sure many still do obaasan.

"but now people understand that this is a gyaru-mama’s right."

Yeah, and its my right to fart in a crowded train

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I'm surprised she has time & money to spend on her own appearance, I hope she's not one of those parents who puts their kids in yochien then never pays. I wonder if her own mama helps her out with the child care.

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in whatever she does, whether it’s raising kids, keeping house or looking good.

... what happened to work? Working mothers are more of an inspiration for women, surely!

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What are the go-to places for a self-respecting gyaru-mama?

They have self-respect?

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She looks great!! If she is a good mother and looks that yummy then all power to her.

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As soon as you become "mama" your "gyaru" days should be over. This is the poster girl for all those young, single mothers who decide to off thier kids because they get in the way of mom's play time.

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IronBeard - Raising children and looking after the house full time, if done properly and conscientiously, is work. All mothers are working mothers whether they are in paid employment or not.

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I get a kick out of coordinating things, so I’ll give us the same hair, go out in matching colors or styles, or sometimes with exactly the same outfits. I’ve got a daughter, so I do “osoro-koode” [outfit matching] a lot.

I'm glad to see that she is doing something in a group for single mother's, but I do hope that when her daughter gets older, she will not be one of those "Honcho" women who are way too old, but yet you see them hanging out in the clubs with girls half their age trying to relive their youth or bag some young guy who is fresh off the boat in order to rope him into getting married. I have seen far too many of that happening, and the problems that come of it.

This is the poster girl for all those young, single mothers who decide to off thier kids because they get in the way of mom's play time.

True. You may meet them out, but if you ask most guys, they wouldn't want a woman for a long term relationship who is a "party girl" forever. I wonder will her daughter pick up after her too and become a single mother.

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More power to you, Aki. Can't judge a gyaru by their make-up.

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Sure they do dumb things and she is treating her child like an accessory - she looks fabulous though. Would be happy to treat her like my accessory.

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These girls make me want to VOMIT!!! All my friends and family know I LOVE Japan. they have seen my amazing pictures of my travel from every inch of Japan. The have heard my stories. When I went home for the first time in 3 years LAST Christmas I brought them 1 magazine to show them that as much as I love Japan, trash exists in EVERY culture. I brought them a MaMa. A garu mother magazine. Show casing single raccoon makeup wearing, tongue sticking out mothers.

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"she looks fabulous though. Would be happy to treat her like my accessory." HUH?!??!?!?!?!??!?!? I think Japanese girls are the most beautiful girls in the world. This girl looks like a DIRTY mop!

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Lord help this country

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Lighten up JT detectives, I think her heart is in the right place. Kudos for helping dv single mothers and for starting some kind of help organziazation. Hopefully women will not leave their baby in a public toilet or on the side of the road.

Moral to the story- This organization is better than nothing. At least it helps single women find a group to chat & commuunicate with.I can understand many single women feel isolated from their families.

They are abandoned and disregarded from their families. I hope they prevent mothers from becoming prostitutes or porno stars. I hope this organization help people & especially the children.

I red the article on metropolis they had a huge picture with nothing but blonde single women.

Blonde is the uniform of japanese single mothers ?

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Utterly nuts! This country goes from bad to worse from wierd to completely bizarre.

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Interesting stereotyping going on here, I wonder if in the photo she was a frumpy woman in a wool pantsuit if all these assumptions would be being made. As it is, she seems not only quite comfortable with the way she looks seems far less of an airhead than some of the posters. She's doing something to better herself, the life she can offer her child, and also helping others in similar situations, that of being a young single mother in Japan or a wife who doesn't want to conform to their peer perceived fate. I say more power to her.

I agree with you.

Some posters here are so narrow-minded

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Brilliant Lab wasn't so brilliant when she got up the duff at 21 eh.

Has she grown brain cells since???

Or just curls and lashes...

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Interesting stereotyping going on here, I wonder if in the photo she was a frumpy woman in a wool pantsuit if all these assumptions would be being

made. As it is, she seems not only quite comfortable with the way she looks seems far less of an airhead than some of the posters. She's doing something to better herself, the life she can offer her child, and also helping others in similar situations, that of being a young single mother in Japan or a wife who doesn't want to conform to their peer perceived fate. I say more power to her.

Not being narrow-minded, but this lady is treating her daughter about the same as those people who treat thier dogs as humans and dress them up in little outfits to make them "cute."

If she wants to live a "fabulous" lifestyle, then so be it. But she needs to remember the things she used to do when she was not a mother, may not be so great as being a mother.

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When you have kids, especially out of wedlock, you should not be clubbing.

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When you have kids, especially out of wedlock, you should not be clubbing.

Anyone over the age of 25 who goes clubbing is an idiot in my book.

Grow up.

This "gyaru-mama" needs to grow up fast too.

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A lot of judging going on here because of the look. Can't say I agree with the cakey make-up, although there's nothing harmful about dressing up (assuming it's not highly inappropriate). We have no idea how these women interact in their personal lives and I certainly don't remember anything about "clubbing".

Matching clothes is something A LOT of parents out there do. Big deal. "Same hair" doesn't necessarily refer to using hair dye. The assumptions continue.

I believe she meant that parenting isn't a standard occupation by definition, but I know you're all looking for something to grab onto.

It's just a social outlet for young single mothers. There's nothing saying that all of these girls are living by the stereotypical gyaru bible. At least they're socializing, enjoying themselves and involving their children. A lot healthier than some other alternatives we see in Japan.

The only disturbing part of this article is this, "There was one magazine survey where junior-high and high-school girls picked gyaru-mama as their number one dream occupation". People are products of their societies, and this society is failing them.

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I just think it's strange that all of the ire is directed at this young woman who is devoted to her child and to doing something positive for the community, and none is directed at the fathers who leave these women to raise their children alone. It takes two to tango, after all.

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Looks aside, at least she's paying attention to her kids and doing work for a good cause. That is more than many Japanese mothers. I do wish she was a better role model but at least she's trying.

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Love it rico808. You just trash a lot of people for judging this woman, and then make your own judgment about her by saying she is not the type of role model young people should have. A little hypocritical, don't ya think?

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This is just ridiculous. Maybe this gyaru has some sense of being a good mother, but I don't have any faith in her dumb brethren hordes. I was trying to work out if I'm just getting old and conservative, but nah...I would've thought these people were freaky,vacuous and self-serving when I was younger. One thing that gives me hope is some of the kids I teach who get embarrassed when their freak show mums or dads show up to observe classes, and who are far more down-to-earth and intelligent than them. Unfortunately, giving these people the spotlight (whether they're well meaning or not), only encourages more stupidity. I could rant all day about other loopy blights on society: dog cafes, pet onsens, child-accessorising, handbag dogs etc... Modern society is seriously losing the plot.

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There are two gyaru mamas whose kids go to my daughters yochien. And yes, matching hair style does mean dyed and permed. I wasn't making assumptions.

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matching hair style does mean dyed and permed.

sometimes yes, but not always.

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MeanRingo...I think you've misunderstood my point. I never said she's inappropriate as a role model. You've made that assumption yourself. I'm pointing out the fact that #1 choice for young girls is to become a single mother. It's certainly shouldn't be a woman's first choice, although this one is making the best of it.

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Right hapagirl...so that applies to ALL of these children? Sounds like a general assumption.

Fishy...thank you.

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