Sukeban: The Girl Gangs of 1970's Japan


The girl gangs of Japan has been romanticized in the media -- from dramas to anime. But they did exist for a while, and the 'sukeban' was all about rebellious aesthetics against the immaculate image of the Japanese school girl.

The translation of 'sukeban' is synonymous to the slang 'girlboss', and it was a subculture that emerged in the late 1960's of Japan. After the Provoke-era, more people were more outspoken and assertive. Individualism was becoming a right. But the notorious Yakuza groups do not accept women as members, hence the emergence of the female 'yanki' culture.

It all begins with the sailor-style uniforms, an unwanted symbol of tradition. Normally, the uniform would often be associated to 'kawaii' (cute) culture like in Sailor Moon, but the 70's introduced the delinquent girls, those who would wear unusually long skirts, converse sneakers, untied scarves, unruly socks, and sometimes cut blouses to expose their waists. The key was to look 'scruffy' than prim-and-proper. Little makeup as well. The girls would really convene along with each other, and sometimes it would be marked with violence, crime and motorcycles, similar to its Yakuza counterpart. Even when they graduated, the would still contine to wear their colors.

Sadly, this subculture was timed. When it brought all girls to the front. The style of a 'bad girl' was changed into heavy make-up and mini skirts, and it would be called 'gyaru'. It would give birth to gyaru-based subcultures like the ganguro and kogyaru.

But the influences of the sukeban continues to live on as a reminder to Japanese fashion-goers, that's okay to be wild and different.

Images are from Dazed Digital.

2017-08-17 #culture #japan #1970s #sukeban


  1. montagu
    montagu ·

    love it

  2. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    remind me of young haruko amano at amachan j-dorama <3

  3. kasta72
    kasta72 ·


  4. lofnikolas
    lofnikolas ·

    love it,too

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