“There is no culture in Tokyo, and that’s why I speak out”



Right now the in the midst of all Japanese culture, we find that the ‘Neo Gyaru’ is attracting a lot of attention (‘Neo Gyaru was previously known as TGU’). The style has also been featured on TV, in magazines, and many other types of media. At the forefront of it all is Alisa Ueno, who is said to be the charismatic leader of the whole fashion movement. Here is our interview with her, in which she tells us exactly what she thinks about Japanese culture and ‘Neo Gyaru’!

ギャルの新勢力として、今東京カルチャーの中でも注目を集めている“ネオギャル”(以前TGUでも紹介しています)。テレビや雑誌など、最近はメディアでも多く取り上げられています。そんな中、ネオギャルのカリスマと呼ばれている植野有砂さんにTGUが独占インタビュー! 東京カルチャーやネオギャルについて、正直な気持ちを語ってくれました。

You are a fashion producer of brand FIG&VIPER, a famous model, a DJ… There are many people that wonder, “Just what does Alisa do?”. In your own words, how would you describe yourself?



Well, it’s actually become quite normal to have more than one occupation, so you could say my main thing is fashion, but that it is not everything. It’s quite common abroad, for example, for a person to be both a stylist and an editor, right? That’s how I feel about it. It’s not as if my DJ work is something I simply do for fun, and if someone books me for a modeling gig I always go.


I also think it’s true that from now on the number of people working multiple jobs will increase. But even if you put it like that, you sure are energetic!! (laughs). It looks like you are always having a good time. On Instagram I always see pictures of you going on vacation and hanging out with friends. You make sure to get work done, but you don’t miss you chance to have fun either. What gives you the energy to keep up?


On social networks, I like to send the message of “Get out there and DO things!”. I think anyone becomes jealous when they see others having so much fun, but then I just say “then you go do it too!!” (laughs). When I speak out it is my hope that those young people are listening and, as a result, more people become energetic! Let it become something that gets you going. After all, when you compare Japan to other Asian countries, we’re ‘losing’. In Korea, Thai, Taiwan, Singapore… everyone is so cool and alive and their culture has real momentum. In comparison, looking at Tokyo right now, we’re in really bad shape. People don’t gather their confidence and shout ‘Tokyo!!’. But we do have some people in Tokyo that are on top of it, and I want to share that with people abroad.


When you say that people don’t shout ‘Tokyo’ with confidence, could you please elaborate what you mean?


When you look at the girls just a little bit younger than me, they don’t go clubbing or really listen to music that much… so many of them starting asking themselves, what is their ‘culture’ now? Even if clothes are cheap, as long as they are still (at least a little) cute, they are fine with that. I feel like they have no real passion with anything right now. Of course not everyone is like that, but there are no younger girls out there grabbing attention. That is what the current situation is like, so there’s nothing really in Tokyo’s culture right now that can be called alive and happening.

やっぱり、私の世代より下の子たちは、例えばクラブ遊びもしない、音楽もあまり聴かない、カルチャーって何? っていう子が多いんです。服も、安くてかわいければそれでいいでしょ? って子も多い。何に対してもこだわりがないような気がしていて。もちろん全員が全員そうっていうわけじゃないけど。でも目を付けてる年下の子もいないし。そんな現状だから、今これが東京のカルチャーで、だから東京イケてるでしょ? って言える素材が全然ない、って。

Are you saying that you would like to help create it [Tokyo’s culture]?


More than that, I just think it would be nice if everyone realized there is a need for a change and started the movement. It’s not that I want to create a certain culture or make Neo Gyaru popular. Although I think it’s fine that I wear the clothes I want to. But there are some girls that emulate my style, say it’s nice. If people look at me and see me saying, “Let’s get Tokyo’s culture back on track again” and then they start to feel the same way, I really think that’d be great.


Neo Gyaru is being picked up and presented by the media quite a lot recently. How do you feel about that?




Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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