The Magazine “Olive” Made Japanese Girls Aware of The Rare Value of Girlhood and Maidenhood : The “Kawaii 2.0” Theory vol.6

| FASHION | Posted
The Magazine “Olive” Made Japanese Girls Aware of The Rare Value of Girlhood and Maidenhood : The “Kawaii 2.0” Theory  vol.6


On the subject of Japanese magazine culture and girls’ culture, there’s one magazine that can’t be overlooked. It was called Olive, and was founded by Heibon Publishing (now Magazine House) in 1982. This magazine, which appeared during the first wave of the “Kawaii Revolution”, completely stole the hearts of all the high school girls during this period. Translator and essayist Madoka Yamazaki recalls those days and describes them by saying,


“I really wanted to be like the heroine in this magazine’s story. That was the impression Olive left on me after first reading the magazine when I was 13. I had a burning desire to be the heroine in this magazine, more than just wearing and owning the clothes featured in it. I wanted to be called an “Olive Girl”, like the girls featured in the magazine.” (Madoka Yamasaki, “Olive Girl Life”)

I want to be an “Olive Girl”. That was the desire that began to blossom in the hearts of many girls in the 80s. But what exactly did Olive have to do with “kawaii” culture after the first wave of the revolution?

Read the past articles
vol.1 : Finding Where “Cuteness” Currently Lies
vol.2 : What is the Exact Origin of “Kawaii”?
vol.3 : Kawaii Culture Didn’t Exist at the Beginning of the Modern Age?!
vol.4 : Consumerist Society and the Birth of “Kawaii” Culture
vol.5 : The Word “Kawaii” Becomes Just for Girls, to Re-affirm Their Girliness

With the consumerist society that came about in the 70s, the word “kawaii” became a commercialized symbol. “Kawaii” became a target for consumerists, greatly increasing the desire girls felt. And so, magazines and other types of media began to capture this desire and sensitivity in girls. In our last volume we looked at how even now, the magazine an・an is still a leader when it comes to “kawaii” culture.



Going into the 80s this trend didn’t decline- it only became bigger. The launch of the magazine Olive is part of the backstory as to why. Originally Olive was published as a special edition of the wildly popular men’s fashion magazine, Popeye. In order to introduce a girls’ version of Popeye in light of the sweeping “city boys” fashion trend, it was launched with the tagline “Magazine for City Girls” and had many casual and stylish features.



Although the design of the magazine during its first period stuck out from the usual girls’ magazine framework, it suddenly halted publication in 1983. Then, about a month later, it re-debuted after going though a complete overhaul, without any of the city style left that it had before. Instead, it radiated girly romanticism from every page, and changed its tagline to “Magazine for Romantic Girls”. So it went from “City” to “Romantic”. One of the reasons for the magazine’s complete turnaround was the introduction as the “Lyceenne” as the ideal model.



…Kawaii culture cannot be talked about without “Lyceenne”. Never.

Sponsored Links


Writer, Book Reviewer. Having the degree of MA. (Japanese Literature) I love Japanese Girl's Popular Music, such as YUKI, Chara, Makoto Kawamoto, and Seiko Oomori.

comments powered by Disqus