Clash of the parental culture and new generations in Japan marks the conflict of patriarchal tradition and modern streams of individualism and liberalism. Youth initiative in the form of subcultures implements its ideological values into mass culture through the process of naturalization, which makes it acceptable within the dominant ideology. This process is so successful that the boundaries of pop culture, high art and subculture in modern Japan are mixed and almost lost. Japanese subcultures are not against capitalism and consumerism as western subcultures are; instead they are actively using them because they are opposite to traditional, conformist values. Their action has formed strong alternative fashion industry as a unique, creative and “thrift fashion culture”. Japan’s fashion bricolage (mukoseki) confronts traditionalism, nationalism and globalism by subversion of national and traditional symbols in the process of glocalisation. At the same time it generates transtextual, original and recognizable Japanese subculture styles. Japan’s youth and subculture movement is distinctive by its feminine character, girls are leaders of subcultures and their actions are expressed through girls’ culture (onna no ko bunka) which is based on shōjo and kawaii phenomena; expressions of extreme femininity and declarative refusal of growing up. Boys accept and follow girls’ initiative by taking over characteristics of female identity in order to rebel. Female culture with its playful, romantic, colorful and sweet nature becomes a symbol of resistance to rigid masculine world of standardization, order, control, rationality and seriousness.
Japanese subcultures, shōjo, kawaii, subversive consumerism, girls’ culture.