Masayuki Yoshinaga interview

masayuki oshinaga

Tokyo-based reportage photographer Masayuki Yoshinaga has recently turned his camera onto people following two underground sub-cultures of Japan: Gothic Lolitas and Bosozoku (Japanese biker gangs). Keller of EGL Magazine got to hear what he really, really thought of Gothic Lolitas.

Most people will instantly recognise the Gothic Lolita style, characterised by frills, lace, ribbon, bows and bonnets: a sinister twist on British historical style, as the Japanese take on the punk rock and new romantics fashions of Britain in the 1980s.

Japanese street fashion has also been greatly influenced by the clothes dorned on the music stages of Japan – by Visual Kei, or visual rock bands (ften referred to as J-Rock).

Beyond the musical and historical influences, the Gothic Lolita look now draws on inspiration from films, animations and computer games.

When asked where his inspiration for his photography is drawn from, Masayuki Yoshinaga simply answered “Japan”, the same influence he believes his photography subjects draw their fashion inspiration from. Although the style has some roots in British fashion, the style seen on the streets of Japan is individual and unique.

Masayuki’s photography seeks to find the person inside the fashion, with accompanying information snippets: where they bought their clothes, what they have hand-made, what they sum up their style as. He claims to favour photographing “people with a great deal of personalities”.

But despite the British love, and often, obsession with this unique Japanese fashion wave, Masayuki said of the style: “It’s not purely original. It is rather a remake of imported fashion. It’s gaudy, but I don’t think it’s iconic.”

Masayuki Yoshinaga  Masayuki Yoshinaga

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