Who’s that gal? Japanese (Pre)Schoolgirl Inferno Winner!


A while back we introduced our Pop Culture e-newsletter subscribers to the wild world of Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno. This guide to Tokyo teen fashion catalogues the different subcultures that have emerged since the 1970s, giving play-by-play instructions on how to recreate the look of each “gal.”


According to the book, the term “gal” began circulating in Japan in the 80s and today is used to describe “young women who simply dress trendy and sexy.” There are different categories of gals–Bad gals, Sexy gals, Arty gals–and each has a history, a profile, essential accessories, even an ideal boyfriend.


We asked our readers, What kind of gal are you? Think you’ve got what it takes to enter the Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno? We got a bunch of great (and hilarious) responses, but one entry clearly stood out among the rest. Her style was boho hipster-meets-punk rock (layered ruffles and embroidered cotton paired with a knit cap straight out of Pretty in Punk). And she definitely had attitude.


We did have to dock points for the lack of a 3G mobile device in her hand, however. No Japanese Schoolgirl would be caught dead without hers at the ready (even if she were only 3 years old). Although we did notice that our preschooler was holding something. The panel was split on whether it was a really long blade of grass or a gecko. The gecko is less probable, but it might explain the face.

Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who sent in photos!

Guinevere Harrison

Guinevere de la Mare

Guinevere de la Mare is a writer and editor based in San Francisco. She was the senior community manager at Chronicle Books from 2009-2014.

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  • Naomi December 4, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Frighteningly, she likes to keep her copy of Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno on her nightstand and leaf through it for inspiration. Today she wore a purple polka dotted dress and velvet striped pants to school. She is so much cooler than her mommy ever was…


  • Guinevere Harrison December 5, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Uh-oh, Naomi, sounds like you’ve got quite the fashion diva on your hands! I love her style, but you might want to keep her away from the Cartier book for awhile… at least while you’re footing the bill for her wardrobe!

    Thanks for the note,


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