O-nii-kei: Gigolo Fashion

Progress Vanilla Perfect

Patrick Macias does a close reading of a new “mook” from O-niikei bible Men’s Knuckle: Host Knuckle. You may scoff at the idea that Japanese men would be so interested in dressing exactly like professional gigolos (who mainly service prostitutes and other paid-members of the demi-monde entertainment economy), but as I wrote for clast

O-nii-kei Blazes On

This O-nii-kei thing is a real movement. In more classical models of consumer behavior, fringe styles like this only rise to prominence after attracting mass audiences, thus gaining enough numbers to warrant mainstream press attention. In the case of O-nii-kei and Akiba-kei, however, we should at least entertain the idea that mainstream consumers have dropped out of the market so quickly (or at least, dissipated so throughly into their own micro-segments) that these “fringe” styles can set market records on their own. In other words, Japanese pop culture has become a game of the last consumers standing together.

Edelstein: Schoolboy Cafe

I know everyone loves all these schoolboy and maid cafes, but I personally wish Edelstein was the name of a new Jewish deli in Tokyo. I could do with a chocolate egg cream, matzo ball soup, an open-faced brisket sandwich, and potato latkes with applesauce right about now.

W. David MARX
February 8, 2008

8 Responses

  1. nate Says:

    http://www.bento.com/rev/2345.html <–David’s Deli.

    This Bon Jovi convergence of host / gyaruO / visual kei has taken over ABC Mart.

    So many boots I could never ever wear.

  2. statiq Says:

    It seems Macias systematically uses gyaru-o to refer to that style while you use onii-kei.

    Complete synonyms ?

  3. M-Bone Says:

    Do you think that the pimping of “Hosts” in popular works like “Yaoh” (manga and drama) and on a variety of “wideshows” have led to this becoming a mass consumption thing, or did the (niche-ish) mass movement inspire those pop titles in the first place?

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    “O-nii-kei” is the new term for the more refined style to come out of the gyaru-o subculture. Not perfect synonyms since gyaru-o is a bit more extreme and fits more with the ganguro. Gyaru these days have moved over to the more cleaned-up princess-y “Koakuma” (little devil) look, and it makes sense that the boys would also grow up and become the tough “big brother.”

    Hosts have gotten a lot of media attention over the last few years, and I am not sure why. Conspiracy? Big advertorial paychecks from the host clubs? I still don’t think they are open for mass consumption (too expensive for normal people, too trashy for most women who come from old money), but they have become “princes” to a certain segment.

  5. Patrick Macias Says:

    Most of my friends and associates still refer to “gyaru-o” when referring to the clothes and lifestyle. I hadn’t even heard of “O-nii-kei” until Marxy told me about it. Then again, you never ever hear either word when inside of those retail stores…

  6. W. David MARX Says:

    “O-nii-kei” is the term used in the trade press.

  7. M-Bone Says:

    “and I am not sure why.”

    It could be because of the wide appeal of “Host” popular culture.
    - Women swoon over it (not necessarily going to clubs but rather living vicariously through the pop visions)
    - Young men use it as a textbook for getting some
    - Older men watch it and complain about what the hell young people are thinking these days

    Also, thanks for telling us about “O-nii-kei” – I really didn’t know what to call this type of thing….

  8. Ian LYNAM Says:

    I second the burning need for latkes.