Best J-Pop: Gyaru Version, the Early Days

90s Avex Boom

Let’s travel back in time to 1998.

This is Amuro‘s peak period. She literally dominates Japan along with her main producer, Tetsuya Komuro. Between the two of them, gyaru subculture is taking Japan by storm, and Avex is widely disseminating para para dance routines from clubs like Xenon and Twinstar to sell their singles across the nation.

Through their domination of the music market, Avex – primarily through Namie – inspire gyaru culture to become mainstream. Gyaru subculture now revolves predominantly around the Amuraa – a look inspired by Namie herself. The insistence of choreographing most of their music to para para dance (a style that started during the boom period and was spread by Avex for their Super Eurobeat series) meant that Tetsuya Komuro and his Eurobeat songs are the main staples at every music and karaoke store.

An example Amuraa on the left, with her schoolgirl counterpart Kogal on the right from Nikkan Spa

So large was Amuro‘s influence that many Japanese will look back to this period in Japanese fashion and call it the era of the Amuraa Boom. This combined with the Kogal are the iconic fashion trends of this time. Through Amuro‘s success, Avex becomes the dominant player in the J-pop market, and other Avex acts – much of which were also produced by Komuro – will also find success, such as TRF, globe, Kahara Tomomi and Ryoko Shinohara.

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