Pagyaru, schoolgirls who hang out on the streets of places like Tokyo’s minor Mecca Shibuya while decked out in stuffed animal suits, are the latest “breed” of trendy teen in Japan, but their burning yearning to be accepted is also making them vulnerable conniving kid capitalists…
Pagyaru derive their name from chuto hanpa, the Japanese word for “half measures,” and gyaru, the local rendition of the English “girl.”
“Pagyaru are those birds who hang out in Shibuya. They get around in stuffed toy suits and dress up a little bit like the old yamanba, but haven’t quite got it right, which is why they’re chuto hanpa,” Weekly Playboy hears from Takuya, an 18-year-old guy who spends his spare time knocking around in Shibuya’s Center Gai district, the womb of most Japanese teen trends. “There’re younger pagyaru, too. They’re like junior high school girls who dress up in these really gaudy outfits.”
Acting as the magnet for the pagyaru are the huge schoolgirl party clubs that are most active in Shibuya and make money putting on tacky variety performances. Pagyaru apparently head into Shibuya from the sticks, then walk up and down along the few hundred meters of sidewalk between Center Gai and 109 department store, the area’s other main symbol of youth fashion. They’re hoping that one of the many street side touts active there will try and pick them up and pave their way for membership into one of the clubs.
Nanpashi, the Japanese word for the touts, are delighted with the pagyaru’s appearance.
“They’re the easiest targets out there. We belong to a club that’s pretty well known, so as soon as we tell them the name, they just melt. We take ‘em out drinking after big shows and then have our way with them after they get drunk. If they resist, we just do it anyway,” gushes Takashi, a 17-year-old pick-up professional, unashamed that his group is effectively mimicking Waseda University’s vile Super Free gang rapists club. “We don’t do anything to ruin the good name of our club, though. We give the pagyaru one of our guy’s phone numbers and make him work on her until she falls in love with him. The pagyaru bring in new friends and the more people that take part in our shows, the more money we make. Pagyaru have packed the audiences at most of our recent shows…”