Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on How Harajuku Fashion Helped Her Become a Pop Icon: Billboard Japan Women in Music Interview

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Japanese popular icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu sat down pinch Billboard Japan for its Women successful Music question and reply bid featuring trailblazing female players successful nan country’s euphony industry. Billboard Japan launched its WIM inaugural successful 2022 successful nan aforesaid tone arsenic nan established illustration of Billboard’s arena that began successful 2007, honoring artists, producers and executives who person made important contributions to nan euphony manufacture and empowered women done their work, nan highest accolade being Woman of nan Year.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is presently successful nan midst of her world circuit that kicked disconnected May 15. Since her debut, nan “Fashion Monster” vocalist has established a one-of-a-kind world pinch her unconventional style and has grown into an creator pinch loyal fans successful her location state and abroad. While nan Harajuku icon recalls that nan small woman who yet made her debut arsenic Kyary Pamyu Pamyu utilized to beryllium “shy and withdrawn,” she transformed her insecurities into her strengths arsenic she built her career. In this interview, nan KRK LAB explanation laminitis shares really she has weighted taking a measurement guardant without worrying astir really different group spot her, and encourages others to do nan same.

Could you show america astir nan women you looked up to increasing up?

I deliberation nan first personification I looked up to was my kindergarten teacher. She must person been successful her early twenties, and from my constituent of position arsenic a small girl, she was a flawless female who was cheerful and kind, could play nan soft and bully astatine making crafts. It wasn’t until I was a small older that I realized what a awesome personification my mother was. Especially aft I started surviving unsocial astatine nan property of 18, I came to recognize that my mother, who had been location for maine each along, had been doing various things to make our family’s life easier.

What were you for illustration arsenic a child?

Originally, I was awkward and withdrawn. I was besides easy swayed and wasn’t very willing successful manner until I entered precocious school. Even past I’d tag on pinch my friends to SHIBUYA 109 (fashion complex), and if personification said, “This dress is tiny truthful let’s get nan aforesaid one,” I’d beryllium influenced by that and extremity up buying one.

But aft I began hanging retired for illustration that, I saw immoderate apparel successful a model show successful a shop successful Harajuku 1 time connected my measurement location and thought, “That’s truthful cute!” It was really for illustration a bolt of lightning. That’s really I sewage into Harajuku manner and became much and much flamboyant. I really enjoyed wearing nan apparel I liked and going retired connected nan town, and it felt for illustration I’d recovered my spot successful nan world.

I ideate it would return a batch of courageousness for a awkward and withdrawn woman to dress successful large fashion. You didn’t consciousness immoderate hesitation?

I didn’t consciousness comfortable presenting thing successful beforehand of everyone astatine schoolhouse and drafting attraction to myself for illustration that, but I really felt happy erstwhile strangers connected nan thoroughfare looked astatine what I was wearing. I moreover wore constitution for illustration a clown, and moreover erstwhile group giggled astatine me, I felt for illustration I could guidelines proud and say, “This is me!” I was myself successful nan manner I liked, and that was erstwhile I began reasoning that was really I wanted to unrecorded my life. That has continued aft my debut arsenic Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

So Harajuku manner helped grow your world successful a awesome way. People thin to interest astir really others spot them, particularly astir precocious schoolhouse age, aliases are caught up successful stereotypes of femininity. Why do you deliberation you were capable to free yourself from specified stereotypes?

Back successful those days [in Japan], we had magazines that everyone publication that presented domiciled models that supposedly helped you go much celebrated [with nan other sex] successful a comprehensible way, truthful I deliberation I besides had a vague thought of really I should dress myself and do my hairsbreadth to beryllium popular. If that peculiar style had suited me, I mightiness person gone on pinch it, but I didn’t deliberation I looked bully successful it. I deliberation felt insecure astir definite aspects of myself and was trying to hide that aliases was make myself look beardown by wearing eccentric apparel and flamboyant colors. Especially aft I made my debut, I was complimented because I didn’t fresh into that model and that made maine happy.

If you were to springiness proposal to personification who wants to dress nan measurement they want to, for illustration you do, but consciousness hesitant astir doing so, what would you say?

I’ve had group show me, “I’m willing successful your style, Kyary-chan, but I can’t do it myself, truthful I’m contented to conscionable look astatine you,” and nan point that goes done my mind is, “Please conscionable effort it once!” My favourite quote is by [the Japanese author] Mariko Hayashi, who wrote, “Regret astir nan things you’ve done grows smaller by nan day, but regret astir nan things you didn’t do grows larger by nan day.” [from Yashin nary susume]. If there’s thing you’d for illustration to do, conscionable do it once, it’s OK if it doesn’t activity out.

[Hayashi’s] words really helped maine retired past year. When I performed astatine Coachella, 3 of nan 4 dancers who were expected to execute pinch maine connected nan 2nd play suffered wellness problems. My squad was concerned and suggested possibly I should cancel nan show, but I decided to spell up pinch it by myself. Until then, I didn’t deliberation it was imaginable [to do alone] but erstwhile I gave it a try, I managed to propulsion though for illustration Mario successful superstar mode. And I thought, “Why didn’t I effort it before?” I realized that I had been limiting my ain possibilities. There whitethorn beryllium a batch of things you tin do erstwhile you really effort them, moreover if you don’t deliberation you can, truthful I promote everyone to springiness immoderate a try.

You sewage joined successful March and began caller shape successful your individual life. I’d for illustration to inquire really this mightiness impact your activity arsenic an artist, but first of all, congratulations connected your marriage!

Thank you truthful much. I deliberation this manufacture is simply a world wherever there’s a spread betwixt nan glamorous broadside and everything else. There are times I find myself eating accelerated nutrient unsocial successful a area of a room aft performing connected a large stage. [Laughs] I deliberation it’s important for group to support each different precisely because it’s specified a world, truthful it’s reassuring to person personification I tin support who will besides do nan aforesaid for me.

While I’m not judge what will hap yet, I’ve thought astir having children. I often perceive of [female] colleagues who fearfulness nan spread [in their career] brought astir by childbirth, since women do request a play of rest. They’re acrophobic they won’t beryllium capable to return to their spot successful nan manufacture aft taking a break. Now that I’m married, I consciousness I request to look these issues decently by accepting that they happen. 

Having one’s profession interrupted owed to motherhood is simply a awesome rumor for galore women. Has being a female affected your choices successful immoderate different ways?

Around nan clip erstwhile I was successful precocious school, I deliberation location were moreover less female politicians than location are now, and I don’t deliberation location were galore women successful decision-making positions successful schools arsenic well, for illustration principals aliases year-head teachers. Things person changed now compared to those times, and I consciousness that nan world is becoming easier to unrecorded in. Having said that, I still sometimes find myself being nan only female creator successful nan lineup astatine euphony festivals and different events wherever aggregate artists perform, and person ever wondered why.

Also, I faced a batch of frustrating moments erstwhile I first started out. In summation to being a young woman, group wanted to dainty maine arsenic immoderate benignant of ditzy character, possibly because of my eccentric shape sanction and fashion. My comments successful interviews would beryllium rewritten arsenic being overly friends aliases rude successful tone, aliases nan writer would adhd thing like, “Kyary threw candy astatine america nan infinitesimal she walked in.” [Laughs] Then location were times erstwhile I would shake hands clients connected tract and they wouldn’t moreover look maine successful nan eye. Because of these experiences, I’ll ever retrieve nan group who were benignant to maine backmost then, and I want to make judge that I dainty everyone arsenic successful nan workplace.

That’t unacceptable, to beryllium treated without respect because of one’s gender aliases fashion. What do you deliberation is basal for women to thrive successful nan Japanese euphony and intermezo industry?

I deliberation [Japanese] nine is successful nan process of shifting into an era of caller values from that of nan old. For example, erstwhile a leader comes nether occurrence for making a derogatory remark astir women, they opportunity things for illustration it was meant to beryllium a joke. I find it difficult to judge that personification who said thing derogatory arsenic a joke would recognize that “times are different now, truthful I should alteration nan measurement I live.” It makes maine deliberation that people’s values don’t alteration that easily. If much group of nan younger procreation pinch caller values are fixed decision-making powers, that would make it easier for women to work.

—This article by Rio Hirai (SOW SWEET PUBLISHING) first appeared connected Billboard Japan

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