No one who remembers the ganguro (black-face) girls of the mid to late 1990s will be shocked by Friday magazine’s little article on the hadeko (loud kids) of today, but it all gives rise to a bemusing question: How did the age-old quest for beauty become transmuted into a quest for weirdness?

It’s a kind of antibeauty that prevails in Shibuya-Harajuku, Tokyo’s teen mecca. Hair blue, orange and/or shocking pink; spectacles stylishly unstylish, clothing multicolored, facial expressions expressive of … something, no doubt, but it would take a rash outsider to presume to say what. Maybe simply expressive of expressiveness.

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