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Reading Journal — A Comparison of Clothing Styles and Values of Korean and Japanese Youth Subcultures Essay Example

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Korea and Japan are two countries in the Asian continent and tend to share a long history and the two countries in most instances exchanges and interact and have influence on one another. Though their clothing styles and clothing is viewed to be similar by a great number of people each of them seems to be different and unique.


A major similarity between the two youth subcultures is that they both wore white and black colors in most instances and at the same time used the primary colors when it came to their looks (Park, 7). It is also evident that the Japanese youth subculture normally applied the colors in a more elaborate and visual manner. While the Korean the neutral colors as being the main color and then used diverse pops of colors the Japanese were very comfortable with wearing a wide range of colors at the same time (Kim and Kim, 45).

It is also important to note that both subcultures mostly wear clothes made from the cotton, knits and denim materials. Though for the Japanese they were also fond of wearing velour, lace and fake fur (Park, 7).

A major difference that exists between the two youth subcultures is depicted in the silhouette. While the young Korean men wore, slim, natural and buggy silhouettes and the women wore tight or slim silhouettes (Kim, 60) this seemed not to be the case in Japan since a wide range of silhouettes was visible. The various kinds of silhouettes that were available to the women in Japan included the long H-line silhouette and the round silhouette. Also for men there was the unique silhouette.

Another major difference is that while the Korean youth subcultures tend to have a casual, clean and simple image (Kim, 60) their counterparts in Japan tend to have an embroidered image. The different images of the Japanese and Korean youth subcultures can be clearly depicted by the use of items (Richie, 66). While the Korean youth were used to wearing certain basic items for example jeans, sneakers and T-shirts despite the category of subculture they were in, their Japanese counterparts wore items for the portrayal of one looks and they also wore items that made them stand out for example hats and petticoats that were unique in a way.

The other difference between the two subcultures is clearly depicted through the accessories they use. The Korean youth tend to have a tendency of showing off and they opt to wear few but expensive accessories. The Japanese youth subculture on the other end tends to wear a multiple accessory and they are usually big-sized (Richie, 66).


Based on the comparison above it is clearly evident that the Japanese and Korean youth subcultures though they can be viewed as similar as they are also differentiated and each of the cultures seems to be unique in its own way. The subcultures tend to offer insight to the subcultures and also into the contemporary society, styles and cultures.

Work cited

Kim, Brandt, and Kim, Jinsang. “An investigation of the resistance of Korean subcultures – focusing on hip hop culture,” Research Academy Journal 5 (2002): 25-55.

Kim, Sung. Lives of Korean youths, Seoul: Korean Society Research Center. 2000. Print.

Park, Judy. “An investigation on the significance of current Japanese youth subculture styles,” International Journal of Fashion, Design, Technology and Education 4 (2010): 1-7. Print.

Richie, Donald. The image factory: Fads & fashions in Japan, London: Reaktion Books Ltd. 2003. Print.