on daily basis
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 33

Kogal, also known as Kogyaru is a fashion culture in Japan which revolves around Japanese girls’ school uniforms. These uniforms include very short skirts which are worn irrespective of weather and fashion season. Kogal fashion may seem a bit too outgoing for school going students, but extreme Western influence has made it very easy for them to flaunt such looks to school on daily basis.


Kogal fashion is very common throughout the country and pleases a lot of people. Kogal girls are distinctive and noticeable instantly. Their dyed hair, loose socks, stockings, scarves, and blushed makeup makes them super Kogal. Kogal fashion included various types of school uniforms and is not limited to girls in modern times.

Kogal – Etymology

Kogal word is a contracted form of Kokosei Gyaru which means ‘high school gal’. Back in the time, this Japanese word was originated by disco dancers and party loving people to differentiate between adults and minors. The term Kokosei Gyaru or Kogal is not used by the female following itself, but others.

These girls who follow the Kogal style call themselves gyaru meaning ‘gal’. This word was first used in 1972 in a television ad of a jeans brand. Later on in 80s, the word got increased popularity and stylish and fashionable girls were called gyarus. ‘Ko’ means young and hence, Kogyaru is used for young girls who are very fashionable and stylish. However, some people think that wakai gyaru should be the right word for young girls.

Kogal’s History

Although, Kogal fashion seems inappropriate due to super short skirts but it is far from that. It is not to be confused with the terms used for girls who ‘made their parents weep by exposing too much in the magazines’. In Japan, the 1900 century girls violated taboos against dating and relationships.

In 1920s, these salacious girls started adapting Western culture, and due to their heavy partying they were called as Mambo Girls by 1950s. In 1970s, when magazines started heavy portrayal of Kogal fashion, Japanese fashion started to disintegrate into two groups. The traditional Japanese fashion comprised the cute Kawaii Culture and on the other hand Gyaru portrayed a sexy and more evoking aesthetic.

Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 34

Famous magazines like Popteen and Happie Nuts published a lot of Gyaru content and contributed heavily in its promotion and popularity. It is also said that the editors of this content was involved in publishing and production of pornography as well.

The Kogal Language

Kogals invented unique words and phrases which also included various English words. These words and phrases were named “Kogal-go” which meant Kogal language. Not only Kogal-go became very trendy, but also even elderly people started using some of its words. In this section, we are going to talk about some of the widely used Kogal-go words.

See also  Japanese street fashion trends 2020
Kogal-go words
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 35

“Choberiba,” meaning ‘very bad,’ is made by combining ‘cho,’ which means ‘very,’ and ‘very bad.’

“Ageman,” means ‘a man who brings luck to women,’ and is made by adjoining a Japanese word ‘age,’ which means ‘up,’ and an English word ‘man.’

As the above words depict, most words of Kogal-go were contractions of two or more words joined up together. These words belonged to Japanese and English language. Moreover, Kogal-go also involves wide usage of the Roman Script. For example, HK is used for Hanashi Kawarukedo which means ‘by the way’ or BTW in English.

Kogal Characteristics

Kogals have unique characteristics which distinguishes them from other people. It is both physical and psychological. And as discussed earlier in the article, certain words and phrases are used by Kogals which makes them stand apart.

  • Kogals have tanned skin ranging from medium to dark shades.
  • They belach their hair into blonde, whites, and silver.
  • Kogal gyarus extensively use leg warmers, mostly white in color to keep themselves warm.
  • The school uniforms are derived from normal school uniforms, but the style is Gyaru-Kei which is a very popular Japanese sub-culture.
  • Hair is straight, wavy, and sometimes curly too.
  • Decorated and painted nails are common.
  • Kogals Super elaborate and vibrant accessories.
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 36

Unlike traditional Japanese girls, Kogals are much more fashionable and outgoing. They often roll up their skirts to shorten their length and wear loose socks and scarves to keep themselves warm. Many people refer Kogal uniforms as fake uniforms because of its unnatural and inappropriate look for a school student.

People who do not support Kogal fashion criticize the followers for intense and luxurious consumption habits. Use of branded products and high end brands makes them super conspicuous. Many Kogals also use a paid dating service known as Enjo Kousai.

Kogal Uniforms

As mentioned earlier, a big chunk of Kogal fashion revolves around high school uniforms. Checkered skirts, plain button down shirts, scarves, leg warmers, and bows around the neck are main features of Kogal uniforms. Kogals love to add the gyaru twist to their uniforms by wearing skirts with super short hemlines and leg warmers or tube socks.

Furthermore, Kogals commonly dye their hair blonde or bleach pale to make their skin look more flushed. For this purpose, they also use tanning sprays.

In modern times, the Kogal fashion has gained worldwide popularity. These days, fashionistas all around the globe include Kogal fashion in Japanese Kawaii Fashion as a sub culture.

See also  How Kawaii Culture Can Help Our Dystopian Society

Types of Kogal Japanese High School Uniforms

Kogal Uniforms have transitioned a lot in last couple of decades. A lot of styles and trends came and went fleeting by, but some became evergreen. Earlier in 1900s, their school uniforms started including Kimonos which is a very popular Japanese traditional cape, but as Japan modernized, the trend ended.

With Western influence, attitudes and choices of Japanese people changed. In late 1900s, student started rebelling. They no longer accepted or obeyed instructions given by school authorities regarding dress code. Students became more fashionable and headstrong, resulting in high adaptation of Kogal school uniforms.

Japanese students started changing their uniforms into more fashionable attires. For this, they went truly Kogal. The high-spirited and party vibe of Kogal fashion gave them authoritative mindset and made them flaunt elaborate and provocative outfits in schools. Some of the most popular Kogal School Uniforms are described below:

1.  Sailor Uniform

The most popular school uniform in Japan is the Sailor Uniform. Also known as Sailor Fuku, the dress is easily recognizable by its distinctive blouse which is designed like a sailor’s ship dress. It has wide collars and cascading rectangular fabric which covers the shoulders and upper back. Sash style collars and chest bows are also common in Sailor Uniforms.

Sailor Uniforms
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 37

The fabric print includes stripes and plain colors but sleeves are mostly striped and pleated skirts are paired with the blouse in various color combinations. The inspiration behind these uniforms is the European Naval uniforms as well as American kids’ fashion of that time. The sailor uniforms are a heated fashion trends in Japan.

2. Blazer Uniform

Modern yet extremely Kogal, Blazer Uniforms are current most style among Japanese high school girls. The uniforms varies depending upon weather conditions. In summers and spring, blouses are paired with skirts whereas, in winter and autumn, blazers and vests are paired with same skirts. Tie are also incorporated in the attire to give them subtle look.

subtle look
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 38

3.  Suspender Skirt Uniform

This uniform is equally popular among Japanese girls and boys. Two suspenders are used to connect the skirt or pants of the same color underneath which white or some other plain and pastel color shirt is worn. Students mostly choose this style for elementary school because of its childish look. Girls wear skirts and boys choose shorts or pants.

shorts or pants
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 39

Suspender Skirt Uniform is the most school-like option and looks less fake as compared to other Kogal Uniforms. This style shows more respectful and educational look and trendy adaptations are less likely to be intermixed.

See also  How to Dress Up in a Sith Costume on a Budget

4.  Uniforms with LGBT Considerations

Modern day Japan quickly accepted the LGBT rights as soon as they emerged in America. The law soon translated into fashion choices made in the country, and Kogal Fashion was no exception. Uniforms with LGBT considerations were introduced which are tailor-made in two options, male and female, and are used by students according to their gender preferences.

Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 40

The idea behind these uniforms is that they have to be worn properly, and if a student fails to do so, he or she is considered an underperforming individual at school. The Education Ministry of Japan made it clear that teachers have to accept students regardless of their gender preference.

Although, strong enforcement has made implementation easy, but the idea of LGBT considerations in school uniforms still spark talks among people and invites tractions from local schooling boards.

5.  Gakuran Uniforms

This Kogal Uniform style attracts the highest number of boys. Male students in middle and high schools are widely seen in Gakuran Uniforms. The colors chosen for it is normally black and navy or cobalt blue.  The top is buttoned from start till end and the buttons are usually decorated with school emblems engraved on them. Straight, creased pants are paired with these shirts along with dark colored leather strap belts. For the footwear, loafers and sneakers are popular choices.

popular choices
Getting to Know Kogal Fashion & Various Kogal School Uniforms 41

To show respect to schools and education, some schools have made customized collar pins necessary.


Fashion trends come and go. In early 1900s, wearing skirts was super fashionable. If a girl did not wear one to high school daily, she was considered unfashionable and very traditional. Therefore, they adapted Kogal fashion to upgrade their looks, and incorporated Kogal characteristics in their attire.

The Kogal school uniform designs are influenced by trending high street Japanese fashion. Obviously, school and board rules and regulations are followed, but nitty gritty aspects from current trends like number of buttons on shirt or depth of neckline influence these uniforms. Kogal fashion is still very popular among teens and is widely accepted in Japan. Although it is not criticized as it was before, but some negative connotations are still associated with this Japanese sub-culture.