Jun Togawa is an ingenious singer from Japan, mostly active in the 80s and 90s, whom this website has already covered a few times (read about her approach to art and lyrics, her intense growl-pop song “Punk Mushi No Onna” and her view on love). Today I’m gonna write about something else regarding her: her dank fashion.
She always looks cool in her outfits. But can her fashion tell us something more, besides being just a pretty surface? Is there anything behind the colors and materials that has a thing or two in common with her music? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to find out! And if a serious analysis of her style doesn’t lead to anything specific, this text could also be a suiting gateway into Jun Togawa’s genius. Many seem to understand her song “Suki Suki Daisuki”, but the rest of her work is pretty obscure, so by starting at surface-level maybe you’ll have an advantage in understanding the Jun Togawa world.
Here are ten of her most iconic fashion moments:
1. Robot arm (Radar Man, 1984)
This futuristic robot arm is used in “Radar Man”, one of Jun Togawa’s earlier hits.
While looking for Jun Togawa trivia in a “BBS” made by an extremely passionate fan, I stumbled upon what must be the creator of the robot arm. He wrote two blog posts back in 2011 about its story and how it was produced – a real gold mine for fans who have seen her perform with the arm.
2. Butterfly wings (Tamahime-Sama, 1984)
Insects are a common theme in Jun Togawa’s songs, and in Tamahime-Sama they’re used as a metaphor for female body functions. This specific prop says a lot about Jun by showing her typical way of being cute and eccentric. It looks spectacular, and it’s hard to miss her on stage when she bounces around with wings the size of herself while singing, shouting excitedly and staring at the camera.
3. Sailor outfit (Suki Suki Daisuki, 1985)
One of many outfits/characters in Jun Togawa’s most famous and iconic song “Suki Suki Daisuki. It’s only visible for a few seconds in the music video, but still it has succeded to inspire projects like “Bis Kaidan” who made a cover of the same song in 2013.
4. Bling and gold (Live show, 1985/1986)
A fabolous outfit from an outstanding performance in 1985/1986. This one is just nice and shiny. I’m not always sure if the visual elements are connected to the songs, or if Jun just comes up with an extravagant idea and goes for it. It doesn’t matter, because telling a story through a pair of butterfly wings and simply choosing 10+ layers of gold by gut feeling is equally awesome.
5. “B.A.D.” (Barbara Sexeroid, 1987)
Barbara Sexeroid was one of the first works Jun Togawa did after going from a solo artist to front-person of the band Yapoos. Here she shows more skin than usual, after having refused to go in that direction earlier, as part of the new “rock band” direction she decided to take when the band started (source).
6. 20s/30s style (with Guernica, 1988)
Jun’s time with the duo “Guernica” included several retro-styled clothings. She stated in an interview that a “retro boom” came shortly after the duo paused, and that people thought it would be a perfect time for her to use the retro style’s popularity to her advance. But in the same interview, Jun said that her sense of the times isn’t that good, and elaborated about both her choices with the Guernica retro style and her clothes in “Barbara Sexeroid”:
“If you have a sense of the times, you can put it in one of the three: new, popular, old… However, at that time, there was no fashion like hanging fishnet tights with a garter and wearing hot pants as seen in the PV of “Barbara Sexaroid”.“ (auto-translated quote)
“If you take advantage of it when it’s popular, it will be called “old” later on” (auto-translated quote)
“Since that time, I have been looking for universality in costumes. I tried not to follow trends as much as possible, because they would always become old if I followed them. At the time, the costumes I wore in Yapoos were not at all trendy, and I did not do it thinking that such outfits would eventually become popular. So I had no sense of being ahead of the curve.” (auto-translated quote)
This could explain how she still holds up to this day. And how I easily can write about her fashion like it’s still as cool even after 30 years. It’s timeless stuff, you don’t really find much 80s cringe in her outfits, it’s always her own unaffected take on something.
7. War child (Virgin Blues, 1990)
From the music video for “Virgin Blues”, Jun Togawa’s return to solo works after two albums with Yapoos and one with Guernica.
8. Insect accessories (TV show, 1991)
What’s more to say than: Watch the video, and get prepared for the next fall by watching Jun show you all of her insect accessories?
9. “Dad on vacation” (Live show, 1992)
A live show from 1992 where she “dresses like a dad on vacation”, according to a Youtube commentator. Either she has an elaborate thought behind it, or she wears it to be goofy, or it’s the 90s.
10. Her new style (2020-?)
Since the beginning of the 2000s Jun Togawa hasn’t appeared that much in public, and until a few years ago she did stuff like asking people not to take photos at her live shows. This attitude seems to have changed lately, as she appears frequently on her own Youtube channel, where she gives life counseling to viewers and sings her old songs in new renditions. And: she always has a cool hat on her, tilted to the side like a gangster. It’s refreshing and makes me happy.