The Null Device

the Japanese Mod scene

The Mod scene is big in Japan, with many young Japanese donning Union Jack-emblazoned army parkas and tightly tailored suits and cruising around on chromed Lambretta scooters, like extras from Quadrophenia. (via

Hoizumi counts at least three Mod revivals: The Neo-Mod movement inspired by ``Quadrophenia'' (and which eventually led to the Skins); an early 1980s resurgence built around the British group Style Council (the Japanese Mod scene remains a huge milkcow for Paul Weller); and a unique-to-Japan revival in the mid-1990s created by teenage photoceleb Hiromix, whose snapshots of herself and her friends in undies became an international artworld sensation.

But in some ways, whilst the scene is a knockoff of 1960s British youth culture (and also of subsequent "revivals" of Mod)

. Until recently, Japan's Mods have overwhelmingly come from the ranks of hairstylists, overworked, underpaid and image-conscious, who leave the suburbs and countryside with big city dreams of grooming stars and cutting it as ``charisma stylists.'' ... But the stylists have moved on with the Hiromix boom, and the Mods of 2002 are a cadre of college art students, graphic designers and apparel professionals. Many have had their parents buy their first bikes for them, and quite a few own several bikes. They seem more sure of themselves and aren't as interested in making a class statement as an aesthetic one.

Sounds a bit like Melbourne's Mod scene, which is mostly rich private-school kids using their classicist style of youth rebellion to differentiate themselves from the plebeian rabble north of the Yarra. I.e., like the Young Liberals only noisier and more stylish.

There are 6 comments on "the Japanese Mod scene":

Posted by: Miss Cheesecake http:// Tue Jun 4 06:52:16 2002

Shouldn't you be studying or something?

Go for a walk in the park. You need to get some fresh air, my friend.

Do I detect a massive chip on your shoulder?

Posted by: acb Tue Jun 4 12:00:33 2002

No, just my point of view and blogger's licence.

You are, of course, free to argue that the local Mod scene is more than a rehashing and fetishisation of a long-dead youth culture meaningless outside of its original context.

Posted by: Graham Tue Jun 4 14:08:57 2002

Well yeah. And the fact that there's enough biomass not occupied by The Struggle in Japan for weird fetishistic subcultures of all types like hair metal revivalists, Mad Max freaks, and Aussie Rules teams.

Posted by: Hugh http:// Tue Jun 4 15:25:06 2002

The early 80's (and late 70's) mod scene grew out Weller's first band, The Jam.

Posted by: bzackey Tue Jun 4 17:40:55 2002

If I had a nickel for every time I found some aspect of Japanese culture utterly confusing . . .

Posted by: Eron Tue Nov 22 10:47:36 2011

Hello, could you please contact me? I'm the editor of a Mod/60's magazine based in London and we'd love for you to contribute with us, you're a great writer. Can you please send us an email? , thanks!