Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Forget duck face. And sparrow face. The latest photo trend to hit the streets of Tokyo's Shibuya is to look down when someone snaps a pic. Kinda defeats the purpose of taking photos, no?

The latest photo trend to hit the "gal" (ギャル or gyaru) subculture was recently covered by Japanese television and has become a topic on Twitter and 2ch, the country's largest online forum.

Gal or gyaru are young Japanese women famous for their outrageous fashion, which differs from the more subdued outfits many young Japanese women wear. This is not mainstream fashion, and this is not a mainstream trend. Yet. Dun, dun, dun.

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

The Japanese media is dubbing this the "Face Down Pose;" however, I'm certain there is some clever gyaru slang for it. Online in Japan, many people seem baffled. This pose is unusual! Compare these images to gal pics from last spring—everyone in those pics is looking at the camera.

For this new trend, when the gal aren't simply looking down, they are also covering their faces with their hands, their phones, and sickness masks. It's as if they are camera shy.

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

"This defeats the purpose of photos," wrote one commenter. "Even though they're gyaru, they lack self-confidence," added another. I... dunno about that! One theory even says that the gals are secretly ashamed of their fashion and hiding their faces for, I guess, the day they leave the life?

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Like with most things in gal culture, this might be another way for them to rebel. Gal fashion flies in the face of traditional concepts of Japanese feminine beauty: black hair, pale skin, and conservative dress.

Gal fashion is the polar opposite, and in these photos you can see gals (and their male friends) likewise rebelling against convention—here, photographic ones.

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

It's either that, or young kids tilting their heads to make their eyes look larger, their faces look smaller, and to show off their hairdos. Think of them as "hair smiles." Yeah, that sounds about right. Hair smiles.

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Japan's Latest Photo Trend: Hair Smiles

Next up, the world!

These photos are from the Twitter account of gal fashionista Harutamu, whom Kotaku previously featured. She seems to have invented this trend, and the attention it's getting will probably cause it to spread among other gals. So, um, thank her for that!

イマドキギャルの写真のポーズwwww [Hayabusa]

渋谷のギャルのポーズだってさ [@f_mkiyl_s_u]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.