A Japanese subculture called B-style congregates young adults who have fallen in love with American Hip-Hop and Black culture
In 2011, Metropolis published a 5-minute documentary highlighting the subculture of B-style which shortens the words “black” and “lifestyle” and brings them together with a hyphen. About a minute into the video, viewers are introduced to Hina, a B-Style leader who works at Baby Shoop, a Japanese Hip-Hop lifestyle/clothing store with the tagline, “black for life.” Hina speaks no english, but accompanied with a translator, gives a tour of her everyday life. From a inside look at Baby Shoop and a walk through of her weekly tanning duties, we are introduced to lovers of Afican-American culture on an international level.
Among idolizing rappers like 50 cent, Hina can be seen reading The Source Magazine (Aye, we’re international!), one of the ways she stays updated on hip-hop activity and culture. So exactly what do these B-stylers do for fun in Japan? Attend B-Style events. The large group of culture lovers gather and breakdance to Hip-Hop and R&B music.
But it’s more than just being a lover of the content, according to Hina you have to look the part. Every week, she visits a tanning booth to achieve a darker skin tone, in hopes of looking more like a person of African-American descent (B-style men do this too…), as well as wearing a lighter shade of brown contacts to make her eyes appear bigger. Hina wears curly braids and acrylic nails similar to the styles that we see in Black America. In an interview with photographer Desiré Van Der Berg, Hina says she wishes she looked like singer Ciara. Her mother is also seen in the Youtube video, she doesn’t shun her daughter for her expressionism, but considers it just a phase that she’s going through during her younger years.
How do you feel about Japan’s B-style movement? View the gallery, watch the video and Drop a comment below and let us know.
[Vice has contributed to this article. All photographs are property of Desiré Van Der Berg]