|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Savvy schoolgirls of the Little Bubble beat the odds to become the 'special generation' 2008,03,11
AERA 3/10 By Ryann Connell
Japan's kobaburu babes, the schoolgirls of the mid-'90s who drove the country's trends, have plied the talents they picked up then to become a powerful force even today, though by rights they shouldn't be,according to AERA (3/10).
Kobaburu or "Little Bubble" women are now in their late 20s.
They're the same women who, as schoolgirls, were spoiled rotten by marketers a decade ago who gladly handed over cash and pricey valuables to them just to be able to boast that the items were hot among schoolgirls and thus hyper-fashionable.
For a few years from about 1995 on, schoolgirls wearing loose socks became the barometer of Japanese fashion, and they experienced their own little economic bubble like they'd watched their parents go through as Japan's economy burgeoned in the late '80s.
And the kobaburu babes have parlayed what they picked up during the halcyon days when they were the center of the country's consumer economic attention to put their talents to work in today's new economy, even though times have been tougher for their generation than any other in the postwar period.
"These women are part of the Lost Generation, the women for who it was almost impossible to find a career in a major corporation after graduating, but they have absolutely no recognition of this," Yasuko Nakamura of Boom Planning, a marketing company that centers its work on schoolgirls, tells AERA.
"For these women, changing jobs is a perfectly natural thing to do and they believe that if they missed out on getting a job at the place they most wanted to, they will still have a chance to get there in the end."
A feature of the kobaburu babes, the women's weekly says, is to utilize the networks they built up as schoolgirls while exchanging mobile phone numbers and purikura photos.
They're also advance planners and strategic thinkers.
"I always dress so that the first impression people get of me is that of an ordinary OL (female office worker). That gives people a surprise when they learn how well I can get the job done," says Chie, a 27-year-old movie company employee.
"It's pretty easy to make yourself look good."
Yuko Kitakaze, a representative of Dentsu Consumer Insight, a marketing company that has long tracked trends among the women now being called the kobaburu babes, agrees.
"On the outside, these women look flashy and powerful, but on the inside they're scared. Unlike the women who came of age during the bubble era and are likely to throw everything into making successful love and working lives for themselves, only to wipe out by drinking if things don't turn out that way, the kobaburu generation work things out in advance so things do turn the way they want them to," Kitakaze tells AERA.
"They use the communication tools that developed when they were high school students to form strong networks to cooperate together. They have a really strong group awareness."
And the kobaburu babes also differ from their elders by choosing early marriage and motherhood. Having struggled after graduating, they are also apparently aware of the importance of "seizing the moment" because happiness can be so fleeting.
Tomoki Shimano, chief editor of phenomenally successful fashion magazine AneCan, which targets the kobaburu women in their late 20s,is convinced this group is "a special generation."
"This is the same generation that made incredible hits out of the Tamagotchi, purikura and (AneCan predecessor and sister publication) CanCam," he tells AERA.
"But the schoolgirl boom of the '90s didn't come about because there was a power about the schoolgirls of the time. It came about because there was a tremendous power in the generation of women who happened to be schoolgirls at the time." (By Ryann Connell)
(Mainichi Japan） March 11, 2008