After endlessly listening (and watching) her PV on YT of her addicting and energetic debut single PONPONPON, I started searching around the net for more information about teen fashion icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu1. Despite her doll-like looks and her all-out eccentric style, this 18-year-old seriously made a name on her own that shot her to instant public fame without any connections from the industry or any type of fluff that many popular icons would go through just to have themselves become a household name.
Behind Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is Kiriko Takemura (born January 29th, 1993), an average Tokyo high school student, a fashionista at her own right and an internet junkie who started making her presence as a blogger focusing on the eclectic, eccentric yet unique world of Harajuku Street Fashion2. Eventually she also joined the trend by blending in with the rest of the Harajuku fashionistas, which in turn, also caught on camera along with the others showing off her unique style. Her style attracted many die-hard fashion experts that she was offered to model for Harajuku style-themed fashion magazines Kera! and Zipper, garnering her a measure of fame. Soon afterward, she became a self-trained entrepreneur by opening her own product line of fake eyelashes called Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing & Kyary and also began appearing in high-scale fashion shows all around Japan. All of these, she did it all on her own, just under the age of 18.
She graduated from high school around the time the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami occurred in March 2011. On the aftermath, on April 2011 Kyary launched and fronted a charity event called One Snap for Love with legendary Japanese fashion editor and photographer Yasumasa Yonehara and fashion brand 6%DOKIDOKI to raise money for the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami relief. Along with her fundraising, she continued on her iconic fashionista work, promoting Harajuku-style fashion to the masses, modeling, being a spokesperson at various events and continuing on blogging about the style itself, her events and causes, which in turn built a huge following from the masses, primarily average teen girls who not only find her eccentric persona and her unique style attractive but her efforts to build herself from the ground up to be successful also made her a role model for girls everywhere.
Other than fashion and the internet, her other two hobbies are music and comedy. She began a singing career on July 2011 by releasing her debut single PONPONPON. The song itself is familiar to eletropop dance music scene, but the video illustrated the cutesy decora and kawaii style with exaggerated candy-colored motifs and surrealism altogether. The music video was first released on YouTube (probably because she knew that her primary target audience would be the netizens who constantly followed her ongoing fashion blog site) by Warner Bros. Japan on July 20th and became an instant viral hit. Eventually the video and the song reached outside Japan, which also helped making the song and the video a continuous viral hit. The song also reached #72 at Billboard Japan’s Hot 100s Chart on July 31st. The video was also featured in MTV‘s new show Bigger than the Buzz, dubbing the video as “one of the craziest videos ever!”
Along with PONPONPON, she released her debut mini-album called Moshi Moshi Harajuku (Hello Harajuku) on August 17th, distributed throughout the internet in 20 countries and she became a worldwide sensation. Her second single from her mini-album, Jelly, was released on iTunes on August 3rd.
To this date, we’ve already defined Kyary as a blogger, a fashion model, a spokesperson, and a recording artist. After the release of her mini-album, we can also add author in her list of self-built occupations. She also wrote a book, an autobiography of herself depicting her beginnings up to the point where she is today. The book is titled Oh! My God!! Harajuku Girl, and is now on sale (in Japanese) in Amazon Japan and other bookstores everywhere. Her autobiographical book may be interpreted as an inspiration that patience and hard work can truly bring you success in any industry if you put your mind to it, just like she did starting with her blogging. If it can happen to her, so can the average person.
Although she is now in the world public eye, so to speak, she has never forgotten her roots that got her to where she is today. She still continues to blog on the subject matter that she loves, in addition to her experiences through the industry and events, photos of what’s in and what’s upcoming, in addition to photos of herself in a variety of her distinctive attire. With her product lines and her music and her fame, she seems to relate herself more to the average street fashionistas and the netizens, where she found herself belonging from the beginning. She didn’t let fame get to her and change her at all. Some people who follow her often compared her to Lady Gaga in both fashion sense, unique personas and their accomplishments, but personally I think that’s simply injustice. Both Kyary and Lady Gaga are two unique individuals who have the gift and talent in their own genres and in many ways both are out to inspire and encourage everyone.
With this in mind, I believe Kyary will definitely go to places everywhere around the world as long as she continues what she’s doing now and what she loves, be it through her fashion sense, her popular fashion blog, through her music or even through her book.
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s WAY WAY BLOG (Japanese)
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Official Website (Japanese; her profile section is also written in English)
- Wikipedia: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
- Tokyo Fashion
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Twitter (Japanese)
- Kyarmy Twitter (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Fans’ Twitter – English and Japanese)
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s YouTube
On the sidenote...
- Pronounced as “carrie-palm-yu-palm-yu”. Her nickname also happens to be “Carrie” [↩]
- Harajuku Style should be a household name among the world’s die-hard (street) fashionistas by this time. After all, it was No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku Lovers apparel brand that introduced this unique fashion style to the mainstream 4-5 years ago [↩]
- Kyary + Army = KYARMY [↩]