While the Republican Nation Convention rages on in the USA, Japan has experienced some political shake-up of its own as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, of PONPONPON fame, has been appointed as the “Kawaii Ambassador of Harajuku.”
Yesterday at Harajuku’s iconic Laforet Shopping Center, the Shibuya Ward Harajuku Jingu-mae Shop Association held a ceremony where Kyary was bestowed with this honorific title.
A very sensible question to ask now is, “what exactly does the Kawaii Ambassador of Harajuku do anyway?”The goal is, “to spread Harajuku culture and fashion around the world and also to breathe new life into the Harajuku Jingumae area itself by being a symbol of kawaii and spreading youth culture.”
In truth, Harajuku does owe a lot to Kyary. Although the area has been a healthy tourist and shopping destination for decades, invading foreign “fast fashion” retailers such as H&M and Forever 21 changed the ecosystem over the last few years by driving up the price of local real estate and taking the focus away from domestically produced Japanese fashion (here's an article I wrote about this effect back in 2008). But with the help of die-hard Harajuku labels such as 6%DOKIDOKI and SPINNS backing her up, Kyary’s meteoric rise to stardom in the wake of her music and videos, has indeed helped to turn the tide a bit.
At the ceremony, Kyary gave thanks for the long selling power of her first album “Pamyu Pamyu Revolution” and the huge success of PONPONPON at the almost 400-year-old Onden Shrine…the same shrine she prayed at on the day of her debut. She also performed a selection of her hits with backup dancers in tow.
Her dress was specially made for the ceremony by sewing on lots of rosettes and arranging toys she bought along Takeshita Street in Harajuku. She really wanted a decoration to go with her appointment to the ambassadorship, hence the medal of honor feel. There were also toys accenting her blond wig.
Kyary (real name: Kiriko Takemura) said, “I'm really truly happy! Thank you! … Kyary Pamyu Pamyu" is my second life that started in Harajuku two years ago. I'm going to spread kawaii culture all over the world and stun people everywhere!"
Her first official job as Kawaii Ambassador will be to participate in the HARAJUKU KAWAii!! FES 2012 event on September 22 and 23. But yeah, everyday PON, everytime is PON...