Japanese Goth: Book review

20.5.09 - 22:59
Japanese Goth is the newest book from Tiffany Godoy author of 'Style Deficit Disorder: Harajuku Street Fashion, Tokyo'.

To be honest I'm still slightly confused about what the subject of the book is supposed to be. I understand that it's about art but there are hints that it was supposed to be specifically about its involvement with Gothic Lolita. Starting with a stack of Mana pictures even before the introduction by Novala Takemoto. There are also continued references to dolls and the 'dark side' of childhood; but if this is the case, why call it Japanese Goth? Did they just wimp out on the Lolita title? Was it due to a lack of understanding of the subject?

There are a couple of other problems I had with the book. Unfortunately some of the art has been spread over two pages - which means you miss the whole middle of the image unless you ruthlessly break the shiny black spine.

The other problem I had was specifically with this passage:

'Similarly there is also an awareness of the more primal urges or children, as intimated by the term "Lolita" which is used to describe this type of dress in Japan, while also being an overt reference to the temptress character of Vladimir Nabokov's novel about a man's obsession with a sexually precocious girl.'

Perhaps the author read the wikipedia entry rather than novel but 'Dolores' in the book is pretty much just a young girl taken advantage of by the main character. That's part of the point, Humbert is telling himself that she is 'tempting' him and 'coming on' to him, it's what makes it 'okay' in his mind.

Generally I think this book could have been improved by being a larger format with less words (creating a fantastic coffee table book) or having had a bit more research, become a more academic look at Gothic Lolita.

Having said that, the actual art in the book is superb. Juxtaposing artists such as Kira Imai with more darkly gothic imagery leads to a creative exploration of the Japanese dark/cute aesthetic which I personally find intriguing.


  1. It looks like an interesting read! thanks for the review xD

  2. You're welcome. Its definitely worth a look (especially since its only £9 on Amazon.)