For the last four years or so, new trends have been hard to spot here in Japan, but one thing I keep running into is the ’80s yankii revival. First, the band Kishidan showed up with their pastiche of 1980s Japanese rock and ultra-furyo style, and then companies started using the once-belittled “Rollers” ’50s-style dancers to sell cigarettes.
Now, the revival has made it to the video game world with Kenka Bancho — a GTA-style game that blends fighting, strategy, and romance set to the backdrop of early ’80s yankii culture. One of the fighting techniques is the “menchi beam” — a blue electrical beam approximating the devastation of the bully’s “cold stare.” Bancho is the word for the head of the school gang, and at the time, they were considered to be a huge social problem.
As I wrote in a recent OK Fred article, Japan is on a serious nostalgia kick at the moment. This is a relatively new occurrence, which I suspect stems from an increase of cultural self-confidence in the ’90s. Should a “postmodern” culture be so late to self-reference or is this a sign that the old “BUY NEW” consumer market is starting to bend backwards?