Pop with a purpose

Rina Sawayama’s ‘This Hell’ remix is dedicated to this Japanese subculture

Rina Sawayama‘s latest collab is pop perfection and a lesson on gyaru culture in Japan.

Rina knows how to serve up queer pop perfection. Her introspective lyrics keep fans in their feels, while the hypnotic beats keeps them on the dance floor. Now, her latest release, a remix to her glam-country pop hit “This Hell” with South Korean-Japanese rapper Chanmina, is sure to keep fans busy until the pop star releases a new album.

However, fans will notice that the collab between Rina and Chanmina, which is exclusively on Spotify as a part of their Spotify Singles series, is called the “gyarupi remix.” While many might be unfamiliar with the Japanese term, Rina was ready to educated the masses on gyaru culture aka “gal culture.” Rina posted a video on Instagram with the caption “This one is dedicated to all my queer gyaru babes! This Hell gyarupi remix ft. @minachanxx is out nowww” to give us all the details.

“Gyarupi is an important part of gal culture in Japan,” Rina said. “What is gal culture? Gal culture, it’s the original girl bosses. So in the 2000s and 90s, there [were] iconic gals, right?”

Rina then dived into who these iconic gals were.

“And gals represented the most powerful girlies of Japan,” Rina added. “Namie Amuro, Hamasaki Ayumi, and Koda Kumi. Gyarupi is the abbreviation of ‘gyaru’ and ‘peace’ and all the gals used to go like this for pictures.”

The video cuts to Rina and Chanmina doing an upside-down peace sign with their fingers.

So who are the new gyaru girlies? Don’t worry, Rina has the tea on who’s leading that embody “gal culture” today.

“The new gyaru girlies in Japan, I would say, Chanmina, XG,” Rina said. “They’re confident, they’re cute, they love fashion. I think Japanese girls have this reputation abroad that we’re like ‘all quite.’ But actually, these gyarus are loud as f*ck. That’s how I remember all teenage girls.”

Gyaru culture hit its peak in the ’90s, lasting for two decades. During this time, gyaru culture, divided into sub-cultures like kogyaru, hime gyaru, ganguro, banba, and yamanba, marked a wave of expression from youth that was reflected in music, fashion, and social class interactions. And with Rina and Chanmina’s gyarupi remix, they’re paying homage to one of Japan’s popular subcultures and educating the masses about gyaru culture.

“In this new remix of ‘This Hell,’ Chanmina talks about ‘I’m gonna gyarupi from the bottom of this hell’ and I wanted to spread the word of gyarupi,” Rina said. “So repeat after me, ‘Gya-Ru-Pi.’ Stream ‘This Hell’ the remix right now.”

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