Yesterday was the 3 month anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. No better time than now to look closely again at one of my favorite Japanese male fashions: gatenki (ガテんキ). As J-son noticed immediately on his first visit, gatenki combine making-stuff masculinity with super baggy pants that are vaguely Yoji Yamamoto in styling.
On weekdays I escape the tedium of rote learning for a balcony break overlooking a construction site for a 20-some story office building. It’s fun to watch the cranes, steel, and heavy equipment, but even more sublime when my break time coincides with theirs.
I feel safer and intrigued by daily sightings of these ninja-like male fashion icons.
Construction workers in Japan (called gatenki) wear the most fashionable work clothes. Often paired with two- toed shoes, they wear these huge balloon pants. My friend J-son thinks they are very Yoji Yamamoto. Many also have colored and fried hair, few eyebrows, and what seems to be copious tattoos. I like how they interact with each other and the city: aloof from outsiders, intimate with one another. I wonder how many are gay.
Spotting gatenki taking a break or walking through the city always cheers me up!
There should be a global competition for construction worker fashion, and Japanese would definitely score gold. From the Yoji Yamamoto wide pants to the ever present small towels to the super plucked eyebrows, Japanese construction workers are always riveting. Plus, what’s with workers wearing white rubber boots?! I find that *very* hot.
All images from a website where you can order these fashions, called Tobi.jp.