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Japan’s ‘living artwork’ invents new fashion style

Minori designs and creates all her outfits from scratch (Photo: Teppei Takazawa)

Minori designs and creates all her outfits from scratch (Photo: Teppei Takazawa)

by Mary-Ann Russon & Griesham Taana
TOKYO, Chiba City, Japan – Minori combined Shironuri (which means “painted white”) powdery make-up with vintage clothing to form a new style.
By using her body as a canvas, Minori is essentially a “living artwork”, and her art is primarily depicted in photos.
Her creative expression has inspired other young women to adopt the trend.
– Lady in white –
Minori, 26, lives in Tokyo. The white make-up offers her anonymity, and only her friends and family know her real identity, which means that when she is not dressed up, she can live a private life away from prying eyes.
In her teens, Minori was just one of the many young women who frequented Harajuku, a district in Shibuya, Tokyo where people go to see and be seen in quirky, unusual and of
She used to enjoy wearing Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion, but over time she didn’t feel that the style suited her.
“I always felt a sense of discomfort that my skin colour and make-up did not match my clothes,” she tells the BBC.
“Once I painted my face white, I could make my face from my imagination, and that felt wonderful. ‘This is it!’ I thought.”
Minori designs and creates all her outfits from scratch
In Japan, there is a long tradition of using white make-up that dates back to medieval times.

Minori says she is inspired by nature and the blank canvas white make-up offers (Photo: Teppei Takazawa)

Minori says she is inspired by nature and the blank canvas white make-up offers (Photo: Teppei Takazawa)

From the 9th to 11th Centuries, a time known as the Heian period, men from aristocrat families painted their faces as a mark of their status.
The trend was later adopted by women in the 17th century, when geisha – high class female entertainers – began to appear.
Then, during the Showa era – from 1926 to 1989 – the word “Shironuri” was first coined.
Inspired by the ultra-nationalism at the time, people wore male and female Japanese school uniform styles gakuran and sailor fuku, carried Japanese war flags, and painted their faces painted white using geisha make-up.
– Inspirations –
Instead of a political expression or entertainment tool, Minori has evolved Shironuri into an art form, applying unusual false eyelashes and intricate make-up that matches the themes of her outfits.
She grew up in the Japanese countryside, and considers nature to be one of the main inspirations for her art.
“The pattern of fallen leaves and tree branches, the shape of flowers – I thought that it would be beautiful if I combined white paint with such motifs in make-up,” she says.
“At the time, only geisha make-up was mainstream, but I thought that it was boring. I really wanted to create something that no one had seen before, had never done before.”
“You get all sorts of reactions, some very positive and some very negative,” said Mr Lismore, who is an ambassador for Tate’s Circuit Programme, which helps young people gain access to museums across the UK.
“There’s a lot of fear in people. It’s fear of the unknown, and fear via lack of culture. A lot of people won’t like what you do and won’t be able to understand it, but the right people will love you for who you are and what you do. Everyone else is irrelevant.” (-BBC News)


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