Yamamba is a fashion trend among young Japanese women that always fascinated me. Whenever I see images of these over-tanned "slutty" chicks I wondered what make them tick. Starting with the bleached white hair and heavy tan of the "ganguro" girl, the yamamba adds white lipstick, white eye makeup, and sometimes brightly colored contacts, plastic clothing, and eye-catching accessories. Being a yamanba is to be an extreme practitioner of the ganguro fashion. Some yamanba wear stuffed animals as decorations, talk with a slurred speech, and enjoy shiny neon or day-glo colors. The term yamamba comes from a mountain hag, known as Yama-uba, whom the fashion is thought to resemble. Ganguro comes from "black face" or gangankuro that is "exceptionally dark". The deep ganguro tan is in direct conflict with traditional Japanese ideas of feminine beauty, that of the palest skin. They also speak with slang terms and use fashion in an unconventional way, being regarded as the "bad girls" of Japan. Their shorts skirts and platform shoes surely do not help their cause.
If Mariah Carey and Bozo had a baby girl in Japan she would grow up to be a yamamba.