The New Ouji Overview Part 1: Terminology

Apr 18, 2017

lolita (left), ouji (right)

Terminology

After several years of putting off the original Ouji Overview, I decided to start from scratch with a new and improved Ouji Overview! I hope you find this version more in-depth, but I've left the old one up if you prefer to read that one instead.

What Is Ouji?

Ouji/ouji-sama/王子, literally "prince" in Japanese, is the more masculine clothing style that is often associated with lolita fashion. Dresses aren't your thing? Don't worry, even if the style is more masculine, it can be worn by all genders. Ouji includes a wide variety of looks often combining pirate, punk, cute, and/or gothic elements.

Synonymous style terms include:
-ouji style
-prince style
-ouji-kei
-王子系

Or it can be referred to as the all encompassing terms:
-boystyle/boys style
-men's style

Ouji style is based on the menswear mainly from the historic eras of the 18th and 19th centuries and adds a modern, fanciful details to it. The most important element of an ouji outfit is pants. Like lolita, there is a wide variety of substyles and themes which I will go into detail in later parts.

varieties of ouji

Why Not Kodona?

Though the term "kodona" is widely used in the online international communities, "kodona" is not the proper term for the style. The term kodona has previously been sourced from a Gothic & Lolita Bible interview with Plastic Tree's vocalist Ryutaro to describe his personal style. However, this is incorrect. I asked several fluent Japanese readers to read the interview and according to them the word kodona does not even appear in the spread. Nobody really knows why the international community latched onto the word kodona.
Ryutaro's interview from Gothic & Lolita Bible Vol. 1
The origin of kodona is still unknown to this day. Googling any variation of 大人 (otona) + 子供 (kodomo) will fetch zero relevant results. If you were to go to Japan and ask a lolita off the street about kodona fashion, most likely they would have no idea what you are talking about. We've even asked brand designers in person and they don't know what kodona means. Alice and the Pirates designer Tomomi Nakamura, also known as Cathy, refers to the style either as men's style or ouji style. The term kodona doesn't translate well into English either. It would be the equivalent of calling yourself an adult child which has negative connotation.

Dictionary

Some terms and abbreviations often seen in online communities.
AATP: abbreviation for the brand "Alice and the Pirates", one of the more popular brands for ouji items; Japanese equivalent “A/P” or “A&P”
BPN: abbreviation for the brand "BLACK PEACE NOW"
CC: abbreviation for “Closet Child”, a second-hand Lolita store
CoF: abbreviation for “Closet of Frills”, a Facebook group that is the most active place to post coordinates
community: a group of people having the same interest, in-person or online; often abbreviated to “comm”
coordinate: an outfit; often abbreviated to “coord” or “code (コーデ)”
DS: abbreviation for "direct sale"
EGA: abbreviation for "elegant gothic aristocrat" which refers to one line of Moi Meme Moitie
gay: 基佬 "ji lao" slang for what the Chinese call ouji, this is the most common term on Taobao; sometimes seen as handsome gay 帥基 "shuai ji"
GL&B: abbreviation for the publication "Gothic & Lolita Bible"
IW: abbreviation for the brand "Innocent World"
Mbok: Japanese auctions site; short for “mobile auction” because the site is primarily accessed on a phone
MmM: abbreviation for the brand "Moi-Meme-Moitie"
ouji accessory: joke term from this video
OTT: abbreviation for “over the top”
PT: abbreviation for "pants"
SS: abbreviation for "shopping service", someone you pay to buy something for you
Taobao: a Chinese marketplace similar to Amazon where one can buy items from individual shops
WTB: abbreviation for "wanting to buy"
WTS: abbreviation for "wanting to sell"
WTT: abbreviation for "wanting to trade"
WW: abbreviation for the secondhand shop "Wunderwelt"
Y!J: abbreviation for “Yahoo!Japan” auctions

Related Styles

Boystyle is an umbrella term for multiple styles, ouji included. All ouji is boystyle, but not all boystyle is ouji. If ouji isn't your taste, try checking out some of these related styles.

Lolita 

Lolita fashion is the "sister" style to ouji. Despite being very similar to each other, ouji is not considered lolita because lolita dresses are defined by the silhouette of wearing a petticoat. It is incorrect to refer to ouji style as "ouji lolita/kodona lolita/boy lolita" or "brolita" because no petticoats are used in ouji.

Aristocrat

Mana in femme aristocrat (left) and homme aristocrat (right)
The terms ouji and (gothic) aristocrat are used interchangeably with each other, often incorrectly. While they both share eras of influence, the former adds fantasy and child-like fun to a vest and knickerbockers, while the latter aims to be more historically accurate with a mature elegant feeling. There are femme and homme versions of aristocrat. Information in this ouji guide can be applied to masculine aristocrat as well.

Gothic/Punk/Visual Kei

Visual kei band Versailles wearing costumes designed by Alice and the Pirates
The gothic and punk subcultures are well-known, so I won't bother explaining them here. The Japanese goth and punk aesthetic puts a softer and/or more elegant spin on the styles due to cultural differences and the influence of kawaii culture.
I'll liberally mention visual kei here as well since most of it has gothic and punk influences, only bolder for stage purposes. Visual kei is an overall bold look with large emphasis on styling hair and makeup. It is not uncommon to see ouji clothing used in visual kei or visual kei styling elements used in ouji style.
  • Resources: None that I would recommend. Just look at a band you like and take inspiration. 

    Dandy

     “Neo Classical Goth” Harajuku Style by Tokyo Fashion
    Dandyism started in the 18th century originating in the Western hemisphere. A very simplified  definition for dandy is a formally and fashionably dressed individual. The look of a dandy changes as fashion evolves. To a small degree, some forms of ouji can be considered a minor form of dandyism.

    Dansou

    Dansou model ROOT modeling ouji style for Alice and the Pirates
    Dansou is not a specific clothing style, but the action of a person, usually female, crossdressing as a male in a strictly fashionable sense. The goal is to pass as male, so non-clothing elements such as makeup, hair, and posing need extra attention. Dansou can wear ouji style, but not all oujis are dansou.

    Want to mix and match all of these things? No problem, there will be overlaps. Style is limitless, so don't get too worked up with labeling yourself.

      Additional Ouji Resources



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