G20 and the Girls of Harjuku and Shibuya – A look into the future

The Toronto Star has released a new series focusing on the G20 and the world’s problems and most interestingly the World Bank’s focus for a solution. With a stronger banking system, the European debt crisis and maternal health will all be tackled by the G20 in Toronto. But devoting resources to one group — girls — could lead to gains in all three areas. So suggests the World Bank, among others, observing that countries that don’t invest in girls have slower growth and reduced income. It’s not just the developing world where girls get shortchanged: This week, the Troonto Star will tell the stories of girls from G20 countries struggling with sex, sexism and cruelty and happen to be starting with the girls of Harajuku and Shibuya.

They’ve mesmerized every tourist who has done Tokyo: young girls in big pink hair, huge frilly dresses and theatrical makeup.

On the pedestrian malls at Harajuku and Shibuya subway stations, they move among the crowds like animated cartoon characters — which is precisely the point. The girls have modelled themselves on them, after all.

It’s all part of the extended manga (comics) and anime (animation) culture that continues to captivate Japanese youth, especially girls.

Showing up in anime guise is a social activity, something to do with friends.

But it can also be a powerful means of self-expression and even defiance for girls, especially in a conservative society that has tightly drawn expectations of them.

Read the rest of the story: G20 Girls: Japan’s girls break out of the mould

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