Oshare sin fronteras

"おしゃれニスタ100人の夏流行!" is the main cover headline on this month's Zipper. It promises information about the summer fashions of 100 "osharenistas", which is Japanese oshare (cool, hip, witty, sophisticated) + Spanish-turned-English -nista (as in "fashionista").

Note that the suffix is -nista rather than -ista (which is what should be expected, strictly, given that the original English/Spanish referents are fashion+ista ← Sandin(o)+ista and so the morpheme is clearly -ista, cognate with English -ist, I assume). This is because of the pattern set by fashionista when it was borrowed: the pronunciation in English is fashio-nista, not fashion-ista, and so the Japanese borrowing is fasshonisuta rather than fasshon'isuta.

(Theoretically, since fashion had already been borrowed as fasshon, some anal person could have just added an -ista to the pre-existing loan word rather than borrowing the whole thing afresh. However, if they'd done this, the result (/fasshon.isuta/) would have a moraic nasal immediately followed by a vowel, and Japanese hates that shit. It already spent centuries smearing Chinese loan words like /han.ou/ (反応) into /han.nou/; it don't need the same aggravation from yet another source language.)

Given that fashionista already existed as a loan word, the use of osharenista instead is actually quite revealing. Consider the roots of the word oshare: it's attested at least back to the Edo period, and may be related to modern zareru (戯れる: "play", "be witty", "be elegant", etc.) or perhaps sareru (曝れる: "left to dry in the sun"). Centuries ago, to be oshare was more about general sophistication than fashionable clothing. Particularly vital was an easy familiarity with the pleasure quarters, where the culture was continually being forged anew.

Familiarity with hired female companionship is less oshare today, but the word oshare is still readily applicable to things other than your personal appearance -- apartments, jobs, parties, etc. In fact, unless these areas of your life are as oshare as your wardrobe, you are probably not very oshare at all.

So the 100 people advertised on the cover are not just fashionable -- they are living la dolce vita in general, if I may mix cultural traditions. A fashionista is distant, flawless, stilettoed; her inner life is inaccessible and in any case irrelevant. An osharenista has a unique look and works part-time in a hip little underground cafe/recording studio. You may want to look like a fashionista sometimes, but you want to live like an osharenista all the time. And that's what Zipper is selling.

Then again, I'm a nerd. So what do I know about oshare?

Popularity factor: 4



Zipper's osharenistas all seem to be in major label Judy-and-Mary-inspired girl-fronted pop-punk bands. And Yoppy.

Peter Hendriks:

What's "yoppy"?


I guess I missed the mark with that cafe/recording studio thing. Maybe that's more what Mina's osharenistas do.

As for Yoppy, given the context I'm guessing it's the one from "THE SCANTY"? I really should actually read the magazine before I post about it.


Oshare vive, la lucha sigue!

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