Modern Japan is a fast-moving, highly volatile environment, with a strong sense of neophilia amongst the Japanese people. Combine that with the easy adaptability of the youth, and you get a veritable breeding ground for new and altered subcultures based on behaviours, clothes, music, whatever.

A short list of subcultures include:
* ''Gyaru'' - "Gal" culture, an emulation of what Japanese perceive to be Western beauty standards, including [[DarkSkinnedBlonde tanned skin and blonde hair]], revealing clothing, and an outgoing personality, all of which contrast with [[YamatoNadeshiko a traditional Japanese beauty]]. Very consumer and fashion oriented. This includes ''kogal'', ''ganguro'', and ''yamanba'' groups. A male version is ''gyaru-oh''.
* ''{{Bosozoku}}'' / ''{{Hashiriya}}'' - car and motorcycle enthusiasts, particularly in regards to street racing and illegal modifications. This group is becoming more visible due to movies like ''TheFastAndTheFurious: Tokyo Drift'', due to the links to drift racing. A related subculture is those of ''[[{{Delinquents}} yankiis]]''.
* LolitaFashion, including "[[ElegantGothicLolita Gothic]]", "Sweet", "Classical", "Punk", and a number of other variants.
* Cosplay, in several forms. Anime and J-rock (Japanese rock music) cosplayers and lolis gather around Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on Sundays.
** ''Kigurumi'' -- Also called ''animegao'' ("animeface"), this is the practice of cosplaying human and humanoid anime characters using masks and body stockings. The effect is often rather creepy, as it seems to back into the UncannyValley from the human side; that many of its devotees are males who crossdress as female characters makes it just a shade creepier. Doubly so since, with the body stockings, ''you can't tell.''
* ''Ero kawaii'', another fashion subculture which draws on Western notions of sexiness in contrast to the popular cutesy (''kawaii'') trend.
* ''{{Hikikomori}}'' - Young people who withdraw from active life outside their home. They often withdraw into isolated existences with no face to face contact and a refusal to leave their homes or rooms. While not specifically a subculture per se, their behaviour and living styles tend to follow similar patterns. Many of them hang around the notorious [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2channel 2ch]] (ni-channel) web boards. Most anime is aware of the subculture, but because it also often includes some otaku it's a sensitive topic to address.
* ''{{Otaku}}'' - In the Japanese sense, obsessive enthusiasts of a particular hobby -- not necessarily anime. Generally follows the same tone as older, more derogatory meanings of the Western word "geek". Still, these enthusiast groups are extremely organized and, at least within their own area of interest, highly social. Recently some otaku have taken to calling themselves ''Akiba-Kei'' or "Akiba style", in reference to the Tokyo neighbourhood of Akihabara where electronics shops, anime merchandising and maid cafes abound. Female otaku, and especially those interested in [[YaoiGenre BL]], are called sometimes ''fujoshi'' or ''otome'', the latter because they cluster around Otome Road in Ikebukuro and the former being a derogatory term for a YaoiFangirl derived from an alternate reading of "unnatural woman".
* VisualKei: More elaborated upon on its page, musicians (generally of some permutation of rock music ranging from Music/HeavyMetal to PowerPop) who dress in very elaborate and artistic styles, often intentionally trying to create ViewerGenderConfusion. Along with bosuzoku and yankii (which helped birth it in their own ways) one of the older subcultures, being, along with them, pre-Internet with its origins in the 1980s. Also unique in being one of the two first Japanese subcultures (along with {{Otaku}}) to gain true non-Japanese adherents worldwide (Lolita fashion was next). While some non-musicians are involved, usually ''some'' level of artistic or musical interest (if not competence or skill) or at the very least [[GroupieBrigade interest in the musicians]] is a prerequisite for involvement.
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Examples:
* School-ambiented shonen manga aplenty have examples of ''yankii''. For example, Yusuke and Kuwabara (who even has a red ducktail) from ''YuYuHakusho''. This is even discussed in ''SlamDunk'', when one of Haruko's friends voices her concern about her befriending Sakuragi (and his buddies, by extension) for being ''yankii''. Sakuragi later finds a new purpose in life through basketball [[spoiler: and the also gangster Mitsui returns to the sport]].
* ''DetroitMetalCity'' is focused on the Music/HeavyMetal and VisualKei subcultures. It's actually gotten at least one ShoutOut [[{{Defictionalization}} from an actual]] VisualKei act.
* ''SuperGals'' is focused around a trio of ''gyaru'', with occasional conflicts slash comedy relief from three ''ganguro''/''yamanba'' girls.
* ''PeachGirl'' puts a spin on the ''gyaru'' trend by way of having the main character naturally AmbiguouslyBrown; since that's not a natural skin tone by Japanese standards, everyone just assumes she is a ''gyaru'' and/or makes fun of her for it.
* ''InitialD'' focuses on drift racers.
* ''GreatTeacherOnizuka'''s eponymous character was a leader of a ''bosozoku'' gang.
* ''{{Gravitation}}'' also features an arguable VisualKei band.
* The US film ''TokyoPop'' is actually most noticeable (and most remembered now) for its cameo by the members of Music/XJapan, which was at the time one of the very first VisualKei bands as the subculture began.
* ''RozenMaiden'' has Jun, a protagonist who is at least strongly implied to be ''hikikomori'', though they never outright use the term. For an example of how strongly they imply it, in one episode he has to visit the school library to get a book. Entering the school and walking to the library is treated as a ''Franchise/MetalGear''-style sneaking mission, and involves no less than two flashbacks. If he had simply walked in the front door and directly to the library, it would have taken less than a minute. Instead, it takes half the episode.
** There's also an episode early on where Jun goes outside to get Hina Ichigo's favourite snack, which she had been bugging everyone about since the episode began. Jun's fears of his classmates and the outside world are greatly emphasised- even the short walk to the door suddenly looks like a mile away.
* Many examples of cosplay can be found in the page for CosplayOtakuGirl.
* Several of the main characters of ''Anime/WelcomeToTheNHK'' are ''otaku'' or ''hikikomori''. The show delves into many of the darker social trends in Japan, and treats being a ''hikikomori'' as a mental illness (putting it into perspective, Satou has plenty of nervous breakdowns throughout the story).
* Pretty much every single Japanese man from the film ''TheFastAndTheFurious: Tokyo Drift'' is a ''hashiriya''.
* ''PuniPuniPoemi'' briefly showed a Gyaru on a [[EnjoKosai subsi-date]] before the title character violently showed her the error of her ways.
* ''[[ChaosHead Chaos;Head]]:'' the protagonist is a hikikomori and batshit insane. Well, it ''could'' be a mystery plot and there ''could'' be paranormal forces toying with him, and so he [[MindScrew might actually not be a schizophrenic serial killer]], but the fact that he has [[ImaginaryFriend an imaginary girlfriend who is an anime character]] speaks a different language.
* The light Japanese novel (later adapted into a movie) ''LightNovel/KamikazeGirls'' (which has an excellent translation available in English) is about the unlikely friendship between a ''yanki'' and a Lolita.
* ''{{Genshiken}}'' has a Gyaru: Keiko Sasahara, Kanji's AnnoyingYoungerSibling. It was, however, more of a subversion of the endearing little sister trope.
** And {{Genshiken}} is of course one of the most notable anime series about otaku culture
* ''Film/VampireGirlVsFrankensteinGirl'' parodies the ganguro subculture.
* ''SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' has a female hikikomori that goes by the MeaningfulName of Kiri Komori and, as pretty much everything else in the show, her being a shut-in is played for laughs. Her room is heavily protected by hundreds of paper wards and, after Nozomu and Kafuka finally manage to convince her to leave her room so she can attend school, she decides to get holed up ''in school'' instead.
* More than one ''DetectiveConan'' case has featured members of these subcultures, either as victims or as killers:
** One is about the investigation of very violent attacks on ganguros and yamanbas, and the murder of one of the ganguros. [[spoiler: And it brings memories of another case that happened 20 years ago... involving a now mostly disappeared subculture of TheEighties: the ''sukeban'' or girl delinquents. The SoleSurvivor grew to marry Inspector Megure, one of the policemen investigating the case.]]
** Another case had an otaku obsessed with {{tokusatsu}} series (more exactly ''Kamen Yaiba'', an in-universe show about a CaptainErsatz of KamenRider) as the AssholeVictim. [[spoiler: Who was [[FatalMethodActing tricked into killing himself in front of his club]] by one of the leaders, a guy whose little brother died after said otaku stole his most precious memorabilia piece while riding his motorcycle, which then caused the kid to try chasing after him and being hit by a car.]]
** In another case, the victim of the week is an ElegantGothicLolita who's found strangled in a public restroom wearing a full-body black EGL costume, [[spoiler: which is also a part of her killer's alibi, as said murderer was an OfficeLady (ans the EGL's former friend) who wore the dress both while commiting the murder itself and later as a disguise.]]
** And in yet another case, a CosplayOtakuGirl is among the people suspected of being a SerialKiller who targetted the people involved in the ''very'' shady death of an IdolSinger. Other suspects include an {{otaku}}, a prospect ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravure_idol#Gravure_idols gravure]]'' model, and an ''ouji'' aka male ElegantGothicLolita. [[spoiler: She didn't do it. In fact, the poor woman ''witnessed the IdolSinger's death'', which was a massive BreakTheCutie event for her due to her friendship with the singer. Who was the killer? The ''ouji''. And the gravure model was both an UnrequitedTragicMaiden... and one of the victims. [[TearJerker Yeah, the case was really damn tragic]].]]
* ''OtakuNoVideo'' is an AffectionateParody of 1980s {{Otaku}} culture.
* Yuka Otowa's looks in ''{{Crescendo}}'' are all but stated to be based on the ''kogal''. She lacks the tan but she does have the dangerously short skirt, cleavage-showing shirt and the loose socks worn by the ko-gals, alongside the lighter than the standard (and most likely bleached) hair.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'' we have a ''yankii'' (Mondo Oowada), an ''otaku'' (Hifumi Yamada), an ElegantGothicLolita (Celestia "Celes" Ludenberg) and a ''kogal/gyaru'' (Junko Enoshima). [[spoiler: All of them turn to have other sides of their personalities... very tragic and cruel sides. And they all die.]]
* Jinta Yadomi aka "Jintan" from ''AnoHana'' is another ''hikikomori'', who became this after the deaths of his mother Touko (illness) and his first love Menma (in an accident). His UnluckyChildhoodFriend Naruko/Anaru has to drop by to give him his schoolwork. And then, five years after her death, Menma returns as a CuteGhostGirl and she needs Jintan to get out of home to help her with her GhostlyGoals...
** Anaru herself has looks that strongly evoke the ''ko-gal/gyaru/ganguro'' archetype, though since she's just 15 it's not as pronunciated.
* In ''HellGirl'', one anime case deals with a ''hikikomori'' girl who's trying to deal with an online friend who wants to get her outside home. The live-action has an episode where a male ''hiki'' contracts with Enma Ai to avenge his father's death.
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