A Chicano subculture which reached peak popularity in the U.S. between the 1940s and 1970s, has made its way to Japan.
There appears Japan has a growing community of “cholos” and “cholas”, a look now most commonly seen among Los Angeles street gangs.
Japanese rappers like MoNa aka Sad Girl have created careers with a mix of Spanish, English, and Japanese rapping.
The look includes baggy jeans (pants and shorts), over-sized knaki shorts, flannel shirts, white undershirts, bandanas, flat-brimmed baseball caps, dark lip liner for cholas, lowriders, jerseys, clearly visible tattoos, gold jewelry (often crosses), and knee-high socks. Interestingly, there is often also the presence or depiction of a Mexican flag.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Filipinos living in East Los Angeles also developed an affinity for the cholo culture.
But just as the Chicano culture has made its way to Japan, it has also allowed U.S. record labels a new market in which to promote their cholo/a artists.
Jaime Diaz, President and CEO of Urban Kings Music Group, recently told OC Weekly, ‘Japan has been more of an avenue for profit. We distribute to stores out there and it helps us out a lot. Japan will be the first place to buy product from independent artists.’
Japanese cholo artists have even taken on names like EL LATINO, GARCiA, and EL-REY.
Who knew East Asia would be the new home of the cholo? Or is it J-Cholo?
Check out some of the photos collected by the team over at POCHO below.