The Japanese breaking culture is always been vibrant and alive, even the COVID19 pandemic could not stop this. During this time, a new social media account is started by Tokyo based bgirls Yurie and Erifenesis. The project is called Bgirljournaljapan. Bgirlsessions asked the two dedicated ladies to answer our questions regarding to their project but also the bgirlculture in Japan itself.
For the japanese version scroll down
Bgirl Yurie and Eri are well known faces in the international breaking scene. A strong duo representing worldwide: Eri with her fierce toprock and downrocks complemented by Yurie with her high skilled powermoves. As a cherry on the cake they show flawless teamwork and strong routines.
Bgirl Eri (Keep It Real, Downz, FloorFreaks, Qween of Qweenz) was introduced to breaking in New York City where she got taught by BreakEasy, KingUprock and Kwon. During her stay of 5.5 years in the US, she participated in numerous battles. After returning to Japan, Eri joined a Japanese team. After winning the Mighty4 Toprock in 2007, Eri appeared at the Korean R16 event performing a guest showcase. In 2011, Eri and her dance partner Yurie represented Japan at the annual We Bgirlz battle at Battle of The Year. They ended up winning the whole competition. This was the beginning of their international dance career. They have been active not only in Japan but also worldwide at events such as Outbreak and Freestylesession Taiwan. Besides battling Eri is also performing and judges battles and gives workshops.
Bgirl Yurie（REAL CRIME, FloorFreaks, Qween of Qweenz) started breaking in 2003. Yurie started breaking at her university. She doesn’t consider herself as a pupil of someone. Most of the things she discovered by teaching herself. The first battles she danced was in the year of 2005. During this time she formed a bgirl collaboration with Bgirl Momopeach (now living in Canada) and together they worked different acts Japanwide. In the year of 2011, Yurie teamed up with Bgirl Eri and qualified at the We Bgirls battle in Japan and went to the finals in France. After winning this battle, various international battles followed: IBE, BIS, Renegates Anniversary, NEW TAIPEI CITY woman power, FreeStyle Session Taiwan championships. Currently, Yurie is active as a dance performer, judge, instructor and worked in different advertisements.
What is bgirljournal Japan?
Eri: A place where everyone can share and at the same time receive information. I aim for a place where people can connect.
Yurie: By stimulating the exchange between bgirls in Japan itself, I hope the Japanese scene will ultimately get more known overseas as well.
Why did you start with this initiative?
Eri: I am not aware of any initiative of this that this kind that existed before. And I think this is a unique opportunity where bgirls can interact with each-other regardless of the generation and the region they live in. By sharing video’s, I introduce bgirls to each-other. Also, there seems to be a lack of information about bgirlbattles abroad. There is a website for battles in Japan itself but the information about bgirlbattle abroad is not easy to find. I would like to publish this information to make it accessible to the bgirls in Japan.
Yurie: Japan has many bgirls, but they are divided in the older generation and the young generation. I miss active bgirls who are in their late twenties. With this initiative we hope to create a connection between the different generations.
Even-though there are lots of breakers and there is lots of information around, the information is often not easy accessible for everyone. Especially the way how information for bgirls is presented can be improved a lot. With Bgirljournal Japan we hope to be able to present important information for bgirls to bgirls.
During the COVID19 times, Japan also implied a lock down. Therefore, bgirl Ayumi and Narumi from Body Carnival Crew (Kyoto) initiated the GENKIBIN PROJECT which is a big succes! I want to thank Ayumi and Narumi for this!
How do you select the bgirls for your talksession?
Eri: We alternate between speakesr from the older generation and from the younger generation.
Yurie: We started the first talksession with bgirl Shi-chan. She has been in the breakingscene for a long time and is still active. I wanted her to explain to the young children how the Japanese breaking culture has changed, because I have seen the chances as well. Next, we asked bgirl Ami. She is an idol for a lot of young girls. She is very popular among the younger generation because she was also a kid when she started and became a world champion. People want to identify with her. I wanted the children to hear her life story and her life as a student. Next month, we will ask a bgirl who is playing an active role in the breaking world. We will ask about recent battles and activities!
By asking and voting about who we should invite we create an active online community with BgirlNetworkJapan.
Eri and Yurie, you both have been active for a long time now, how did you two witness the transformation of bgirling in Japan?
Yurie: I have been watching the scene in Tokyo from 2003 onwards. There always have been bgirls around. Probably every crew had one bgirl. The bgirlscene was very scattered though. Since there were only a few battles, there were also a lot of show bgirls only performing on stage and not really entering the battle floor.
I think it started to change in the middle of 2000, the number of battles increased and some crews started to have more than 1 bgirl in their team. When the qualifications for the We Bgirls battle started in the second half of 2000 the opportunities for bgirls increased. The number of bgirls battling in duo’s increased and also the number of bgirls in total went up.
In 2008, a 10 vs 10 bgirl battle was organized. East Japan vs West Japan. And Bgirl Shie-chan started off with QUEEN OF QUEENZ, a worldwide active bgirlcrew. I think that the notion that a bgirls are also just dancers and not only a possession a crew should have is getting stronger. Bboys and bgirls are seen more equally and therefore you start to see more and more crews with more than 1 bgirl.
Recently, street dance is introduced as part of the physical education classes at school. This makes dance more known and accessible to many children.
Eri: After I returned to Japan, I noticed an increase in the number of bgirls. Especially, there were more kids around. Now, with the Olympics coming up, people will see breaking more and more as a competition, rather than an artform. I think this will result in a division from competitors and underground dancers. But I definitely think that the level will go up!
Any words to the bgirls worldwide?
Eri: Japan has lots of bgirls with high level skills but haven’t appeared on the world stage yet. Please come visit and witness the Japanese breaking scene!
Yurie: I agree with Eri! There are lots of bgirls but also breakers in general with very different styles. Come over to Japan and experience it. Japan has also delicious food and unique sight seeing spots, you can get in touch with Japanese culture while traveling for breaking.
Bgirlsessions: Thank you Eri and Yurie !