What's the deal with… Kyary Pamyu Pamyu?

Get the lowdown on the 21 year old Japanese model and singer



Add +

Sorry, what did you just say?
You mean you haven’t heard of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? Keep up – her YouTube videos have been watched more than 220 million times, and her Shepherd’s Bush show this week sold out months in advance.

Wow! So… who is she, then?
Kiriko Takemura, a 21-year-old singer and model from Tokyo. She spent her teenage years sneaking out to the city’s famous Harajuku area, which is where she picked up her, er, distinctive dress sense.

She does look pretty bizarre.
Hey, let’s not be hasty. She’s tapping into a major strand of contemporary Japanese culture: kawaii, a mania for all things cute. But yeah, she does come across as… well, totally crazeballs. Check out her smash hit video ‘Pon Pon Pon’, which features piles of sweets, floating brains and bread, dripping eyeballs, skulls and fruit hats – all in eye-popping, candy-coloured, psychedelic CGI. It’s adorable, and also bloody terrifying.

And, dare I ask: how’s the music?

Not bad, actually. Think sugary J-pop with an electronic kick and some strong melodies. But obviously it’s image that comes first here in kitsch-loving London.

Well, she certainly makes a change from Pixie Lott.
And for that we can all be grateful.

The bottom line: Who can argue with Harajuku?

Watch 'PonPonPon' video

Users say


Listen to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Read more music features

Interview: Rustie

The shy guy producer on the language of birds and the benefits of recording at 30,000 feet

What's the deal with… Protomartyr

Everything you need to know about the furious foursome from Detroit

Interview: John Morales

The disco hero and studio wizard on being robbed by the Stones and how his bladder influenced his career

Guess who's back: Jamie T

After four years in the wilderness, the Wimbledon bard is making a comeback

Interview: Basement Jaxx

The club-conquering duo are back with a new album, but where’s Felix Buxton’s head at? Ballet, advocating unity and spotting UFOs

See all Time Out music features