“The ultimate Camp statement: it’s good because it’s awful.”
- Susan Sontag
In Susan Sontag’s famous essay, ‘Notes on Camp’, she touched on the peculiarly French 1960s post-rock pop genre of YeYe. Camp, she said, was all about aesthetics – it’s a decorative art, ‘style at the expense of content’. Certain artforms, she explained, had been completely annexed by Camp – among them YeYe.
Camp found a friend in Japan.
A walk through Harajuku today will confirm. But Japanese affinity for Camp goes back much earlier. One of the longest running commercial jingles/theme songs in Japanese advertising was the YeYe style song, ‘Renown Wansaka Musume’ for Japanese clothing brand Renown. The wonderfully poppy 1967 version with models romping around in mod Renown clothes is directly below:
Here’s another 1967 version. Leading lady of YeYe, Sylvie Vartan sings en japonais: