Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kishidan: Japan's Pop-Friendly Promoters of Nazi Imagery

Some people were understandably pissed when a Japanese pop group wore Nazi-like uniforms in a recent MTV interview.
Kishidan, an all-male pop band known for its outlandish garb, appeared in uniforms resembling those of the SS, the armed wing of the Nazi party, during an interview on MTV Japan's Mega Vector programme at the end of last month.
However, notice from the following videos how red armbands and black uniforms have long been a part of the band's costume:



Coming from a culture that has denied its own role in brutal mass murder and human experimentation during World War II, Nazi regalia must have seemed like the next logical fashion choice.

What's interesting to me is how much this band incorporates 50's/60's American imagery such as rockabilly haircuts and motorcycles. I guess they just forgot to incorporate the whole "Nazis were awful" part of Americana.

Hopefully, the controversy will demonstrate to the Japanese youth why these kinds of costumes are horribly offensive.
“Generally my experience has been in speaking with young people they don’t necessarily know very much other than that Hitler was a strong leader or that aesthetically this is very striking and interesting,” said Mr. Cooper, who has visited Japan over 30 times. “For a lot of young Japanese they don’t even understand. When these controversies come up their initial reaction is ‘what’s the controversy? What did we do wrong here? What did Nazi Germany do?’”
Side note #1:  Many of the band's YouTube videos were uploaded by a Chilean fan blog, breaking the usual stereotype of Japanese pop culture only reaching out beyond the shore to American anime obsessives.

Side note #2:  As bad as the Nazi uniforms were, it doesn't top the mind-boggling Western cultural appropriation by their side project, DJ Ozma...

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