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What does /r/blackladies think about this? Out of curiosity, is it considered appropriation when other minorities from other countries do this?(r/blackladies)
I’ve seen this video shared at least once every year for the last 3-4 years on various sites and boards, and it bothers me each time because it’s a short video that doesn’t even begin to touch on something cultural anthropologists have been discussing for decades – Japan’s interaction with Western Culture.
In the case of Hip-Hop culture in Japan, I’d suggest reading the work of Ian Condry (amazon link) if you ever get the chance, as he’s actually interviewed Japanese rappers, dancers, and so forth and has taken years to study how the Japanese have adopted Hip-Hop. Now what I’ve personally learned while being there and doing undergrad study is that it really is two fold and the concept of “appropriation” really depends on the person. I mean, I’ve met Japanese people who I’d consider more “hip-hop” than say, Cheef Keef or even Drake, because of their knowledge and respect of both the history and the culture. On the other hand, I’ve of course ran into a few people who are only interested in it for the money and money alone. So based on my knowledge and experience, it’s unfair for me to generalize all Japanese people into “Black culture” as culturally appropriating when I know far more people that had genuine respect for both the artistry and the people behind the art. That is more than what I can say for the Justin Timberlake’s of the world, but I’ve got a bit of an ax to grind with that dude that I won’t delve into here (lol).
So in the end it all depends because you’re talking about a culture that has been adopting aspects of Western culture since the end of WW2. In the case of Hip-Hop, it was actually brought to Japan in the early/mid 80s by Hip-Hop’s pioneers themselves. So it can be a pretty complicated discussion without the context of history and even local customs.