I couldn't really fall asleep last night, so I ended up browsing the Internet (goodbye data). I was on someecards when I saw this:
Basically people are upset that Karlie Kloss was photographed as a geisha for Vogue because it's 'cultural appropriation'
The backlash was bad enough that Kloss offered an apology on her Twitter.
And because I couldn't sleep, I was scrolling through the comments and I noticed something.
All the Japanese people I saw didn't see anything wrong with the shoot.
I think I saw someone who was 'half-Asian' tweeting about how it's a problem, but all the accounts that looked to be Japanese were generally encouraging.
But then again, it could be that's because only her fans reply?
So I decided to check google some more. I didn't see any matome threads, but I did see a girlschannel thread.
Girlschannel is kind of like 2ch, in the sense that it's anonymous. There's also an upvote/downvote option (like Reddit) so you can see what people agree with.
And, in my opinion, they tend to be more critical than Twitter. Or at least that's what I thought when reading the reactions to Kouhaku. So anyway I chose a few comments that were reflective of what they thought (heavily upvoted) and/or repeated and translated them (not a literal translation)
This is the original post, which basically talks about how the shoot was criticised as discrimination and yellow face, and that Karlie apologised.
Users did not like the OP
These are the first three reactions, which are quite typical and were repeated in various ways throughout (there are like 450+ comments and I skimmed the first 300 but I screenshotted mainly from the first two pages because they had the most votes)
1. "I don't mind"
2. "Which part of this is discriminatory?"
3. "I'm more concerned about the sumo. Sumo wrestlers are supposed to have muscles even though they're fat."
And worryingly, some of the reactions are a little xenophobic in an unexpected sense (though I've seen this come up a few times in the Katy Perry and Boston museum incidents)
"I don't get it. What do you mean "discriminatory against Japan"? Japanese people don't get mad at such things. We're different from Korea!"
And I wasn't kidding about the sumo stuff.
"More importantly, is that sumo a real sumo wrestler? If someone practices sumo wrestling [sorry can't find an elegant way to translate this] they should have more muscles and a cooler body"
Comments like this appeared quite a few times.
And someone brought up Katy Perry.
"This is reminds me of when Katy Perry was criticised for her kimono-inspired clothes for some reason. As a Japanese woman I don't see any discriminatory acts..."
Well actually Katy Perry got mentioned two times in the first 100 comments.
"There was a group who made a fuss when Katy Perry added Japanese elements to her performance, right? Even though it was a beautiful performance and Japanese people didn't mind... Karlie came to Japan for this photo shoot and the other photos are beautiful.
As for yellow, I don't see it (lit' there are no other meanings') unless you're talking about the yellow and red writing."
And people tried to find reasons for the uproar.
"This is by Caucasians who don't like Asians, right?
"Don't dress like Japanese because you're white"
This apology is not for Japanese but for Caucasians."
"Is it because she was hit by yellow light so she appeared 'yellow'?"
Last comment that caught my eye:
"This photo was taken in Mie prefecture, right? I'm from Mie and I find it sad/tragic that a photo taken in my hometown got criticised. Even though I thought it was really beautiful! I know Karlie apologised but I wish that she won't blame herself."
If you're interested in reading the whole thread, it's at http://girlschannel.net/topics/1068263/
Tl;dr: Japanese people don't see the problem with Karlie's photos. They're more concerned about the sumo wrestler.
I actually find this very concerning because the gap between the "allies" of the Japanese and the Japanese is huge. They are seeing problems where the Japanese don't see any.
If this was framed as being specific to Japanese-Americans, I could understand the criticisms, but since it was framed as 'appropriating Japanese culture' (I.e. Concerning every Japanese person) it seems to have completely missed the mark.
And not only that, it encourages (in a backhanded way) Japanese people to be more mistrustful of groups that they are wary of. The comments here only mentioned it a couple of times (and mostly against white folks), but in the previous cases, quite a few people were attributing the criticism to jealous Koreans and Chinese. So it's a trend (luckily a slight trend) that really should not be encouraged.
And if you think that the Japanese are just unenlightened about how they're being discriminated against, well, how condescending and White Mans' Burden-esque of you (general you, not to anyone in particular). The Japanese people are not being oppressed on this issue - there are Japanese articles on Huffpost and Buzzfeed - and to ignore their opinions is to look down upon them.
Which come to think of it I saw a comment like that:
"This time, it's the people saying 'Discrimination against Japan' that are looking down on the Japanese and that's sad (laugh).
How rude lol. I don't care so don't use such excessive caution"
(Sorry the ending of the first part was a little hard to translate).
I really do think that there's a problem (and a lot of disrespect) to put words into the mouths of a group of people who disagree with you. Almost like the "alternative facts" thing. In my opinion, these criticisms should be much more specific ("this offends Japanese living in Western countries" rather than "this is an insult to all Japanese culture") if not discarded altogether because I really, really can't see the problem in this. At least not how it's currently framed.
Can one (and should one) fight battles on behalf of a group that explicitly rejects what you're fighting for?
I am genuinely curious about this, so if you've got a different viewpoint please let me know what your reasoning is. I've been trying to figure it out since last night but I just keep coming back to "isn't it a bad thing to do this when the Japanese want to encourage more people to enjoy their culture?"
Waiting for the movers to come (and then I have to quickly get to Aeon to buy lights!!) so I packed up and took photos of the house!
I used the Panorama function so it probably looks bigger than it is.
(Also I just remembered I have to square them)
Ok this is the room with the aircon and it will be the entertainment room aka the room with the bookshelves and the piano (which I can only use with headphones)
This is the bedroom because it has a cupboard (and it's a weird way to make decisions but...)
And the kitchen area! The bathroom, toilet and the basin are all separate, which will come in handy when people are visiting.
Also MY TOILET HAS A WASHLET AND HEATED SEAT!!! I am probably most excited about that.
And the entrance, with the light that turns on when it senses motion XD
The movers cannot find my house 😱😱😱
Movers and the guy who installed my washing machine arrived and have finished! So now I have tons of boxes in the house 😂😂
And for some reason the movers couldn't find my house! I panicked for a little while cause I just arrived too, so I don't know how to give directions 😭😭 Luckily they managed to find the place.
How??? I already started shelving the books (cause they're the heaviest and make up 8 of the 30+ boxes). Kinda wish that my bookshelves were bigger so that they'll fill up the room but oh wells.
I have realised that I need to buy a clothes rack though! I have no where to put my clothes for some reason >< at least I have space for my kimonos.
Oh, and I need to buy a small table for the kitchen to put all the seasonings and stuff and ugh I have no money 💸💸💸
Oh yeah and one of the movers does kendo (like 3 dan kind of pro) so he was giving me tips. Gotta go find a class but idk if I'll have time. I really need more hours in the day haha.
Anyway, making my way to Aeon now to look for lights! That's the most important thing. Then I'll have to go back and continue unpacking.
Look what I saw at Aeon! So cute (and so ex haha)
I took one look at the prices of light bulbs and was like "I'll just live in darkness" but that is so not practical so....
(I do want an oven though! When I have money!!)
Is this not the most beautiful sight ever? 😉
Finally finished unpacking my books, which actually does cut down a lot on the number of boxes.
I put some of my favourites on the ledge, in case I want a book and don't want to go to the next room 😂😂
But I don't know where I'll be putting the bed ><
The kimonos have already been packed, so it's just the clothes and kitchen stuff (which can wait).
Not really looking forward to unpacking those two because I don't have places to put it ><
Just got an SMS from SoftBank saying that my internet procedures have been cancelled?!?! And this is after they pushed back my start date by more than a week!
Oh and best part: the link they asked me to confirm the cancellation is broken.
Good job, SoftBank.
I was gonna order Dominos because I have a 1000 yen coupon, but then I found out that they don't deliver to my area 😱 Apparently Nagasaki only had one shop, unlike Fukuoka which has 16.
Luckily there's a Hotto Motto nearby so I went and got a Chicken Nanban bento, which is practically comfort food by now.
I also managed to access the SoftBank website using a different URL they sent me and found the number to call. Apparently, they didn't record the info that I told them a few days ago so they stopped proceedings =.=
It should be resolved now, but I'm applying to another company just in case.
Because I am weak I have already given up on unpacking >< Gonna go to the nearby furniture store tomorrow and look for a rack because I have no idea where to store my clothes now!
Munching on this (and this is truly amazing - I can eat several squares without getting sick of it) and wondering why it's a limited edition thing. And I'm having the ovaltine thing that @flyeetelfly sent - thank you so much!!
Friday, 17 Feb 2017
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