Saturday, July 02, 2005

Japanoiserie Harajuku Girls by Gwen Stefani and Tokyo Girls by Hellen van Meene - originally from, but reproduced without bug-me-ware on that site.

An interesting article about the exploitation of Japanese youth culture, and the way that 'Japanese' is becoming a signifier for 'hip', whilst still being overlaid with pre-existing cultural assumptions and stereotypes.

I'm sort of guilty of the offhanded reduction-to-stereotypes the article describes. Yes, I'm fascinated by Japanese design, and have an over-romanticised idea about how cool the place must be, gleaned from a weird mishmash of bizarro adverts, Lost in Translation, and gaming magazines. So it's good to read a reminder that actually, you're romanticisng an entire culture; one that is not your own, and that you therefore have no pregiven access to the (um, there is a word for this, but I've forgotten it) 'framework-of-assumptions' that actually governs the workings of the culture. You're always an outsider.

Humn, anyway, this isn't particularly focused, but it's sort of a reminder to myself to actually do some background reading about traditional crafts culture in Japan, so at least I have some background knowledge to my Japanophilia. And also, to watch Topsy Turvy again, as it's gentle mockery of the splendidly patronising colonialist obsession with the mysterious orient that so excited the edwardians is a good grounder...

No comments: