Hip Hop Culture in Japan

Hip Hop Culture in Japan

This article brings up a very interesting aspect of the Japanese hip-hop construct that weighs particular importance in light of recent race-relations tensions: is Japanese hip-hop a cultural appropriation or misappropriation. The argument that the writer puts forth in the article is that many Japanese people treat hip hop culture as a “look,” and try to emulate the “look” of hip hop by dressing up in ways that, inevitably, are versions of blackness. Dressing up as black is particularly problematic in the United States with its history of Blackface and Minstrel shows — and so I can understand why the writer is wary of any type of black or African-American ‘dress up.’

That being said, Japanese hip hop has expanded to be so much greater than a racially insensitive fashion trend. Japanese rappers, b-boys and graffiti artists have taken the form and evolved it into their own style. I think that while there are racial histories that any fan of hip-hop must understand, the form is too powerful and too dynamic to be held to one country or culture.

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