Arama They Didn't

8:13 pm - 11/12/2009

Swastikaii? Nazi Chic?

Japan’s so-called hottest brand Neighborhood got me thinking while visiting their flagship store in Harajuku. What I found made me feel really uncomfortable: swastika-festooned (aka “Hakenkreuz”) knives, a real-life size porcelain head of Adolf Hitler, SS signs (SS = “Schutzstaffel”, Hitler’s executing army during World War 2) integrated into their collection etc. Too bad that I obviously wasn’t allowed to take any pictures. I’ve never experienced such a feeling before when entering a store willing to buy something. All of a sudden, I did not only feel uncomfortable, but somehow felt offended.
Maybe it’s because I’m German, but I think us Europeans in general were brought up with a whole different comprehension of what happened in the past during WW2. We were taught in school how horrible this period was and they almost made us feel ashamed of being German, even though our generation didn’t have anything to do with it. Over here, it definitely would be IMPOSSIBLE to display and glorify Nazi signs like that and I’m very thankful for that. Let’s not forget that an estimated 6 million Jewish were killed during WW2 and another estimated 50 million people lost their lives and there’s definitely no reason to “celebrate” this dark period in history.
It’s another thing to be inspired and fascinated by the designs of the SS uniforms, we have seen that in many other collections before, but why using swastikas? Why glorifying Adolf Hitler as a person? Why using typical Nazi signs that are strongly affiliated to WW2? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

I’m pretty sure that Japanese people must not have the same education, perception and feeling about the Nazi era as we have here in Europe, so I could understand the obsession with Nazi symbols. However, I assume that Mr. Shinsuke Takizawa & Mr. Tetsu Nishiyama have had a proper education and know what WW2 was all about and how horrible and terrifying the things were that happened during that time. Therefore, they should have a certain responsibility to their customers, because what I experienced at the 15th anniversary Neighborhood party, were young Japanese kids following the Neighborhood’s Nazi hype without any understanding what they are doing or wearing.

That night I found this kid wearing this T-Shit (which is NOT a Neighborhood shirt):

On the back of the shirt it said:
1937 - Denmark
1938 - France
1939 - Poland

After asking him what he’s wearing there and if he knows what the Nazi era was all about, he couldn’t really say anything and just kept apologizing and said that it is a fashion trend in Tokyo.

I think as a designer/brand owner you have a certain responsibility to what you produce and put out there in the market. Of course, maybe the whole collection is just for the Japanese market and not for us Europeans, but still messing around with such a sensitive subject has nothing to do any more with provoking other people, but is plain dumb and brainless.


Again, this is only my personal opinion. Would love to hear and learn what others say about this topic…\

I find most Japanese clothes/things fashionable even anpanman-inspired jumpers. The nazi-chic trend has apparently sprouted in not only Japan but also in other countries in East Asia. I wonder what the reaction would be if the Jewish made clothes inspired by the Hiroshima bombing.

Source: Highsnobsociety
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incisively 13th-Nov-2009 04:17 am (UTC)
That Hitler plushie is adorable, idc what anyone says.

Edited at 2009-11-13 04:18 am (UTC)
floweranza 13th-Nov-2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Shit, I'm Jewish and it really amuses me because it would've probably really pissed him off. XD
wicked_seraph 13th-Nov-2009 04:25 am (UTC)
This is really appalling >/
sari89 13th-Nov-2009 04:26 am (UTC)
this saddens me
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nene718 13th-Nov-2009 04:56 am (UTC)
I think it's dumb for the writer of this to assume that Japanese do not have an understanding of what went on.

ia. That's an ignorant crock of shit.
carrotsandroses 13th-Nov-2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Glamorizing the Holocaust is just seriously not cool :/
brilliantglow 13th-Nov-2009 04:43 am (UTC)
IA. they're also glamorizing the "evil mastermind" which is a total no-no.
sapah_fu 13th-Nov-2009 04:39 am (UTC)
the plushie is kind of cute... but that shirt is so not okay with me.
earenwe 13th-Nov-2009 04:40 am (UTC)
It's pretty disgusting. A lot of time fashion tries to get around morals because it's "just a shirt" or "the theme fits the design" or some crap, but there's nothing okay about it. :(
placetohide 13th-Nov-2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh, Japan, I know you love taking the superficial aspects of things for your own entertainment, but, uh... some things should be left alone.
crystaltokyo 13th-Nov-2009 04:42 am (UTC)

Is this ferreal? Is this real life?
raindiae 13th-Nov-2009 04:46 am (UTC)
I love you
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sadistic_dance 13th-Nov-2009 04:45 am (UTC)
C-ute did. They also drew him kind of adorably and were calling him "Uncle Hitler" or something like that.
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sadistic_dance 13th-Nov-2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Only Japan could make Hitler so adorably huggable. Bastard.
murasaki_yuki 13th-Nov-2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
raindiae 13th-Nov-2009 04:45 am (UTC)
Hmm.. I really don't know what to say about this - I'm pretty speechless.

Anyway, I have somewhat of a fascination with that era in Europe and that type or thing; but am I no where near that into it to buy nazi gear. I even think the SS uniforms are pretty badass - shun me if you'd like :/

Yeah, in a way I find it a bit much and come ON what were these East Asians thinking? So many wonderful things have come from this part of the world, and quite honestly I feel that they are just uneducated when it comes to this sort of thing! Maybe they are all just slaves to fashion and take the whole "trend-setter" thing to a whole new level.
st_oswald 13th-Nov-2009 05:34 am (UTC)
IA with the uniforms being badass. They were very well-designed I must admit.
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godsgirl7 13th-Nov-2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Not to sound like I'm attacking you or anything, but...what good did Hitler do in his lifetime that could weigh against all the evil he committed? :/ I'm not easily offended, but that t-shirt that makes Hitler's attempted genocide sound like a rock tour is not okay with me.
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cynicalsnark 13th-Nov-2009 04:47 am (UTC)

Are these people stupid? That's the only thing I can say.
irmakaneli 13th-Nov-2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
same here!
koshifuri 13th-Nov-2009 04:49 am (UTC)
The holocaust was a bad bad thing.

prismboy 13th-Nov-2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
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