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
etc.

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.

I say: THIS IS NOT OK.

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
(no subject) - Anonymous
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.
kakowasure 13th-Nov-2009 04:45 am (UTC)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYxae1jE2iA


doushite japan :/
sabaku_no_leti 13th-Nov-2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
That Yorosen episode was absolutely hilarious. One of my favourites. The only thing that bothered me was Maimi's ignorance, although I don't know if she was just playing dumb for the laughs. I think Hitler got owned with such silly drawing, mouth and hairpin included, and the references to his height. She didn't say anything that wasn't correct: she mentioned the cleansing motive of his discourses and how he subtly manipulated people. The reaction was way over the top :\
cynicalsnark 13th-Nov-2009 04:51 am (UTC)
There's just so much about WWII that I wonder if people in Japan get educated about. Like I know there's a whole controversy about Japanese textbooks just omitting the atrocities that happened in Nanking and Unit 1855, but I'm not sure how much people have been educated about the Third Reich, and the happenings in Europe.
nene718 13th-Nov-2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Well, he was a great speaker.
jia_zhang 13th-Nov-2009 04:57 am (UTC)
Honestly, he wasn't that much of a great speaker. The Bolsheviks and Communists and Trotskiests were great. Hitler...eh.

...people who say he's amazing are idiots. I actually read Mein Kamf, and Trotsky blows him out of the water. Facists are gross.
nene718 13th-Nov-2009 05:01 am (UTC)
If Hitler wasn't a good speaker, he wouldn't have been able to influence so many people to do such horrible things. Shitty speakers don't get attention.
jia_zhang 13th-Nov-2009 05:03 am (UTC)
It's just my opinion. I've heard a lot of him speaking, and from an unbiased point of view, it's very...eh. He's very plain; I think if it weren't for the people backing him, he wouldn't have got so far.
nene718 13th-Nov-2009 05:09 am (UTC)
You can say you're looking at it from an unbiased point of view, but it's not the same view as the troubled Germans who put their trust in him after hearing him speak.
booksandsarcasm 1st-Jan-2010 08:11 am (UTC)
I think his influence had a lot to do with the German mindset at the time after the treaty of Versailles and everything. xD Had times been better and people not had a strong desire... I'm not sure he would have swayed as many people as he did.
booksandsarcasm 1st-Jan-2010 08:12 am (UTC)
*for a scapegoat
(no subject) - Anonymous
jia_zhang 13th-Nov-2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Mussolini was a douche. And Stalin just made off from what Lenin did...all dictators are fascists, and all fascists are gross.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
soulmarket 13th-Nov-2009 06:10 am (UTC)
I'm not sure at all how WWII is taught in Japan, so I won't make any general remarks on the Japanese education system, but in regards to what you said, I'm not sure the C-ute clip really qualifies as a real example of Japanese schooling because... I mean, they're idols. They aren't exactly paragons of scholarly learning. XD;; They didn't even recognize his name! I was shocked and amazed and... amused by that clip.
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