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
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.
raindiae 13th-Nov-2009 06:49 am (UTC)
Ah, yes people agreeing with me! This is exciting - I thought I'd get the everloving crap slapped out of me for saying that.

This is thread is a good one, it's contreversial but I've always been curious to see where people stand on this point. The whole Nazi-Germany era is a very touchy subject all around the world.. at least it should be?

Then again I am new to this comm, I just likes me some Asian pop culture :)
Your icon is cute too♥
openmyminibar 13th-Nov-2009 07:33 am (UTC)
not even gonna lie, I've always thought those uniforms were pretty damn cool- I just really wish it had been a better set of people wearing them :/
damn you, nazi designer for making cool clothes for despicable people
bigbad88 13th-Nov-2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
I remember correctly it was some higher up in the Nazi party and a graphic designer who designed the uniform and then Hugo Boss made them.
openmyminibar 13th-Nov-2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
:O Fancy menswear Hugo Boss? Ferreal?
bigbad88 13th-Nov-2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
bigbad88 13th-Nov-2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
If I remember correctly, His company was going under until he joined the Nazi party and got commissioned as the official producer of Nazi uniforms- from the SS to the Hitlerjugend.
yukifairy 13th-Nov-2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
the uniforms are gorgeous in a fashion sense (hugo boss)(but obviously not for what they portray today when one see's them with the Nazi swastika (btw the swastika used to have another meaning too but when we see it now days you only instantly think of WW2 and other bad things.such a shame.

People in general are always uneducated about history because you only learn half of the truth. in school from your own countries point of view.

Just like in the United States with the Trail of Tears, we make it seem like it was such a small thing but it too was just almost as bad as what Germany (Hitler) .
raindiae 13th-Nov-2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
I agree! Acutally I was aware of the swastika's real meaning, in fact it was a religious symbol - something beautiful and admired by many people. Unfortunately Hitler took the symbol and manipulated it to become this universal logo for hate and destruction.

You prove a very good point. Every nation has its faults, at least some point in history. Quite honestly, no one is safe. I learned that Trail of Tears was a tragedy in school, but we never went in depth with it.. Then again what do you expect? I'm sure plenty of countries just want to put all those kinds of things in the past, and glorify themselves with positive stories to cover it up.
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