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
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.
(no subject) - Anonymous
jia_zhang 13th-Nov-2009 05:14 am (UTC)
That makes you a horrible human being. Seeing good in people? What a crock. It's people who only look at the good that let things like the Holocaust and Nanking and Vietnam and all those tragedies happen.
godsgirl7 13th-Nov-2009 05:27 am (UTC)
I...won't go so far as jia_zhang did, but only seeing good in people is naive at best. I do believe that everyone has good in them somewhere, but to only see good in a person who singlehandedly caused the murder of millions of innocent people? D:
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