Does Gwen Stefani’s ‘Harajuku’ Cartoon Really Have Zero Japanese Characters In It?
, 2016-09-16 07:00:00,
Between that, plus the incident in 2012 when No Doubt had to apologize to Native Americans for the “cowboys and Indians-themed” video for “Looking Hot” (which featured Stefani wearing traditional tribal clothing and DANCING IN A TEEPEE), you’d have thought the singer would have learned to question her own appropriation problems before making them yet again.
Earlier this week, Nickelodeon announced the Oct. 3 debut of Kuu Kuu Harajuku — a cartoon that revives Love, Angel, Music and Baby and puts them in a band (named HJ5) alongside a blond named “G” (guess who?). Stefani has said that the animated series is “for young girls” and “celebrates creativity, imagination and individuality.” Which sounds great until you see what the characters actually look like:
You might be wondering where the Japanese girls are here. It’s hard not to. The school uniforms are still there. And one girl has hair sticks. But these “Harajuku” girls, with their long legs, tiny waists, big boots and oversized, made-up eyes, more closely resemble Bratz dolls (a brand frequently criticized for marketing overly-sexualized female body ideals to tweens) than anything related to Harajuku culture. It seems Stefani (or network executives) thought the best way to deal with the overt cultural appropriation was simply “let’s not have them be Asian anymore.”
There are Stefani fans who will undoubtedly argue that if she had gone with an animated band of obviously Asian characters, that too…
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