Sony apologizes after girl band poses in Nazi costumes


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/02/sony-apologizes-after-girl-ban.html


#2

Jake: "Hey, what’s going on?!"
Policeman: "Ah, those bums have an album out, so they’re performing today."
Jake: "What bums?"
Policeman: "The fucking Nazi pop band."
Elwood: "Yokohama Nazis."
Jake: “I hate Yokohama Nazis!


#3

In Japan, even though they were an axis power, the Nazi/Holocaust just does not make any personal emotional connection to them. So Nazi imagery is just abstractly interesting, but with no more emotional impact.


#5

Nazi what? I though we were going to stop bringing up the war?


#6

Man, I would never want to get in a fight with John Cleese.


#7

Having read through the text, it looks pretty much boilerplate Japanese apology.

Probably the same boilerplate that Sony used in 2011 and again this year. And will use every time this happens again.

People dressing up as Wermacht isnt common here but I’ve seen it often enough that its not uncommon either. In fact one of the local monthly airsoft magazines has a feature every issue of a girl about the same age group as these idoru dressed up in WWII uniforms. Most often German.

Here are photos I took of a sales booth at a military surplus/airsoft event in May 2016 showing the woman working there enjoying a seltzer and tables showing some of the product for sale:

One row over was a frenchman from a military surplus shop outside Paris. I was there with two other frenchmen at the time. No one was happy about this. I made a point to speak to the owner of the event about this.

I didnt take pictures of the attendees who were in various German uniforms including Wermacht & Waffen SS replicas. Unfortunately that doesnt register so much with me any more.

Not entirely correct. The Diary of Anne Frank is read by many Japanese and IIRC the Japanese are the #1 visitors to the Frank House in Amsterdam. There is even a holocaust museum in Hiroshima. Nonetheless what people here respond to is the very powerful iconography and design of the Reich’s uniforms & weapons.

What people here often lack is any connection between the past and the present. This isnt just the past of the world outside Japan but very much Japan’s own past. Before anyone inserts the standard net.warcrimes rant, my comment here is far more broad than the 20th Century.

It is precisely the emotional impact of the design which draws people to it and not just here. Not for the “shock value” or ideological reasons but for the power of the design itself.

Some military uniform designs are in fact very powerful at capturing people’s imaginations. Gibson wrote an entire novel where this fit deeply in the plot line. Early this year or maybe last year, a company in Kyoto did a series of men’s kimonos based on current US camouflage patterns. Actual silk printed ACU or MARPAT for example:

(sorry for the poor quality, I took pictures of the magazine to show someone, never bothered scanning it and am too lazy/tired now to dig up the company website.)

Actually the IJA/INJ had some very stylish uniforms, especially for officers. As for ideology, well, um… perhaps you havent really read much on late 19th/early 20th century Japanese history? Rest assured, theres plenty out there in English detailing the well formed, detailed and wide spread (domestically) ideology. Two keyphrases to start your search are “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” or “Eight Houses, One Roof”.

WIthout getting into the arguments over ever increasing Chinese statistics, I think we have a very different understanding of the word “similar”. To put it another way, 70 years after the fact the world Jewish population still hasnt recovered to its pre-WWII numbers but since 1950, China’s population has more than tripled:

Basically no matter how good the IAJ was, the impact (to say nothing of the Intent) is different.


Freeze Peach 🍑 (USA)
#8

Besides, in the anime and manga world there’s a tendency to depict “nazi-like” characters as the bad guys, or even the oppressive/abusive teachers in some fantasy/SF school of horrors etc. If you take away the nazi hats (which I admit are almost impossible to defend) and you look at the picture of her on the right, it looks like the usual “modern/retro/military/lolita” bad girl dress.


#9

Watching Jojo’s Bizarre adventure right now (first season, the second arc set in the 1930s, with NYC JoJo) and some Nazis show up. I thought that the nazis in the first part got off a little easy, but it seems like they are changing the tone a bit as the rest of the season unfolds.


#10

But you started it!


#11

Japanese Nazis had to happen, sadly so.


#12

Oh, that’s just reich


#13

the youngsters themselves likely had no idea of the SS uniforms’ deeper significance

There may be a deeper problem with Japan and a sense of history. Thirty years ago, as a young boy I had a heated discussion with a Japanese friend who insisted that Germany had won World War II. Mind you, we were both born and raised in the Netherlands (that’s where Anne Frank wrote her diaries, to place things into context). His argument: because his father said so. I asked the father in person and, to my astonishment, he confirmed the statement. In retrospect, I estimate the father to be born either during or shortly after the end of the war.

Then again, the further away you are, geographically, from the former Third Reich, the more oblivious you tend to be about the sentiments and psychological significance of Nazi symbolism among people living in former occupied territory. Thailand, for instance, has a thing for Hitler.


#14

I could have sworn that this exact story happened a few years back, and was even discussed here on BB, but my searches aren’t turning up anything…damn nazi time machines.


#15

it helps to be German to use nazi machines


#16

still can’t find the BB article, but I’m not going insane, this did happen:
http://www.japanprobe.com/2011/03/01/jewish-group-protests-ss-like-uniforms-of-japanese-rock-band/


(edit: big thanks to @renke who found the BB post!!! phew. :champagne: )

(edit #2: sony also apologized then…i’m starting to doubt their sincerity.)


#17

…in this specific case…


#18

Speaking of time travel and nazis:


#19

Friendly corrections:
It’s Keyakizaka46 not Keyakizaka4.
It’s not a duo, there is (are?) 32 of them.


#20

It helps to remember these Japanese idol girls no more choose their costumes than they write their songs. (I would assume there are boy idols too.) They sing what they are told to sing and wear what they are told to wear.

Americans think this is normal for movie actors, but somehow contemptible for singers. But Frank Sinatra didn’t write songs, and neither did Dionne Warwick.


#21

It is an interesting study on symbols and their meanings. Japan were allies of Germany, and they have nearly no Jewish population, and the Buddhist swastika is still prevalent in their culture. And they don’t have white power groups waving them around now. Would you say their culture just doesn’t have the same emotional links ours or Europe has?

On the flip side, I imagine WWII Imperial Japan imagery and symbols are taboo in China, due to the horrors inflicted there (and, you know, their long history), but there is not nearly the anti-Japanese stigma in the US.