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Naziploitation in Visual-kei

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The NAZI officer's uniform is used by bands DIAURA or REVINE to visualize their themes around "dictators, rebellion, corruption". It doesn't need to be a reference to world war II, that's just the last time in history they had international military presence - this is the frame of reference these guys grew up with. This Imperialist dress is the recognized symbol for ruthless government and societal strictness at the cost of the collective human soul (the latter of which is what leads many a young person to art and music for relief and expression).

 

In one case, the art society TOO rejected the discouraged individual. and HIS response became the reason we have to discuss this..

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Older visual kei was always trying to put some shock value in their looks so that might have been on purpose, but with probably zero political meaning. They were just trying to shock and play with taboos. But I'm pretty sure that current bands are being inspired by that and use uniforms and nazi alike imageries just because it looks cool. Most people in Japan nowadays do not even know what nazism is anyway.

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I would like to point out a thing. Just one minor thing. People already agree that the whole nazi symbolism with swastikas and uniforms is a shock thing, and a few have pointed out that it doesn't really shock people anymore. 

 

Yes it does. Not a lot, but it does. Enough to get people talking. If it wasn't a little strange and slightly on the offensive side, we wouldn't be discussing it here. And that's their purpose. They want to raise eyebrows and get a bit of tongue wagging going on, but that's all, and they're fully aware of it. Nazism has that sort of effect on people. Don't you think they'd be blackfacing right about now if they really wanted to shock and disgust the population?

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10 hours ago, The Bread Wolf said:

Nazism has that sort of effect on people. Don't you think they'd be blackfacing right about now if they really wanted to shock and disgust the population?

We already had a couple of blackfacers in vk last year. So, sadly it is a thing lol. 

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You dont seem to have the slighest idea of what Nazism was, is and will be. You really should read something!!!

 

First, deniying the Holocaust is EXACTLY what neo nazis do. And Visual Kei Artists, do so, as posted by the japanese guy that lives in germany.

 

Second, IMPERIAL JAPAN WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT ALLY OF GERMANY AND THE WHOLE AXIS IN WW II BESIDES ITALY !!!!

How do you not know this???!!

THE ALLIES threw 2 NUCLEAR BOMBS to japanese cities full of people. 

Third: Swastika is originally indo-aryan (vedic) symbol, before it became buddhist, iranic (scythian) and Pagan (european) symbol.

 

Visual Kei artists are secretly neo-nazis, and they are angry at ex-communist and ex-allies countries.

 

Is this good or bad? well, depends of who you ask. Same goes for capitalists/communists.

Edited by Vera_Arianna_von_Hilvety

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A lot has been already written about the SS uniform being an 'edgy fashion thing' that was copied over and over again by generations of vk bands from the 80s until today. Personally I think it's cringy and stupid but I can't really feel offended after seeing it done so many times.

In fact it's also pretty exotic and in a way understandable that the Japanese wouldn't feel as sensitive to it as Europeans and would generally be less educated about it than them.

What I find much more problematic is the way a lot of bands are using the  imagery of Japanese imperialism. (WWII Uniforms, rising sun flags, propaganda) After all, Japan has its own fascist history of imperialism and war crimes, mainly in other Asian countries. And in contrast to Germany they don't really admit them and don't make mention of it in their history books. It's not really controversial to use these images, despite the crimes they stand for. Using symbols from foreign history as some exotic gimmick is one thing (albeit not great), but using the same propaganda your ancestors used a while back without any proper reflection and not expecting backlash either just shows that young Japanese people are very oblivious and ignorant due to their lack of a proper political education.

Edited by hyura

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On 3/8/2018 at 8:01 PM, The Bread Wolf said:

Don't you think they'd be blackfacing right about now if they really wanted to shock and disgust the population?

I wish I could find this picture right now, but when Chanty popped up on the scene they did it with blackface. That's what turned me off the band entirely. But did they mean anything with it? Probably not, because they live in a pretty homogeneous country and they don't have the cultural conditioning to understand why it is wrong. I would say they lack that conditioning so much, it wraps around the continuum and becomes something so foreign to them that it's not even shocking. Does that make any sense?
 

 

3 hours ago, Vera_Arianna_von_Hilvety said:

You dont seem to have the slighest idea of what Nazism was, is and will be. You really should read something!!!

 

First, deniying the Holocaust is EXACTLY what neo nazis do. And Visual Kei Artists, do so, as posted by the japanese guy that lives in germany.

 

Second, IMPERIAL JAPAN WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT ALLY OF GERMANY AND THE WHOLE AXIS IN WW II BESIDES ITALY !!!!

How do you not know this???!!

THE ALLIES threw 2 NUCLEAR BOMBS to japanese cities full of people. 

Third: Swastika is originally indo-aryan (vedic) symbol, before it became buddhist, iranic (scythian) and Pagan (european) symbol.

 

Visual Kei artists are secretly neo-nazis, and they are angry at ex-communist and ex-allies countries.

 

Is this good or bad? well, depends of who you ask. Same goes for capitalists/communists.


I agree with some of the points you made, but not with the conclusion. People do edgy shit all the time for attention. That doesn't mean they actually believe what they're doing. Visual kei bands appropriated nazi imagery years ago, but that doesn't mean they are automatically all neo nazis. Most bands have never appropriated this imagery, so by your logic most bands aren't neo nazis! We're going to need Akane-level outbursts on twitter saying they hate gays, jews, and blacks, or lyrics or interviews that say as much, before I would be willing to point to a band member and say "yep, that's a neo nazi right there".

If you wish to educate us some more, exactly who is it that you are thinking of and what proof do you have? Proof is the coin of the realm here on MH.

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On 3/9/2018 at 8:50 AM, platy said:

We already had a couple of blackfacers in vk last year. So, sadly it is a thing lol.  

I've always had the doubt, is it blackfacing or is it some sort of emulation of traditional demon mask or something? I've seen kabuki masks and some demon masks are black. Are VK artists painting their faces black pretending to be African or just youkai?

 

4 hours ago, Zeus said:

I wish I could find this picture right now, but when Chanty popped up on the scene they did it with blackface. That's what turned me off the band entirely. But did they mean anything with it? Probably not, because they live in a pretty homogeneous country and they don't have the cultural conditioning to understand why it is wrong. I would say they lack that conditioning so much, it wraps around the continuum and becomes something so foreign to them that it's not even shocking. Does that make any sense?

As a Latin American in a country with pretty much no African Americans until the massive Haitian migrations 4 years ago, I agree with this. In certain countries there is absolutely no cultural conditioning to African descendent cultures. I didn't know saying "negro" (which is a pretty harmless adjective to me) was a bad word until I moved to the states when I was friggin' 15, my dad had to give my siblings and I a crash course on what we weren't allowed to say anymore in Spanish in case someone mistook it for an offensive word. Even if now with globalization you can educate yourself via internet, it's not something we grew up with so it's not deeply inserted in our culture nor our subconscious and therefore not shocking at all, just exotic. I'm giving those so called "blackface" outbursts in VK the benefit of the doubt.

Edited by Komorebi

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I can't actually understand those lyrics because there are no English subs, but even if the lyrics are bad, one song isn't going to prove an ideology for thousands of people. Also... I'm sorry, but I am so confused right now. Should I bail from this thread? I might lurk.

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I actually watched a short video where someone went around and asked people in Japan about swastikas, Hitler and shit, and barely anyone under the age of 60+ seemed to know anything about it that era and shit. Like, they could not recognize Hitler nor could they tell who he was, what he had done.

 

They didn't really teach about it at school at all.

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23 hours ago, Zeus said:

I wish I could find this picture right now, but when Chanty popped up on the scene they did it with blackface. That's what turned me off the band entirely. But did they mean anything with it? Probably not, because they live in a pretty homogeneous country and they don't have the cultural conditioning to understand why it is wrong. I would say they lack that conditioning so much, it wraps around the continuum and becomes something so foreign to them that it's not even shocking. Does that make any sense?

It's kinda sad how it doesn't shock people. I'm sure many people found Chanty's blackface hilarious, the same way they associate black people with exaggerated gestures and funny intonations - pretty much the only representation they get in Japanese media.

 

It's sad mostly because Japan is not as homogeneous as the mainstream narrative goes. The people they find so hilarious work with them, go to school with them (or with their children), teach them English and live in the same neighborhoods with them. Plus they're exposed to western culture through media. So while I understand why it's not shocking (the discourse on race in Japan is... different), I don't think it's a reason to shrug and say 'oh well that's just the way Japan is'.

 

So did they mean anything by it? Not a big political statement, but using the same tired portrayal of black people for comedy is saying SOMETHING.

 

Spoiler

(I'm still traumatized from when I went to see R-shitei and saw this Naomi Osaka cosplay, complete with really bad Japanese/thick "American" accent:)

 

 

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2 hours ago, qotka said:

It's kinda sad how it doesn't shock people. I'm sure many people found Chanty's blackface hilarious, the same way they associate black people with exaggerated gestures and funny intonations - pretty much the only representation they get in Japanese media.

 

I would bet that many people did. But like I said before, I wasn't very happy when I saw it. I didn't make a big stink of it, but I did not check Chanty out for quite some time simply because of that stunt. The first time I heard anything from Chanty was when someone put it on a mix, and then I swiped the mini and proceeded to never listen to it. I wasn't sad either when one of the members announced departure. I also refuse to review any of their material here. So these kinds of things do bother me and I do the things I can to express my displeasure, but I also realize that outside of here I have no power to change those attitudes.

 

2 hours ago, qotka said:

 

It's sad mostly because Japan is not as homogeneous as the mainstream narrative goes. The people they find so hilarious work with them, go to school with them (or with their children), teach them English and live in the same neighborhoods with them. Plus they're exposed to western culture through media. So while I understand why it's not shocking (the discourse on race in Japan is... different), I don't think it's a reason to shrug and say 'oh well that's just the way Japan is'.

 

But that is the way Japan is! Even if there are other races in Japan, Japan has been and primarily will be Japanese. Japanese customs and culture dominates there and it goes way back, and all that history has an impact on the present. They have exposure to some parts of western culture but a lot of context is lost in translation, and that doesn't displace their culture, and race is one of those things. As a result, their culture puts less value on racial issues than ours does. It's unfortunate, and with time those attitudes can change, but right now that's the way it is. I don't like it, but I have no choice but to accept it. My country is still in the process of sorting its own racial issues out, so I'm willing to extend some patience to them in this aspect.
 

2 hours ago, qotka said:

So did they mean anything by it? Not a big political statement, but using the same tired portrayal of black people for comedy is saying SOMETHING.


And I think this is the most important thing you said. It means SOMETHING, and that something is definitely unsavory, but that doesn't mean we can generalize about the political and religious beliefs of an entire race of people. The same thing goes for use of nazi imagery in visual kei.  I know that they know what that symbolizes, and that it is insensitive, hateful, and inflammatory. I bet some artists do it for the shock value, some are more radicalized and believe in it, and some aren't associated with it at all. Plenty of songs feature speech snippets from Hitler, Goebbels, and the like, but these clips are used in many contexts. The simple inclusion of these clips doesn't mean they are automatically neo-nazis.

There was a poster in here I had to censor because they wrote several long manifestos, but between the ranting there was some lucid thoughts that do add some context to this discussion. They mentioned lyrics from several visual kei bands that could be interpreted as one or more band members having radical beliefs. Unfortunately, they did not include an English translation, so I can't verify. Can anyone find translations for the following songs so we can decide on our own?

Avanchick - Jinsei Game
 


THE GALLO - Maou -Yami Uta-
 


D.I.D. - nihilism.
 

 

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avanchick - jinsei game

briefly speaking, the main character goes through several reincarnations, he reborns as a host, as salaryman, playboy bartender, and bandomen for whom nobody cares (all four careers not respected in society), but no matter who you are life is a joke and god is just playing with us and we buy relationships for money and bla bla bla

 

yami uta by gallo is criticizing japan, as there are two lines about corrupted country of the gods. japan is referred as country of the gods because their myths say emperors ascend from japanese god amaterasu.

 

well half of did song is in english and those lines cover pretty much everything: no point in living, no point in dying, god is dead, all that teen angst stuff

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