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Controlled Karaoke: Japanese Band Wears Outfits Resembling Nazi Garb, World Not So Pleased

Photo courtesy of Japan Probe
Photo courtesy of Japan Probe

Some Japanese rock band named Kishidan recently did an interview with MTV Japan. Most of the time, nobody except maybe really die-hard Kishidan fans (do those exist?) would give a care. But said interview featured the group wearing uniforms resembling the clothes members of the SS wore in Nazi Germany. This has spurred Jewish human rights NGO the Simon Wiesenthal Center to demand an apology via press release. You can read the whole thing over at Japan Probe and look at some more photos of the group.

Though the outrage over the band’s clothing choice is completely justified, I don’t necessarily think Kishidan meant anything with it. To me anyway, this falls into the “lost in cultural translation” bucket – some Western taboos don’t carry the same value in this side of the world. This past December, the store Don Quijote – the Japanese equivalent of Spencer’s Gifts – was pressured by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to remove a Nazi costume they were selling for about $60. Nazi costumes have popped up in skin-cream ads and I can attest to the existence of at least one store in Osaka selling nothing but Nazi memorabilia. It’s similar to how blackface pops up all the time on TV – it’s offensive to Westerners (at least Americans, at least it should be) but it’s a different society here.

In lighter subject matter, you can listen to the music of Kishidan this way. If you like really boring rock, you’ll love these guys! Plus they uhhhh soundtracked Naruto at some point?