I saw this meme on Tumblr ages ago.
The world asks why? Japan asks, Why not?
And indeed, why not include another new subculture in Japan’s already colourful Copacabana wheel of cultural fortune?
B-Style in Japan (a contraction of “Black” and “Lifestyle’ ) is a sub-culture of Japanese kids who idolise African American pop/hip-hop culture. They not only sport the “looks” but belt out the slang too.
Is this racially controversial?
I mean, when a white person goes to a Halloween party as Snoop Dogg, he’s up for some potential criticism.
But what happens when an Asian person goes ahead and does it?
Does that make it somehow OK? Cultural appropriation isn’t really cultural appropriation when an ethnic person does it, right?
I’m gonna leave that debate up to you.
If you ask me, this is Japan. It’s also 2014, and besides Google taking over the world, nothing really is that shocking any more.
B-style in Japan is just another way of creating a like-minded community where values, ideas and trends can be bonded over. Desiré van den Berg, a Dutch photographer, interviewed Hina (an avid B-Styler ) for Vice, and had this to say about it all –
“There are things like the Harajuku Girls, which I guess are rather normal but some are complete excesses. Hina often goes to New York, and she idolises America. Japanese TV is full of American films and commercials and that must be a reason, too. She sees America as a kind of promised land.”