Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture | NYT

Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture | NYT

And I’m Walter, your host. If you grew up
in L.A. like I did, then you kind of understand
just how big of a deal Chicano and Chicana
culture is out here. And it’s a way for people
like myself to both honor the lives that we have here
and the lives our parents left behind in Mexico. When I first heard
that there were people copying Chicano culture
in Japan, it seemed surreal. I really had no
idea that this world could exist outside of L.A. So I decided to
go and find out how this spread so
far away and why. Our first stop: the
lowrider scene in Nagoya. Lowriders are iconic to
the Chicano community in Los Angeles, and
were created in the 1940s. They came to represent
rebellion, resilience and beauty. And so I’m curious about
how these cars got here. That’s Junichi. He’s one of the godfathers of
the Japanese lowrider scene, and founded one of the
oldest car clubs in Nagoya. Junichi’s been in this role
for more than 30 years. For questions about lowrider
culture and Chicano culture, he’s someone who people in
Japan really look up to. [cheering] My first introduction
to lowriders were actually people
in my neighborhood. My best friend
and I growing up, we used to build these
little lowrider model cars. All we wanted to do in life
was just own these lowrider cars. Being here has me thinking
about all of the cultures Japan has taken on
at different points. So it’s not
surprising that there are thousands of
people here that are into Chicano culture. For our next stop,
we’re heading to Osaka, the cultural capital
for Chicano fashion and art. Miki Style! Miki Style is a
D.J., and he runs a shop called La Puerta that
imports clothes from L.A. What’s your most
popular shirt? “DGA.” Why do you think people
love this shirt so much? Miki Style reminds
me of someone who I went to
middle school with. You know, like, shaved head,
baggy pants, baggy T-shirt. He goes to L.A. He buys clothes,
and he buys gear. And he brings it back to Japan
and has a thriving business. So when I thought about
cultural appropriation and how oftentimes
there is money being made from
a certain culture and a certain community, he
potentially fit into that. Even though Miki says
he respects the culture, it was weird seeing so much of
the allied Chicano gang scene represented in his store. So I wanted to meet
Night tha Funksta, an artist based in Osaka whose artwork
focuses on the positive aspects of Chicano culture. MoNa a.k.a. Sad Girl is one
of Japan’s most popular Chicano-style rappers. She’s released four albums,
and her international fan base has taken her to perform
in places like L.A. and San Diego. “She’s Mousey.” “Mousey.” “Sia.” “Sia.” “Maiko.” “Maiko.” “Wella.” “Wella.” “Wella.” “Which one of these women
still dress like this?” “Nobody.” “Nobody? Just you?” “Just me. Just me.” [laughs] “And what do you think is the
future of Chicano fashion and culture here in Japan?” “One, two. Check one, two.” “Sounds great.” This story attracted me
because it was asking a question about belonging. Here you had a group
of people really committed to copying
Chicano culture, but also deeply Japanese. And so for them, it
wasn’t a question of “either/or,” but
more so, “and.”

100 thoughts on “Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture | NYT

  1. I’m a chicana and I think this is beautiful in all honesty, some of y’all be acting so hurt from these people trying our culture but the thing is, what they are doing isn’t wrong. They’re free to do whatever they want❤️

  2. i think its cool that another culture chooses to embrace another culture. much love to our Japanese brothers and sisters.

  3. This is awesome, Follow me on face book, Tejano Gold Radio and tune in to some Tejano Music. I have produced Tejano / Chicano Festivals and Lowrider Car Shows here in Texas for over 30 years. Msg me if you need anything.

  4. Japanese are about respect. Just like Mejicanos. So who else would understand us than our own culture doubles. It's about tradition culture food and art guey no MMS! Conmadre!

  5. Cultural appropriation is looked down upon but in reality it is a sign of respect and love. If they're doing it from the heart. 💯💯

  6. It's funny they mentioning the Japanese cultural appropriation but fail to realize half their culture was copied from black Americans.. black Americans seem to always be forgotten about yet everyone in the world takes from they style and culture.

  7. I wonder what they would think if they saw Zoot Suiter. I was one. The original Pachucos. When I go there I have to show them what a Zoot Suit looks like.

  8. I dont get the point of repping chicanos when you have no ties to the culture…
    It just seems like they like the style and nothing more.

    Someone help me understand.

  9. idk man, the Japanese are a very xenophobic society and for them to accept the mutt culture that a chicano represents really says something about how some people treat us here where we were born. It was cool seeing this.

  10. I grew up in Gardena, California, in Los Angeles county… Gardena is mostly Japanese and Mexican culture. Most of my friends I grew up with were half Japanese and white or half Japanese and Mexican and of course, Japanese-American and their parents or grandparents were raised in CA or came from Japan and settled in different parts of California. A few of my Japanese-American friends, the guys, dress like the chicanos, have tattoos all over, party hard, (when we were younger, now most of us are married with families), they always are working on cars, still wear socks to the knees, that meet the shorts to the knees! Lol And Gardena for a small community, has a lot of great local places to eat.. there’s still an ongoing local gang around and they all get together for a big bbq party… I moved away several years ago after I got married (to my Gringo hubby! 😉)… but check out Gardena, California, it’s a pretty cool place to check out! You’ll get the Japanese culture experience and the Mexican culture experience! One of my good friends, is half Japanese and half Polish-American! I have never met someone with that mixed ethnicity before, very cool! His mother is from Japan, so he grew up knowing a lot about his mothers side and his fathers Polish side, that’s awesome! 😉😁

  11. Wait, wait….do you mean to tell me that I am not the last of my kind??? That being Mexican-Japanese, I am not alone in the universe???

  12. Personally, I don't understand the concept of cultural appropriation as a negative thing. Humans like to copy from each other (case in point, instead of coming up with original things, we share the same memes with each other). Furthermore we often find inspiration in things that are new and foreign. So I don't understand why people frame it as a negative when people copy things from other culture. Culture is not a finite commodity. Just because some person in Japan bought a lowrider doesn't mean an actual Chicano won't be able to buy a lowrider. Culture is something that can be copied endlessly, and because it is copied, it's what allows cultures to change.

  13. Instead of Mexicans embracing they're super advanced leading technology Mexico is stuck forever perhaps. Ironically, anybody can dress up like a Chicano and not get hurt. That's the world we live in.

  14. sangre por sangre is a must watch for chicano enthusiast outside mexico and a cultural staple of middle to low class mexican people, or blood in blood out in the us.

  15. Yeah right most people no like us gang bangers in every high school we bang tag up bathroom wall with SUR 13 u know we chicanos are vicious in school we don't get scared to show off our culture

  16. Sabia un poco de este desmadre en Japón, pero sin duda me sigue sorprendiendo, como es que en latinoamerica no se aprecia esta clase de subcultura?

  17. I think many Asian cultures, especially the younger generations, they become tired of their more rigid way of life. Because in Japan, korea, China, etc. Most people have to follow a certain way and they see other lifestyles as rebellion.

  18. The Japanese got it going on!
    Que viva the Chicano inspired Japoneses。(You do it right! and low and slow) Those are some bad lowriders!…Nice documentry…
    Well thought out and executed!
    Keep these videos coming. I have seen more then a few! (Got to get to Kyoto and Nagoya!!)

  19. We blood of Mexico 🇲🇽 the mother lands it’s cool if u like are culture and stuff but just remember u ain’t blood of blood u just like the culture and if u chill with us u good lol 😂 respects though (love her eyeliner though ❤️)

  20. And now that you've watched this, go look into the Chicano Obsession with Morrissey. Seriously, in East L.A. there is an enormous contingent of people who adore Morrissey and the Smiths.

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