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.”

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Comments

  1. "Without that, we are just some people who drive around in lowrider cars." You still are! Explore other cultures just don't turn your back on your own; it's just as unique, exciting, and vibrant as those around you.

  2. Trace back the roots to pre-WWII LA and you have Japanese, blacks and chicanos all coexisting in zoot suit/low rider subculture. In 1942, the Japanese in California lost everything and were forcibly removed: so isn't there a certain justice or fulfillment of karma in their present day participation in the lowrider lifestyle? They seem to be taking the most positive aspects of the lifestyle and using it as a form of expression. In fact, in South LA are there not still black low riders? If they are not Chicano, are they also guilty of "cultural appropriation". All kinds of aspects of American fashion and music have been disseminated throughout the world as a result of movies and exposure to the American military presence in almost every part of the world: are Italians who wear Levi jeans and converse shoes guilty of cultural appropriation any more or less than Japanese low riders? And if so, so what?

  3. Brothers pass for black if you can!! When you can pass for black like me you get plenty of PITY pu$$y from white and black girls….They fall for that stupid media black crybaby [email protected] every time!!! Plus everyone treats you well because they're afraid you'll go all crybaby and call them a racist.

  4. The same people who talk about, "Unity and coming together." Are the same ones who say, "Cultural appropriation." No logic to these people.

  5. Dang Walter sounds like you hating on the Japanese brothers. Let them represent our lifestyle and culture all love to them GOD Bless.

  6. Chicano culture is a group not a gang. It's familia. People coming together. Mad respect. 🇯🇵 🇲🇽.

  7. 痛すぎて、悲しさのシンパシーから〜の命名SAD GIRL。
     山田くんせっかくだから座布団10枚 頭に叩きつけてあげて🤣😂😆😅 アッウチィ ビンチ プト〜マモンウェイ。

  8. sad girl is definitely reincarnated from a chicana from east La…probably born on the 50's or 60's and died young. Came back as a Japanese girl, yet still longing for her former culture…unfinished business..

  9. Its weird,but most of this japanese are tanned enough that if they walk in LA dressed like that they could easily been confused as mexicans …and if they talk a little bit of spanish, almost indistinguishable

  10. Its just like when i was young in the 80s us chicanos would dress like ninjas or do kung fu..its a style that will pass

  11. How did it reach japan?? Asians always trying to grasp on other cultures. You do your..THANG though Japan..😂🤣💀

  12. Growing up in Cali we had a few Asians/White/Black who were more Mexican then me!…Nah, they were good people with good hearts!

  13. Wanted north Korean fast and the furious Gangs with African Gangs for Murder this is how they got such nice cars there not American Dangerous with lots of drugs and Guns trust None of them no Orientals

  14. if y’all aren’t chicanos you shouldn’t have an opinion about this being culture appropriation or not, it ain’t even your culture-

  15. ive never tried to be like another culture, i may like the things that other cultures have, i.e. sports/tuner cars, clothing, but i would never go to the extreme of trying to act like them and make myself seem like im actually from their country

  16. Chicano culture is not dressing as a cholo. We have good music, amazing food, and we Chicanos are hard working people. I lived and worked in Compton, Pacoima, and Hawaiian gardens and that's the way you didn't wanted to dress if you wanted to live.

  17. The current theme of this video is that Chicano culture adopted by Asians is just a passing phase, a flash in the pan. Yet you hear Japanese aficionados saying they adopted the low rider culture in the 1980s and then went ahead, by many, of tattooing their entire bodies with the Virgen de Guadalupe, day of the dead masks and other Mexican cultural symbols. A lifetime of displaying those ink tattoos and other things Chicano is hardly a flash in the pan.

  18. As a Chicano here in California I wasn't really fond of this style of culture. But seeing this opened my eyes on how beautiful A culture can be influenced around that the world.

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