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Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and Hip-Hop in Japan: Toward a Transnational Cultural Politics of Race

Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and Hip-Hop in Japan: Toward a Transnational Cultural Politics of Race A Japanese rapper who calls himself Banana Ice released a song in 1995 called “Imitation + Imitation = Imitation,” in which he ridicules young hip-hop fans who darken their skin as a sign of respect toward African American musicians. “Your parents, your grandparents are Japanese,” he raps. “You can never be the black person you want to be.”1 Although the percentage of Japanese rappers, break-dancers, and hip-hop fans who tan their skin or wear dreadlocks is quite small, such body practices symbolize a dubious two-sidedness to the uses of hip-hop in Japan. Kreva, of the group Kick the Can Crew, put it succinctly when he explained of the dreads positions 15:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2007-008 Copyright 2007 by Duke University Press positions 15:3 Winter 2007 he wore: “First, it’s meant as a sign of respect towards black culture, but secondly, I want to stand out [medachitai]” (personal communication, 1997). Banana Ice, rapping more generally about skin-darkened hip-hop fans, sees above all the mark of conspicuous, mercurial consumption: in summer, black at the beach natsu wa umi de kuroku in winter, black on the ski slopes fuyu wa yama de kuroku with free time, going to tan salons hima arya hiyake http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and Hip-Hop in Japan: Toward a Transnational Cultural Politics of Race

positions asia critique , Volume 15 (3) – Dec 1, 2007

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2007 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-2007-008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A Japanese rapper who calls himself Banana Ice released a song in 1995 called “Imitation + Imitation = Imitation,” in which he ridicules young hip-hop fans who darken their skin as a sign of respect toward African American musicians. “Your parents, your grandparents are Japanese,” he raps. “You can never be the black person you want to be.”1 Although the percentage of Japanese rappers, break-dancers, and hip-hop fans who tan their skin or wear dreadlocks is quite small, such body practices symbolize a dubious two-sidedness to the uses of hip-hop in Japan. Kreva, of the group Kick the Can Crew, put it succinctly when he explained of the dreads positions 15:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2007-008 Copyright 2007 by Duke University Press positions 15:3 Winter 2007 he wore: “First, it’s meant as a sign of respect towards black culture, but secondly, I want to stand out [medachitai]” (personal communication, 1997). Banana Ice, rapping more generally about skin-darkened hip-hop fans, sees above all the mark of conspicuous, mercurial consumption: in summer, black at the beach natsu wa umi de kuroku in winter, black on the ski slopes fuyu wa yama de kuroku with free time, going to tan salons hima arya hiyake

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2007

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