そのファッションはアリ?ナシ? 文化の盗用問題を考えよう


現代ファッションの多くは他の文化からの影響を受けて創作されていますが、文化の盗用 ( cultural appropriation ) という言葉が話題になっているように、どこまでが許容範囲なのか?という議論が最近もアメリカのセレブの間で起こりました。日本にいると意識しずらい問題ですが、どんなものなのか紹介しますね。

A lot of the fashion today comes from cultural influences, and because of this cultural appropriation has become a word you often hear. How far is too far? This is a conversation that has been occurring amongst even celebrities. While this isn’t a big problem in Japan, we are here to introduce it to you!


Cultural appropriation has been a phrase buzzing around social media for a while now. What does it mean? Cultural appropriation occurs when the appropriator is not aware of the deep significance of the culture they’re partaking in. If they UNDERSTAND the importance of it, it’s cool, but if they’re ignorant and violating the sacred meaning of the culture, it’s not cool at all. Even though in Japan most people do not form their lifestyle around religion, and we live in a homogenous society where we are not exposed to diversity so often, it is still an issue that everyone and everywhere should be knowledgeable of.

Photo: Megumi

Photo: Megumi

Native American Culture/ネイティブ・アメリカンの文化(アメリカン・インディアン(先住民))


It’s actually becoming popular in Japan this summer to wear feathered accessories, headdresses, or something that is “tribal” looking. I saw a few Japanese magazines recommending young girls to wear headdresses to festivals because that’s the “trend”. Also, celebrities such as Pharrell and Khole Kardashian made light of the importance of this headdress by using it as a “costume”. Let’s see why this was a terrible idea and prevent Japanese girls from wearing these at festivals.


The Native American headdress is ONLY worn by the brave and powerful chiefs and warriors in the tribe. The feathers on the headdresses have a deep meaning to them as well. Warriors earned feathers each time the tribe felt that they acted bravely. They also got their first feather when the tribe acknowledged them entering adulthood. It’s not just given to them. They have to be earned. Most of the time, the warrior had to prepare himself to receive such an HONOR and that required fasting and meditating for days. Each time he proved himself to the tribe as a brave man, he received a feather. Once he had enough feathers, he could FINALLY make a headdress. Each feather that you can see is EARNED by the warrior and it has a special meaning to it which makes it very symbolic and sacred.


Can you understand now why Native Americans will be offended when people are wearing it as fashion or a costume? It has a deep sacred and historical meaning to it and this is one of the crucial points necessary in order to discuss cultural appropriation. The history behind it makes everything inappropriate. Their land was colonized by the pilgrims and the warriors were fighting to protect their land. (Watch Pocahontas) and you get the gist of it.) You see, the pilgrims were the ones who overpowered the Native Americans, and today, the descendants of the pilgrims are the ones who are wearing what is considered to be a part of their sacred culture for fashion..? That’s insensitive and inappropriate. People are taking away from their culture and its sacred connotation.
To my fellow Japanese friends who think you are not a part of this so you can do it in Japan, appropriating a culture because it’s “cool” without knowing the significance behind it might not be a wise choice to make. (Educate yourself here)

African American Culture/アフリカ系アメリカ人の文化(黒人)


Just watch the wonderful young actress from the Hunger Games, Amandla Stenberg explaining how Black culture is being taken away by the powerful (white) appropriators. Essentially, America has incorporated “Black culture” such as cornrows, dreadlocks, gold grills) and such to pop culture thereby making it cool, trendy, and dope. This is a huge problem in America because if the “privileged” do something from “Black culture” it’s COOL, but if black people do it, it’s “ghetto” .

アマンドラがビデオで言っていたことを説明してみますね。最近、カーダシアン/ジェナー家族の、カイリー・ジェナー17歳がコーンロウをしている写真をインスタに載せたことが話題になったんです。アマンドラはこれをみて、#白人女子の方がよくできる というものを流行らせました。この理由はお金持ちの白人女子が黒人文化を起用すると、トレンディでかっこよくなることが背景としてあり、黒人たちが属する文化なのに、黒人たち自身がしたらクールでなくなることを訴えています。

Let me take you through why Amandla made this video. Recently, Kardashian/Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner who, is 17, posted a picture on Instagram with cornrows. Amandla started a hashtag #whitegirlsdoitbetter BECAUSE when a rich white girl adapts something from Black culture, it becomes a trend and cool looking, but not when the people from the culture itself do it.

また、白人によって大きく支配されているポップカルチャーが、黒人女性をバックグラウンドで小道具として使って「ヒップホップ」ぽくすることや、黒人女性の体を性的にミュージックビデオなどで使うのはよろしくないと思います。(例: マイリー・サイラスのWe Can’t Stopのビデオ、テイラー・スィフトのShake it Offのビデオ)富裕層が自らの娯楽に起用すると必ず問題にもなります。

I also deeply perceive it as inappropriate when pop culture that is highly dominated by white people uses black women as props to make it more “hip-hop” or sexualizes a black female’s body within their music videos and such. (ex: Miley Cyrus’s We can’t Stop, and Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off ) This is also problematic when the privileged (white people) take it for their own entertainment

Muslim and Islam Culture/ムスリムとイスラムの文化


I assume that you get the gist of what I want to say here, so let me just touch upon this part briefly. Khloe Kardashian did it for us again to heat up the conversation of cultural appropriation. (Why won’t you learn girl?) She posted this picture on Instagram saying “Habibi Love” wearing a Niqab while she was in Dubai. Because she’s a women who works in the fashion industry, a lot of people thought that Khloe was doing it as a fashion statement.


As some of you may know, Niqab are very important for Muslim women. It is something that they MUST wear everyday because that is their lifestyle and what they believe in. You cannot wear it as a fashion statement or a costume to a halloween party because it looks “exotic”. That is disrespectful towards Muslim and Islamic women, which should not be allowed to be done.


Obviously, if you are in their territory and country, you may wear it. However, if you wear it in Tokyo because it’s a cool looking accessory, you may want to think twice.

Don’t be ignorant/無知ではいないこと!

Photo: Megumi

Photo: Megumi


This is all that matters. At the end of day, as I said, if people are adapting and nurturing other cultures, I honestly think that’s so cool and amazing.
Wanting to adapt and incorporate other cultures is dope, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when there is a historical background or a sacred meaning to what you’re wearing, think twice and don’t be dumb about it!
Whenever you go to America, keep in mind that there are a lot of cultures that you will encounter and it’s pretty awesome! Let me know if you can think of any other fashion statements that might be forms of cultural appropriation!