Haiku reflections on Japan

Kawaii-ness and the art of protest

Some people are quick

to judge kawaii-ness as a

sign of silliness ..

 

…but it`s not always so.   Even I have found myself saying `oh god how can they possibly make that kawaii? It`s so inappropriate`. However, I`ve come to realise that kawaii-ness can be used as a way of expressing your opinion about serious things.   It`s part of modern Japanese  culture, like it or not, and in other countries nobody minds when modern culture is used to criticize something to do with the establishment.      There happens to be a photo in one of the on-line newspapers today of a person protesting against Japan`s planned entry into the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and this person is wearing a monkey mask.     So people making comments automatically jumped on the person saying they were  not being serious enough about it (and the person was not even correct with what was written on the sign they were holding).  Well whatever you say about getting their facts right, this person is quite clever, using an element of Japanese modern culture (animal masks are everywhere anyway)  to make his or her point about what he or she wants Abe to do (i.e. not enter the Partnership).   Given the apathy that most Japanese people have about politics in Japan, it is good that people are out there protesting – regardless of their point of view and of whether they are dressed up  or not.  Besides, is there some kind of dress code for protesting against something?  I think not.   He or she is also making their point quite well if you ask me.

It is very easy for these people on the comment boards to make fun of someone who is actually out there  making their voice heard – rain, hail or shine and I`m guessing it`s still pretty cold in Tokyo in March – and not sitting behind a computer making fun of people who choose to do just that.  Many of them seem to be those gaijin in Japan who prefer the `old` side of Japan but like the modern side only when it suits them – for example, they probably like the `cute` side of  things when they`re looking at strange manga which sexualise young girls but they`re not so fond of it when it means that some young (well, possibly young, possibly older) Japanese person is using it to make their political voice heard (or trying to anyway).   Hypocrites really.

 

Speaking of using modern culture to criticize the establishment, the well-known Chinese artist Ai Wei, has found another, most unpredictable way, to make his feelings about the Chinese establishment known – through heavy metal no less!!  I read this in the Guardian.  Sounds interesting.   Apparently, heavy metal is quite popular in countries where the government has more control than is normal (to put it mildly), even Iran (who knew?).  It has to stay underground of course and the bands risk being arrested but yes, heavy metal is earning quite a following in such countries.  I`ve never been a fan of heavy metal myself.   The only song by a very well known heavy-metal band which I always manage to retain in my head is actually a very soft kind of song that goes on for a while – not very heavy metal-y.

 

 

 

 

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