Singer Gwen Stefani says she’s Japanese and stands by her Harajuku era

 

Singer Gwen Stefani is facing backlash and renewed criticism of cultural appropriation following comments she made saying she’s Japanese.

The thing is, Stefani doesn’t have any ethnic ties to Japan. Her father worked at Yahama when she was young and frequently travelled between California, US, and Japan for work.

It’s this influence that inspired the Japanese themes seen throughout her music and artwork, performances, perfume range and marketing over the past 20 years, even stemming back to her 2004 debut album.

The renewed criticism of her “Harajuku era” comes after an interview with Allure magazine, which was conducted by an Asian-American journalist, and Stefani is quoted saying: “My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.”

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In the interview she describes her father’s travel as being her early Japanese influence. “…That was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic [with] so much attention to art and detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me,” she says.

She goes on to explain how she returned to Harajuku, Japan as an adult to experience herself some of the stories she’d been told by her father.

Gwen Stefani says it should be okay to be inspired by other cultures in an interview promoting her new make-up line. (File photo)

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Gwen Stefani says it should be okay to be inspired by other cultures in an interview promoting her new make-up line. (File photo)

“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it,'” she told the news outlet, adding that there is an “innocence” to her relationship with the culture, as she is a “super fan” of it.

“If [people are] going to criticise me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right,” she said. “I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture,” Allure reports her saying.

“[It] should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?”

Her comments left not only the interviewer stunned, but also social media users.

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