Afro-Japanese Fashion — Minchen

It has been a long time for black people living in misunderstands. Black people used to be considered as good at sports and music only and easy to do something forcible by the world, many people took endless misunderstands on them. However, those were wrong. These kinds of things are similar to, not all Chinese people are good at Kongfu, also not all Brazilian can play football. What caused these misunderstand? This essay will show you the current situation and future visions of Afro-Japanese.

It is sad to say but black people in current Japan still only have a little attention. Nowadays, Afro-Japanese is mainly gathering in those fashion place. Shinjuku and Harajuku are the most famous examples. Especially for Takenotori in Harajuku. Every time you pass away Takenotori, it is definite that you can see several black people promoting ‘fashion wear’ there. Expect these places, you can hardly see a black form in Tokyo. However, conversely, white people seem very popular in Japan right now. They are active in both TV shows and media in Japan. In other words, Japanese people have more chances to meet white people than black people. In this case, most Japanese people are not familiar with black people, and this is the biggest reason why there will be misunderstandings. But it does not mean black people do not have any promising future in Japan. The next part will tell you the reasons.

Because of the social problem of the declining birthrate and ageing population, the influx of foreigners into Japan seems to become a fact. One report shows that the Japanese population is declining at the rate of 500,000 a year, and the number of foreign citizens has increased by 200,000 a year.[1] The next step for Japan is going to become a multicultural country. And then, it will transition to an interculturalism country in the future. Among these foreign citizens, there must have a large population of black people or Afro-Japanese. After they settled in Japan, many kinds of cultures and customs will be introduced to Japan. From then on, it will be time for them to show off.[2] Japan is a relatively conservative country in the world, according to the old Japanese way of thinking, black people are all strong but lazy and sometimes a little bit dangerous. However, because the concept of black people in western countries is changing these years, Japan will also follow to change soon. One famous example is Virgil Abloh, who used to be the creative director of Off-White and consultant to Kanye West, now is the designer of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear. He is Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director. Besides, he is also one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house.[3] In this case, why not in Japan? Japan has a good fashion base and Harajuku is considered one of the most fashionable places in the world. For example, Yamamoto’s black cut and ‘Pleats Please’ are all suits for black people. Black is considered to be colour full of mystery and cool. Utilizing Yamamoto’s black style well can give people a kind of feeling that out of the ordinary. Furthermore, ‘Pleats Please’ has a lot of black people’s models, and its clothes fit for them in reality. Black people can utilize Japanese fashion as a springboard for development in Japan.

I draw a picture of a fashionable black man in Harajuku’s street. With an orange cap and cool sunglasses, wearing a relatively small jacket out of an oversize T-shirt and those recently very popular bib overall and clunky sneaker. Although standing in the dark corner, still a beam of light fell on his side. It also indicates that the light beam will guide him forward. In short, Afro-Japanese can become an imperative role in Japanese fashion culture. They can be both designers and models.

References

[1] Can Japan Embrace Multiculturalism? (2020, May 30). Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/d00534/can-japan-embrace-multiculturalism.html

[2] Ali, R (2011, 9, 22). Multiculturalism: A very short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[3] Friedman, V., & Paton, E. (2018, March 26). Louis Vuitton Names Virgil Abloh as Its New Men’s Wear Designer. Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/26/business/louis-vuitton-virgil-abloh.html

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Is it possible to imagine futures when the past has been obscured? A collection of essays by Rikkyo University GLAP students to accompany the class VR gallery as part of a final creative project to imagine Afro-Japanese futures for the module Literature & Society Fall 2020.

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