Outrage at Japanese boy band's outfits

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124 Responses to “Outrage at Japanese boy band's outfits”

  1. Anonymous says:

    That reminds me of the Doug Anthony All Stars uniforms, just neater!

    eg. http://i.ytimg.com/vi/lk3Uj1EL5-8/0.jpg

  2. Anonymous says:

    It strikes me that niether the article here nor the commenters so far point out that the uniiforms the band is wearing resemble not just any Nazi uniforms but SS uniforms. These guys are dressed up as concentration camp officers, not soldiers or airmen or Brownshirt thugs.

    –Beryl

    • elix says:

      Does dressing up as a particular kind of nazi mean it’ll be less offensive than a different nazi outfit?

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Well, Hitler’s Youth were teenagers forced into the group. The SS, not so much.

        • elix says:

          I suppose I can concede your point. But I don’t really see much of a semantic difference if Kishidan had dressed up as, say, Luftwaffe officers. If one is going to be offended at Japanese pop stars dressing up as nazis, I expect that it’d only be a bit more severe that they specifically resemble SS compared to any other uniform in the Third Reich.

    • Leto Atreides says:

      To be fair, Those black uniforms are “panzer wrap”. The uniform worn by German armor crews, not SS, even though there are skulls on the collar.

    • Leto Atreides says:

      To be fair, Those black uniforms are “panzer wrap”. The uniform worn by German armor crews, not SS, even though there are skulls on the collar.

  3. Teapunk says:

    I blame Japanese school books. Students lack the necessary information, they learn nothing about the WWII in school, nothing about the Japanese involvement in the Second World War. Europe and WWII for them is a land far away of which they know nothing. They know nothing about the Holocaust, now one could they “Ignorance is bliss” but like in most cases ignorance is just stupidity.
    They just see “Oh, fancy and provocative uniform, nice”.
    The only people who really do know about the Second World War in Japan seem to gather around Yasukuni shrine in August, and these are the ones who wear these uniforms in earnest.
    Fortunately, they are already rather old.

    • a_user says:

      Then you also need to blame the US.

      At the end of WW2 McArthur went through the Japanese government and its agencies and rooted out anyone with right wing sympathies. Around 1949 however the US became paranoid about the Red Menace, so a second purge was organised replacing the left wing sympathisers with right wingers. The same ones who had been purged at the end of the war.

      On the whole the Japanese politicians come from political dynasties and are not very in touch with the lives of the average citizen, and those on the right of the spectrum play to the gallery by making big gestures and sound bites. You can see a lot of this around the whaling debate where the US, Australia and the UK are painted as being under the thumb of of a gang of crusties called Greenpeace which is trying to tell Japan how to run it’s business. Of course it’s just safe sabre rattling, a chance to look big whilst not needing to worry the situation’ll escalate into a physical war with the US. Thus honouring the dead at Yaskuni temple, is to get political brownie points.

      I’m always pleasantly surprised however by how much the majority of Japanese don’t buy into the political, however they aren’t the ones making laws and policy decisions or statements on behalf of the Japanese people. I have however seen Japanese police shutting down a line of blue speaker vans (owned by ultra nationalist groups but manned by off duty Yakuza)

      http://farm1.static.flickr.com/33/55505628_4eeb8c151d.jpg

      trying to drown out a demonstration by 2nd and 3rd generation Koreans protesting the legal ruling on the comfort women.

    • benher says:

      I’m sorry, but you are completely ignorant.

      I have lived in Japan for 10 years, 2 of which was spent teaching in their school system.
      EVERY single textbook including the English books reminds the students of Japanese war atrocities. (Do you want me to scan them and upload them? Unlike you my rant is based on facts) Most teachers won’t even sing the national anthem at ceremonies. National flags are almost never displayed and nobody gives a toss about the emperor. Also, just for the record, have you ever read a current Euro/American centric textbook on WW2? We are painted with an awfully rose-colored brush considering our own atrocities before/during and after the entire conflict.

      The dress of the band Kishidan mimicks the ‘Yankee’ or biker Bosozoku styles of the 80s – a knee jerk response from the youth of the day rebelling against the uber-left (anti-right) who seized and held power through much of post war Japan.

      Also, just to state the obvious, this is a Japanese band, marketed to Japanese. Why westerners love to get their undies in a bundle over non-existant swastikas is a mystery to me.

      And as for the other concerned folks in this long dead godwinned thread, guess what. Nazis? Defeated… Like… a super LONG TIME AGO. If you want to be pissed off at something, why not turn your attention from mediocre bands whose lyrics you couldn’t hope to understand (or would want to anyway) and focus it on the corruption and fascism no doubt brewing in your respective countries.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m outraged that they are ripping off their hairstyles from the Leningrad Cowboys!!!

  5. lilbacon3 says:

    dn’t ndrstnd why Jws gt s ngry bt ths knd f thng. s thgh thy wr th nly ns prsctd by Nzs. Rthr, thy tnd t b th mst hgh-prfl vctms nd s ths knd f msndrstndng fr prft. Wht’s mr f crm?

    • Brainspore says:

      I don’t understand why Jews get so angry about this kind of thing… they tend to be the most high-profile victims and use this kind of misunderstanding for profit.

      Well you know how those smarmy, hook-nosed money-grubbers are.

      (Seriously: check yourself.)

      • turn_self_off says:

        That ended up entering that business thanks to being banned from much others by “religious” decree…

    • Mister44 says:

      You win the dickhead of the day award, yay!

      Too bad my wife’s grandfather is dead. He was in the Polish Home Army and would smack some sense in to you.

  6. timogan says:

    From a COSPLAY event in Taiwan a few years ago.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/timogan/216137599/

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would submit that when Sony Music Artists asserts that “there was no ideological meaning to the outfits,” they are making a factual error.

    • Anonymous says:

      Places, objects and symbols hold no meaning unless we put it there. I learned that in grade 9 English class, and it’s held true. There’s no intrinsic meaning, good or bad or smurf-like, in what they’re wearing, and from the perspective of a Japanese twenty-something- they really do have no ideological meaning. There’s a supermarket in Finland that has a massive logo that says “KKK”- does it mean anything other than the name of the supermarket? Only to americans… Everything is subjective.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This crap happens in Japan way too often… when will people learn… it’s getting pretty sad to keep seeing this kind of ignorance.

  9. osmo says:

    Hahaha wierd. We get to use their horrible parts history to amuse us but oh noes if they would do the same to us. Its the history, no matter how horrible it was, no matter how much we must make sure certain things in it doesn’t happen again (the building of Philadelphia by poor immigration workers by William Penn promising homes in the new city but giving them nothing real in the end for example… just to pick one randomly) – its still “the History”. We don’t need to live in it.

  10. Moriarty says:

    I imagine Hitler would find some consolation in the fact that the mere unintended visual motif of Nazi-era German uniforms still causes such a ruckus almost seven decades later. The severity of this taboo is rather absurd.

    • RedShirt77 says:

      Eh, I think the comments here seem to lack the acknowledgement that Japan was the second biggest partner in the original axis of evil. I mean, the italians were just cannon fodder really.

      Japan planned to concur Asia and invade the US by teaming up with history’s most successful genocidal lunatic. Maybe their history teachers should stress what a bad idea that turned out to be.

    • turn_self_off says:

      Give it a couple more for the generation with personal memories of the events to leave us and i suspect that will change (tho authoritative Israeli politicians are likely to blow their horn about it for some decades after that).

  11. xzzy says:

    I’d like to express similar outrage for their hairstyles.

    Where’s my apology, Sony?

  12. phead says:

    who do they think they are, the royal family?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4170083.stm (one of the great sun headlines)

  13. arikol says:

    these uniforms exude a certain aura, as they were designed to do. They look cool, imposing, authoritative, and, yes, somewhat shocking (due to their historical significance).
    Somebody living far away from europe is unlikely to realize how offensive these uniforms are to many people due to their history, and I find it pretty likely that these musicians just didn’t think that far, and neither did the local Sony bosses. It’s just a matter of distance.

    It’s easy to misjudge other people’s levels of comfort on stuff like this, and it becomes ever harder the further you are away (physically, culturally, and in time) from the events that cause negative feelings.
    And treading the line between shocking and offensive is something that artists all over the world do everyday. Sometimes the make a misstep.

  14. siliconsunset says:

    OH NOES, IRON CROSSES.

    The German army still uses the symbol. The American army has it on uniforms and decorations all across the branches.

    The Japanese have a different view of this sort of thing. In America kids dress up like this because they are Neo-Nazis or because they hate their parents and want to be aggressively “different”. In Japan the Nazis are just another villain to dress up as, like M. Bison or Umbrella Security guards.

  15. a_user says:

    On the one hand there is nostalgia in both the US and the UK for the events of WW2 that you don’t see in say France, mainly to do with the simple black and white nature of the situation I believe.

    Then on the other, you have certain fruits of the Nazi regime, like rocket science, tacitly absorbed and unremarked upon. For a more morally questionable example I’d urge people to look into the origins of the data used by the USAF on the effects of freezing water on the human body for example.

    In Japan this latter, it’s there but not talked about, is the prevailing attitude regarding WW2. People are much more aware of what happened in WW2

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/21/japan-excavates-site-human-experiments

    than their politicians appear to admit to, but then the post war political direction of Japan was formed by US foreign policy scared that the communists would take over.

    There is also a cultural trend of revisiting WW2 as a backdrop to human drama without getting “bogged down” in the “messy” political aspect like Yamato
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451845/

    Oddly enough Ben Aflick said pretty much the same thing when he was in Tokyo for the cinema launch of Pearl Harbour, focus on the human drama more than the events unfolding around the love story.

    For every Nazi cosplayer I’ll raise you a WW2 re-enactment group.

    Yes the political right is on the rise, all over, but these guys are at the bottom of my worry list.

  16. siliconsunset says:

    Ahem, the American *military*. My bad.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I saw a flicker set of a some WWII reenactors in Taiwan. Several people were in Nazi uniforms, but the guys in Japanese uniforms had their faces fuzzed out because over there, THAT is the big fault line that people don’t dare cross.

  18. Mister44 says:

    I dunno – those costumes were more Nazi-esque than Nazi. They lacked swastikas etc. (as far as I can tell from the small photo). I guess I can’t take too much offense from a bunch of goofy-haired Japanese with bad costumes and worse music who aren’t espousing Nazi values.

    The Nazis simply don’t have as much of a negative vibe in Asia. They have a virtually non-existent Jewish population to remind people of the atrocities, or to give them real people to empathize with. Most of Asia was not directly involved with the Nazis, and even in India who sent solider to fight in WWII, the swastika doesn’t hold the same meaning and is still used today. It is still a fairly often used symbol used in Buddhism and you will see it in Japanese comics etc for design motifs.

    The reality is – the real Nazis are slowly being forgotten, and being replaced by FPS cardboard facsimiles. People make judgments of bad taste and throw up a Nazi salute at a function as a goof or to make fun of someone – because it doesn’t mean much to them. (Protip: Walmart Managers REALLY don’t like it when you click your heels and shout, “Ja, voll, mein herr!”) They know the Nazis are ‘bad’ – but with no emotional stock in it. Their real evil is forgotten as they are now watered down ‘bad guys’ for our video games and movies. (If you want reminders, just look for a summary of their medical experiments, and just try to imagine what that would have been like.)

    Some day I would like to see an international art project to reclaim and liberate the swastika from the Nazis, and further reduce their ‘power’.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it’s just me but without swastikas on the red armbands, I’m tempted to say that they’re trying to exude a level of “bad-ass” but they were consciously not trying to do complete Nazi cosplay. I think arikol already touched on this perfectly. And I think that Mister44 also hit the nail squarely on the head with the comment that they know the Nazis were “bad” but they just lack the western world’s social/cultural programming to see it as the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s definition of “bad”…

  20. jtegnell says:

    I quick glance at Google Maps of any city in Japan will see it’s just thick with swastikas, the Nazis!

    • elix says:

      Please tell me you’re trolling/joking.

      • Nelson.C says:

        Your reaction leaves it ambiguous as to what it is you’re disbelieving. It’s true that there are swastikas all over Japanese maps; it’s an ancient symbol presently used to denote temples in East Asia (maybe South Asia, too?). See here, for example; swastikas everywhere.

        Some people don’t know this, which is why it’s still amusing to those who know to reveal this fact to those who don’t and watch or imagine their reaction as they struggle to adjust their worldview. To us, swastikas are pavlovian symbols of evil. To Asians, they’re symbols used to mark holy places on maps, ubiquitously mundane.

        • elix says:

          I was hoping that jtegnell was being facetious in his/her remarks about manji showing up on Google Maps in Japan to denote Buddhist temples. A little bit more investigation shows that jtegnell is apparently living in Japan right now, teaching, and presumably would be aware of the real reason for manji.

          Historically, swastikas have been used for a wide variety of things, including factoring in with multiple major religions and faiths around the world. Hell, look up any old US Boy Scout iconography prior to the, erm, blemish on the swastika’s reputation that was Nazi Germany’s attempt at taking over Europe; guess what you’ll find.

      • jtegnell says:

        Elix: it’s absolutely true!! See for yourself! Check out Kamakura or Kyoto, for example. Lots of Nazis there.

        • elix says:

          Please, please tell me that you’re joking and don’t honestly believe that the 卍 kanji is a location involving Nazis.

          First of all, it’s a mirror image of the Nazi swastika.

  21. Anonymous says:

    man, Galliano ruined it for everybody, right? whats next? they ll do mel gibson in for his standup antisemitism?

  22. The Mudshark says:

    I wonder if Chinese and Korean people would take offense at a German pop band performing in uniforms of the Japanese imperial army. I´m not saying they wouldn´t, just wondering.

  23. underground_slacker says:

    I’ve never got the japanese pop culture fascination with nazi uniforms.

  24. Tatsuma says:

    Came in here to say exactly THIS.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one that is offended by the Gary Glitter look these guys are sporting (hair and shades)?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Oh man, and just when my band were going to tour Japan dressed as nuclear mushroom clouds……..

  27. Anonymous says:

    Galliano must have worked with them.

  28. deckard68 says:

    Look, the Nazis were snappy dressers. The rest of history-forward should not have to deny themselves the chance to look snappy just because the Nazis tried to ruin the black-and-red color combination for the rest of us. Takes those colors back!

  29. boingboingdave says:

    siliconsunset, that seems like a cop out. I don’t know. What if they showed up to their interview in blackface and hobo outfit? I think it’s kind of belittling to just chalk it up to those crazy japanese, they have no idea about the cultural relevance to this symbol which is kind of huge even in the context of their own history in the last century, the japanese just love their crazy fashion.
    It’s probably a lot more to do with more and more people having no freaking clue when it comes to world history.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Kishidan isn’t a “boy band” in the way that people in the west thinks of a boy band. I think their average age is in the mid-30′s, they play rockabilly-esque comedy songs about hating school and getting girls, and they dress like old-school bike gangsters (yes, complete with that hair). They normally wear a souped-up, rebellious version of a school uniform that isn’t offensive to anyone except senior citizens.

    I’ve listened to Japanese rock for years, and there’s a definite trend of bands wearing SS-inspired clothing, mostly for shock purposes only.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUtAKig382c Kishidan video for One Night Carnival

  31. penguinchris says:

    It’s mostly already been covered, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Thailand and have some thoughts regarding Nazi aesthetics in Asia.

    Thailand is a place that, while partially occupied during WWII (e.g. the railroad in “The Bridge on the River Kwai”), has for the rest of its history before and after that never been colonized or occupied by such a force.

    The next closest thing might be the American soldiers who went to Thailand for R&R during the Vietnam war. So, in Thailand they almost entirely lack any connection at all to the events of WWII, either in Asia or Europe, much less any other global conflict.

    As a result I’ve seen, for example, a regular character on a daytime TV show who often wears a t-shirt with Hitler giving a Nazi salute, and I’ve seen Nazi aesthetics turn up in various places, including replica uniforms and equipment on sale at surplus shops and in other ways (like this Japanese use of the uniform aesthetic, which is very prevalent in anime).

    People just are ignorant of global history, and not just in Thailand where it kind of makes sense due to what I explained earlier… China’s education is state controlled, as is Japan’s for the most part, and we’ve probably all read the stories that discuss how textbooks in those countries paint incorrect pictures of WWII.

    That, and yeah, the Nazis were sharp dressers! Of course, so were the British and even the Americans and Japanese in WWII. Military uniforms really went down hill after that – have you seen the US uniforms of today? Generals show up frequently in what looks like field gear… a sharp contrast to the classy looks officers always wore in WWII (and enlisted men looked sharp then, too).

  32. wingedearth says:

    I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Some Japanese kids wearing Hugo Boss outfits. Whatever happened to free expression?

  33. Alvis says:

    Well gee, maybe the fine folks at the Simon Wiesenthal Center should just… hmm, what is it that -normal- people do when they don’t like an artist… oh, right: not buy their albums.

  34. Brainspore says:

    Let’s retaliate by flying one of our boy bands over there in the Enola Gay and dropping a beat over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  35. mdh says:

    How do you think a band wearing an American airman outfits would be received in Japan?

    I think they’d be ignored.

  36. Coxswain says:

    Their hairstyles are like something out of Cromartie High.

  37. AirPillo says:

    OMG SECRET NAZI COSPLAY

  38. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just the Japanese: there’s an innocuous manwha series called Totally Captivated in which the main character mentions his admiration for Nazi uniforms and fantastizes about his romantic interest dressed in Nazi regalia.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t have even noticed the iron crosses for the hair.

  40. Bionicrat2 says:

    I also heard about this group of English kids called “Pink Floyd” that did a similar thing. When will these punks learn? If you want to allude to Nazis it’s uniforms OR arm bands; Never both! Look, George Lucas figured it out.

  41. turn_self_off says:

    Btw, i have seen such hair show up in anime fairly often. It seem to be some kind of “punk” emblem, pretty much like the mohawk in certain other places. They may have taken it to the logical extreme as a kind of caricature tho, dunno really.

  42. Daemon says:

    It’s worth pointing out that they don’t consider wearing this sort of stuff to be remotely related to agreeing with Nazi ideology.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Okay, lemme get this straight. It’s bad if a band dresses as Nazis, but it’s okay for kids to cosplay as them? http://boingboing.net/2010/07/06/hot-as-hetalia-anime.html

    Make up your mind.

  44. EricT says:

    I’m still waiting for them to apologize for the swastikas the Sex Pistols wore.

  45. wingedearth says:

    Why do people shock by dressing in Nazi SS outfits rather than Soviet uniforms or Red China uniforms? Maybe because Hugo Boss designed the coolest looking uniforms. Politics aside, those black and red outfits are pretty sharp. By comparison, communist outfits are pretty dreary.

  46. joeposts says:

    sigh.. Who’s your favourite? Hikaru is so dreamy, but Yukinojoe has the strong arms and mysterious eyes…

  47. uptonogood says:

    nazi iconography in asia has less of an impact than it does in western civilizations. in korea a few years back there were a series of nazi themed bars/cafes that have since died out. it was part of a passing fad.

    and honestly, who gives a crap? there’s no cultural significance to their outfits in asia. facism is kind of alien over in asia. imperialism on the other hand has a similar effect over in certain asian countries as the nazis do in western cultures.

  48. baudrillardo says:

    I’m impressed how quickly John Galliano found a new job… and how quickly is falling from grace again.

  49. sirkowski says:

    This is perfectly innocent. It’s not like Japan was ever directly involved in a genocide………

  50. Gutierrez says:

    David Bowie was already deep in this as The Thin White Duke. He was directly calling Hitler a Rock Star. I think this is just taking the uniform concept in Japanese culture a step too far in the wrong direction.

    Also, OENDAAAAAAAAN!

  51. Festus says:

    “The most radical thing in the world is a long memory.” –U. Utah Phillips.

    And apparently the most reactionary thing in the world is the absence of memory.

  52. Sequoia says:

    it’s easy to see how they might have wandered across this particular fault line in European military iconography without noticing the shitstorm waiting on the other side.

    “What? Ohhh, THAT holocaust! Well gee whiz, we certainly wouldn’t have worn the costumes had we only known!!” I do not see how an entire band can easily “wander” into wearing Nazi uniforms. Would you be as forgiving of someone who “wandered” into a t-shirt that says “I support child rape,” or would that just be… offensive?

    its still “the History”. We don’t need to live in it.

    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/victims.html :

    Of the 1,575 victims of an anti-religious hate crime:
    71.9 percent were victims because of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias.
    8.4 percent were victims because of an anti-Islamic bias.
    3.7 percent were victims because of an anti-Catholic bias.
    [...]

    ^this + openly antisemetic/holocaust denying heads of state + rising nationalism in europe + pervasive antisemetism in (I hate to say it but) the arab world*.

    Antisemetism is alive and kicking, unfortunately it’s not just “history.”

    *not all white Americans are huge racists but racism is pervasive in the USA.

    • delt664 says:

      Of the 1,575 victims of anti-religious hate crime
      100% of victims’ attackers were motivated by religious beliefs.

      Conclusion: Religion breeds violence.

      Solution: Mature beyond the mental disease of stone-age superstitious modes of thought.

      • godisafiction says:

        I think nationalism is more directly at fault than religion. People swept up into violent national fervor by their leaders often hide behind the absurd social convention of unassailable religious belief, but when they lash out against people they do in the name of their group, people, etc.

    • bobthecitizen says:

      So what would those stats be like for palestine?

      I’m jewish, bored to crap with this whole holocaust overhype thing, yes the nazis were bastards, yes there were 3 major holocausts in ww2, (the smallest of which was perpetrated by the nazis)

      But the current aparthied being perpetrated by my relatives (I am ashamed to say) in palestine is happening now, as is the insane war of imperialism waged by the US against just about everbody.

      Nazi-ish dress is sooo last century.

    • osmo says:

      Yes I don’t mind if you support child rape. Go for it. I’m gonna think your a dick but, hey its your tshirt. But to say that murders and attacks done in the past is the same as attacks done NOW is a bit much isn’t it? I got plenty of nasty deaths in my family history but I don’t go around hating Germans (for my grandmothers family who died in the Holocaust) for example. I don’t equate their deaths with the deaths and assaults on children for the sake of adults pleasure. That is a bit low.

      Concerning antisemitism: its just racism with a fancy hat. It should be fought, and appearently you guys in the US have your work cut out. Here most of the antisemitic complaints seem to be about criticsm against Israel (not only of course). Sure antisemitism is common with many palestinians, like people from Israel being racist towards arabs.

      My point is that we take THEIR interesting horrible bits of history and make it into amusement. Why should they be able to handle ours better than we do theirs? Also its just history. Relax. The nazis aren’t coming, the nationalists here in Europe seem to be hell bent on attacking muslims (pro-Israel motivations there) and life goes on. By making symbols and people into monsters and monstrous things we only make sure history repeats itself. If we would see the motivations instead we could solve it.

      • Gilgongo says:

        In the interests of balance, what “interesting horrible bits of history” do we in the West take from Japan and make into amusement, exacty?

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I dress up as Kira Yoshinaka and wander around soliciting bribes. If that doesn’t piss them off enough, I go as Serizawa Kamo during the Wolves of Mibu period.

  53. Metlin says:

    I’m a Hindu, you insensitive clods. I *like* my swastikas.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Christian Dior is suing’ this is their latest fashion ideas. Soon all the important people like Paris Hilton. Justin Bieber will be sporting swastikas on purses and tattoos. Christian Dior describes it as reto Nazi-chic. It is hoped that many other Nazi era ideas will catch on, as the second world war and the holocaust helped Germany escape the depression.
    Fashion is of the utmost important! Joh Galliano would be so proud~

  55. Mister44 says:

    I can’t speak for reenactors motivations, but the handful I know are history nuts and just eat that stuff up. One guy does Civil War reenactments, I know several who do SCA or similar type of sword and shield type battles, and I know one guy in love with the Napoleonic wars. All of them have been known to play both ‘sides’, as it is living history for them, not an emulation of who they were

    I also know quite a few war-gamers and many of them are big German ‘fans’. Fans in the sense that their arms and tactics were superior of the day and it is something they study and then spend time painting little tanks or punching out chit cards for mock battles.

    So while I am sure there are some who are Nazi lovers, who embrace their ideals, I think a most of them are just into the history and making accurate costumes. The Germans WERE snappy dressers.

  56. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just an iron cross. The hat worn in the background is of Nazi artillery (like the pope)

    • Mister44 says:

      The pope was conscripted into the Hitler Youth and later drafted as a Luftwaffenhelfer in the anti-air corp.

  57. Anonymous says:

    oh,c´mon, those guys aint even the first to do it. how about marylin manson during the golden age of grotesque days,or laibach during the whole 80s and 90s??

    • Mister44 says:

      Laibach and the NSK State took the rigidity of socialist and propaganda art and used it as a form of free expression. KMFDM has a similar vibe sometimes, especially with their album covers by Adian Hughes – aks BRUTE! I love the re-purposing of these styles for art.

  58. bobthecitizen says:

    What about the russian holocaust? Or the chinese one? Of all the ethnic cleansings of the ww2 era the nazi perpetuated one neither killed the most people nor was even distinctly more cruel, yet nobody whines when someone dresses in any of those uniforms?

    They are dressed as bad guys, bug deal. If they really wanted to dress as something scary they should dress as american soldiers.

  59. i_prefer_yeti says:

    Those Nazi’s are so hot right now.

  60. elix says:

    The BBC called. All they said was, “HA-ha!” (context)

  61. zebbart says:

    I can think of two considerations that might make Nazi costumes get more of a serious reaction than dressing like any other historical mass murderers (vikings, pirates, conquistadors, Mongol horde, KGB, any imperial army…)
    1. Neo-Nazism is a real current threat, while the others can be treated as mere cartoon villains or even rehabilitated as adventuring heroes without increasing the danger to people’s lives.
    2. Not as many people know of the atrocities committed by other mass-murdering groups, and not many of those who do know take personal offense at the atrocities or the popular ignorance of them. On the other hand, there are apparently some people who do take personal offense at the Jewish Holocaust, and they have been very successful at spreading the idea that the Holocaust is the worst thing that ever happened and the Nazis are the worst villains who ever existed. Because of their success, it is a lot harder to plead ignorance of the atrocities, and because of their personal offense it is harder shrug off those atrocities and just use parts of the aesthetic and the mythos, as is done in the other cases.

    If #1 is a valid concern, then I think it is right to treat Nazi costumes as a special case. And while the validity of changing behavior based on #2 is more debatable, there is nothing wrong with trying not to hurt people’s feelings, and so refraining from dressing like a Nazi while gleefully dressing up like a Viking.

  62. scaramanga says:

    Seriously, they are just dressed up as biker gang ‘bosozoku’ members. Nobody in Japan looks at them and sees Nazi imagery but rather the loud and obnoxious bikers.

    Oddly enough, the Japanese bosozoku got their Nazi theme inspiration from copying a lot of the American biker gang culture, such as the use of iron crosses, spiked kaiser helmets, etc (even confederate flags).

    Even those silly haircuts are an influence of the American rockabilly culture. There are a TON of complaints that these Jewish groups lob all over Asia, usually for things that are confusing to most Asians.

    Jesse James, of West Coast Choppers, also uses Nazi imagery. Their logo is an iron cross and the Nazi eagle:
    http://starcasm.net/archives/39796

  63. Leto Atreides says:

    Google image search:

    “japanese nazi” or “japanese nazi cosplay”

    Enjoy.

  64. grimc says:

    Thank goodness that America is far more sophisticated and understanding when it comes to matters of cultural, racial and historical sensitivity. This would be like a US band waving around Confederate battle flags, turning a symbol of racism, slavery, murder and rape into a fashion statement. Good thing we Americans are above such disgusting behavior.

    • rastronomicals says:

      My what a silly comment.

      How is the Confederate flag a “symbol of murder” and “a symbol of rape” any more than the US flag is?

      And I get the racism and slavery thing, these things were PART of why the Civil War went down. But let me give you a hint: every time you see a Rebel Flag it does NOT mean the brandisher of said flag hates black people.

      Most times, in fact, it just means that person likes the place where he (or she) comes from.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Now, have them wear T-shirts with Che, Mao or Lenin and no one will complain.

  66. mage_cat says:

    I don’t understand why one of the members wearing a red armband is part of the problem. Red armbands are very common in Japan as a badge of a group’s leader. Check out any school-based anime; there be one somewhere.

    • elix says:

      I think you’ll find that WW2-era German uniforms with red armbands are a very, very, very Hitler-like fashion choice. Red armbands by themselves serve a variety of purposes and meanings across history and cultures, but adding them to an already very-close-to-nazi ensemble is a pretty specific combination.

      Nobody’s made any accusations that they goose-stepped onto the set, so I think they were going just for the visual look. However, even today, it’s a very sensitive subject for many people (justified or otherwise).

  67. a_user says:

    @mister44

    I’m not saying every WW2 re-enactor is a neo or crypto nazi, however there is something else going on besides being interested in the tech and tactics, simply look at the number of organisations dedicated to re enacting specific SS divisions. These guys don’t do any other period of history, nor do they swap sides during re enactments if the numbers are down.

    The SS were born from Nazi ideology, however if you visit any of these organisations websites they will be at pains to emphasise the heroic warrior nature of their chosen division and that is, at least, slightly revisionist. I suggest you give a look at the video I linked to, failing that do a search for images of SS uniforms and I guarantee you will start coming across forums and threads in them along with web sites of memorabilia dealers who are clearly neo nazi.

  68. i_prefer_yeti says:

    I’m more offended that they’re all wearing sunglasses at night.

  69. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Hmm, let’s see. Might there be a different subtext between Prince Harry (grandparents bombed nightly by Nazis for several years) dressing that way and Japanese musicians (grandparents allied with the Nazis while committing infamous atrocities of their own) doing it?

    • elix says:

      I’m not attempting to start an argument, but on the scale of historical insensitivity, it strikes me that those two examples are not particularly different.

      Just depends on who’s doing the reporting, I imagine.

  70. Anonymous says:

    It looks to me like they’re just paying homage to the finnish rock band, “Leningrad Cowboys”.

    http://www.va.com.au/womadelaide/artists/f/Leningrad_Cowboys.jpg

    • CH says:

      Homage… well, I thought like Anon #1 when I saw that picture, it lookes to me more like a cheap copycat Leningrad Cowboys. They are totally missing the humorous flare.

  71. oddboyout says:

    That picture looks like it was taken with a digital camera from the ’90s… And that look is really ’90s Japanese Visual Kei too…

    • elix says:

      I’m presuming it’s a screengrab off of some video source, possibly Youtube/niconico/etc. And Kishidan kind of is a good example of the pop-ification of the visual kei look over time. (Even X-Japan softened their outfits and hair after a while.)

  72. a_user says:

    @DoctressJulia

    I’m all for self determination, but just in case you ever travel to a conference abroad – you know that the whole “asian” tag as self-empowering solidarity for an ethnic minority breaks down outside the US right? In the UK, “asian” won’t refer to anyone with an epicanthic fold and there is no brotherly/sisterly lover between between the governments of Korea, China and Japan.

    But to get back on topic

    @The hat worn in the background is of Nazi artillery

    And you can tell that from this image? Or do you have another picture? Or are you simply observing that that style of hat was worn by troops fighting for the Nazi cause?

    How about these guys

    http://www.wiking.org/

    They spend money and time on getting historically accurate uniforms and equipment for a specific SS brigade

    and they’re not alone, here’s a list of simliar organisations
    http://www.knights-cross.com/waffen%20ss%20reenactment.html

    These are much more dangerous than the Japanese group shown as the re-enactors try to detatch the military from the culture that spawned it, while the vast service industry of dealers that supplies them with their authentic uniforms, guns, vehicles have in their number beings that sell “genuine gurney’s from Auschwitz” and reproduction cannisters of zyklon b.

    John Sweeny, the reporter who blew up at the Tommy Davis the Scientology badger

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxqR5NPhtLI

    did an interesting investigation into the dark side of the German re-enactors – I’ll post a link if I can find it.

    I’d also like to stress that there is a lot of stuff I’m not linking into this discussion because I feel the scum don’t merit the BB effect

  73. a_user says:

    ahh I had a whole impassioned post about WW2 re enactment groups which seems to have disappeared, in which contained a promise to post links for a documentary on this subject.

  74. Rob Beschizza says:

    A few weeks ago a british comedy tv show had a rather insensitive segment on a survivor of the atomic bombings and the Japanese consul asked for and received an apology. So I guess everyone is both insensitive and oversensitive.

    • elix says:

      I would argue whether or not QI was being insensitive. However, talking with a Japanese friend of mine, there is a certain level of collective survivor trauma that makes it Not Okay to even suggest that there might be something funny in anything remotely connected to the bombings, even now. The media did their damndest to Fox News up a frenzy about it (while not presenting a fair picture to the nation).

      But the BBC, and Stephen Fry, still caved and apologized to the Japanese embassy.

    • murrayhenson says:

      If you are no one and make a Nazi joke or a Hiroshima joke, you can possibly be excused for being an insensitive boob who just didn’t think before speaking.

      When the BBC or Sony does it and dozens of people are involved with the joke, there is no excuse for being a bunch of insensitive boobs because they ALL thought before letting the joke play out.

      I am more offended by how stupid these people are than by what they actually said or did.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was thinking the same thing. The Japanese response to an unintentional insult (and a joke which hinged mainly on saying the survivor of both bombs was the unluckiest man in the world) was outrage. The British T.V. people involved, including Stephen Fry, apologized, but the Japanese rejected that apology and continued to maintain that they were horribly affronted in a manner which anyone should have been able to foresee.

      I wonder if the Japanese can see the irony, and if they hope to be forgiven when they withheld forgiveness in a very similarly trivial incident.

  75. Shiny says:

    Idiots.

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