Why Lady Gaga's Outfit Upsets Some People In Japan

Why Lady Gaga's Outfit Upsets Some People in Japan

Lady Gaga is in Tokyo. According to her, it's her "favourite place". Too bad she's just pissed off some folks online in Japan.

On her Instagram account, Lady Gaga uploaded two photos of herself wearing a colourful outfit with Korean characters written on it. The Korean characters 컬러 appear mean just that: colour. Innocuous stuff, right? Well...

There's already a thread on 2ch, Japan's largest online forum, titled "Lady Gaga, Who's Visiting Japan, Is Wandering Around Roppongi in Clothes with Korean Characters. This Proves That From the White Person's Point of View, Japan and Korea are the Same." Yikes!

Why Lady Gaga's Outfit Upsets Some People in Japan

Picture: Lady Gaga

While it seems like a small faux pas, this story will probably spread around to numerous Japanese blogs and websites. Her real Japanese fans, however, probably won't care.

Here are some, certainly not all, of the comments on 2ch:

"She thinks South Korea and Japan are the same."

"Wearing clothes with Korean characters and sauntering about Roppongi is giving hate to Japan."

"Did Japan do something to her?"

"Get outta here, you shitty white person."

"Is she trying to pick a fight with a Japanese person? lol"

"Yep, just a dumb American."

"This kind of makes me not like her."

"It can't be helped. But it's a little sad she' can recognise Japanese."

"Well, I have no clue about the difference between the U.S. and the U.K."

"Certainly looks like between Japan and South Korea, Gaga likes Korea more."

"Her songs are great. Truly great."

"Make no mistake, when Gaga is in South Korea, she'll wear clothes with Japanese and the Rising Sun!"

"She probably just thinks those characters are a symbol. No biggie."

"Waaah. This certainly makes her less cool."

"You net users are something else!"

Um... There's a lot to unpack here! First, yes, 2ch tends to bend a bit conservative, so know that. Also, Japan and South Korea are not on the best of terms right now, so a foreigner decked in out in Korean letters actually might ruffle some feathers — the same might be true if Gaga wore Japanese characters in South Korea. Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. Though, Korean television did recently ban a Kpop group from using Japanese.

And finally, people in Japan don't want to be confused with people in Korea — and Korean people don't want to be confused with Japanese people. They are different countries! With different cultures and traditions. Obviously, an outfit like this can unintentionally give the impression that one thinks all Asians are the same.

This was probably unintentional. An honest mistake. I'm sure Lady Gaga is well aware that both South Korea and Japan are entirely different countries. With the way relations between the two countries have been wound up of late, a little bit more care might be needed.

来日のレディガガ、ハングル文字の服で六本木徘徊!白人目線で日本も韓国も同じ現実判明へ [2ch]

Picture: Lady Gaga


    Japanese clothes have english characters on them a lot, Japanese people think Japan is AMERICA!

    Stupidity is reaching a new high note.

      The main issue the conflict between Japan and Korea. Both country are not exactly in good terms thus the issue with lady gaga with Korean shirt.

      Of course English means 'merica. Who else?

        Just an example bro

          Just a really poorly put together example "bro", your in fact just making your self out to be the stupid one.

            Nah fella, I just like typing like that for the lulz.
            Helps me relax from my super srs job where i have to type hella good all the time.

            I could have named america/uk/australia etc, but it kind of took away from the joke to name them all. I did think about it before I posted. Not my fault if you're one of those greenday anti-merika kids, it wasn't meant to impose any kind of "AMERICA IS THE KEEPER OF REAL ENGLISH" status upon them or anything.

            Last edited 14/08/14 5:37 pm

            Japanese clothes have english characters on them a lot, Japanese people think Japan is SIERRA LEONE!

            There you go bloke.

      As Letrico says it's more that it aligns with an underlying issue between the countries which causes more issues.

      Imagine visiting Cuba and being wearing the top of your favourite baseballer, who was a Cuban defector.

      Or going through an area of the middle east that's been under drone attack wearing a shirt with an Image of Captain America's shield.

      Now, I don't actually think the people in any of those examples are doing something wrong per se, but there's enough context to justify why it might be a bad idea or more accurately that people might take offence to it.

    “She thinks South Korea and Japan are the same.”Uh... no, it means she can't read Japanese or Korean and/or she doesn't care to check. At worst she's just an idiot not worth your time.

      Or she knows and wanted to wear clothes she thought looked nice.

      She isn't an idiot. She's just wearing clothes with another language on them... Does not indicate shit.

        At worst she could very well be an idiot. There are many scenarios up to that point, including the one you have posited.

    “Well, I have no clue about the difference between the U.S. and the U.K.”
    Ha, hopefully an amusing troll.

    Objection: to many people not familiar with japanese history & minorities in japan, I would like to give some facts about koreans in japan. Fact a: when japan conquered korea, they brought over koreans for slave labour in japan & this was done over multiple generations. Fact b: because of this, there has been a korean minority, 1 of many minorities in japan which of whom consist descendents of the undertaker class & surviving descendents of the of many indigenous people of japan. Fact c: as mentioned before: 2chan is conservative, which means they don't acknowledge that koreans are a minority in japan, by conservative, I mean not acknowledging history conservative like andrew bolt, who refuses to acknowledge the stolen generation. Fact d: gaga is a fan of the underdog & the fact she is wearing korean characters shows she cares
    Ps. I am not a fan of hers, but I refuse to stand when there is a history fact to be told.

      There seems a fairly large portion of racists in Japan (there is in Australia too) I really don't like the idea of calling everyone from another country a foreigner.

        And don't forget about multiculturalism, by that word refusing to acknowledge that is already a community of that culture in your country

    Both traditionalist Koreans and Japanese are quick to jump the gun like that. Recently there was a small outrage in Korea about a One Piece exhibition because one of the drawings had a rising sun, which was perceived as, I shit you not, imperialist. When it comes to hate for each other and racial prejudice, ironically, Japanese and Koreans are very much alike.

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