Family and Community: Japanese passion for lowrider culture
Beyond aesthetics and music, the traditional values of the Chicano community have their little East Los Angeles in Japan. This is how the bato pride crosses borders.
For many years now, the cultural arena has criticized cultural appropriation as a second or third plunder of the heritage of historically-invisible communities.
In 2020 with the phenomenon was provoked by American Dirt, when Jeanine Cummins made the immigrant drama her own to sell a novel sown with clichés and alien to those who actually suffered the tragedy, and on many other occasions.
However, there is a difference between appropriating the elements of another culture and "melting into" it.
The key is recognition.
While full of richness and beautiful nuances, Japan's traditional culture contrasts with the fast-paced, individualistic, and cold lifestyle of the present day. On one occasion, a young Japanese woman admitted that she had never hugged her mother and added: "Well, I'll hug her when she dies," to the surprise of those who spoke to her.
As a result, for a few years now, and because of a Japanese journalist's visit to Los Angeles to participate in a lowrider event, some values and aesthetics of Chicano culture began to arrive in Japan.
Not just that, but they are also celebrated, and have begun to "merge" by adding their own culture for an exchange that enriches both parties.
Among them, Japanese rapper MoNa a.k.a Sad Girl, whose lyrics not only move from Japanese to English and Spanish, but also use Chicano hip hop to challenge the discourses of the patriarchy.
According to Sad Girl, learning Chicano culture saved her. But over time, the influence of the lowrider culture in the country will disappear, since many of the young people who follow her only know the culture through her and don't have access to the original.
There is also Mike Style, DJ and owner of a store in Osaka, that imports all kinds of designs, clothes and elements of the Chicano aesthetic from Los Angeles. For him, the lowrider subculture is both a lifestyle and a form of claiming self-esteem. "It's not your business" for those who want to monitor the difference.
Music, cars and clothes are all part of this "assumed" culture, acknowledged Japanese pioneer, Junichi Shimodaira. However, family and community values are even more central to "Japanese cholos."
Beyond getting carried away by clichés or reproducing the gangster stereotype, artists like Night tha Funksta focus their work on the sense of collectivity and love for the roots. It's the story of a Latino collective historically undervalued in the United States, but whose history, culture, and social background is as enormous as its sense of belonging.
Culture is exempt from purity. What has helped it evolve is the "shock", the crossbreeding, and of course, the recognition of the heritage. Sayonara.