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  • Hey guys!

  • So one of the questions we get a lot is:

  • Is it okay for foreigners to wear kimono or yukata?

  • And today we're going to answer that because it's kind of in the news right now.

  • If you haven't heard, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

  • has had an issue centering around one of their paintings:

  • Claude Monet (La Japonaise)

  • It's a painting of a white woman wearing a kimono, and

  • just for fun the museum brought in kimono this summer that

  • visitors could take pictures of themselves wearing while they're standing in front of the painting.

  • Some people had a really big issue with that and said it was racist

  • for white people and non-Japanese people to have fun trying on kimono.

  • We're going to tackle this issue today.

  • Let me ask you some questions about when it's okay for foreigners to wear kimono.

  • When it's okay for foreigners to wear kimono?

  • Yes.

  • Okay... there's only one answer:

  • Whenever.

  • Okay. Well, you haven't heard my questions yet so maybe you'll change your mind.

  • Is it okay for foreigners to wear kimono in Japan

  • to festivals or events where you would normally wear a kimono?

  • Yeah.

  • Is it okay for foreigners to wear kimono in America?

  • Yeah, why not?

  • Would Japanese people be offended if they saw a foreigner walking down the street

  • here in Japan who was wearing a kimono incorrectly?

  • Like, noticeably incorrectly?

  • Okay... Probably we would just come up and help them wear it correctly.

  • Or maybe we would read the atmosphere and try not to offend him

  • so we might not say anything.

  • Try not to embarrass them?

  • Yeah, that's a very Japanese thing to do.

  • They wouldn't even tell you you're wearing it incorrectly.

  • Because we don't want to embarrass you!

  • Okay, what if they're wearing it for cosplay?

  • Cosplay?

  • Why not?

  • What if when they're wearing it for cosplay they wear it REALLY incorrectly?

  • What if they like cut it all up and restyle it

  • or they have a lot of cleavage showing

  • or they have a really short skirt so it's like super sexy?

  • I don't mind if they recreate kimono at all, personally.

  • And I think many Japanese people wouldn't even care, either.

  • If they cared [about something], maybe they would be

  • a little too embarrassed to see their cleavage?

  • But kimono has nothing to do with it.

  • What if someone is a fashion designer

  • and they have no Japanese blood.

  • What if it's a white person who's a fashion designer,

  • and they make clothing that was inspired by kimono?

  • That sounds awesome. I want to get one.

  • What could foreigners do to offend Japanese people, if they're wearing kimono?

  • By wearing kimono?

  • Okay, you cannot offend us just because you wear kimono.

  • There's a big divide between Japanese people in Japan

  • and some Asian-Americans / Japanese-Americans.

  • Some Japanese-Americans make statements speaking for all Japanese people,

  • when they're really speaking for Asian- Americans

  • and not for Japanese people in Japan.

  • The American mindset is focused on things like racism and cultural-appropriation

  • and that's just not a thing here in Japan that people really think about or worry about.

  • Yeah, right. You don't just go like, "That's racist."

  • No, we don't do that.

  • So when we had issues like this kimono wearing and Avril Lavigne's "Hello Kitty" video

  • you have Asian-Americans who are upset about it

  • and they call it racist or cultural appropriation.

  • But if you look at the Japanese side of the internet,

  • and you read the Japanese comments or you talk to Japanese people in Japan-

  • -We're just confused-

  • -who grew up with Japanese mindsets,

  • they're just confused about it.

  • They don't understand why it's considered racist.

  • They don't consider it racist.

  • Oftentimes if anyone here is going to get upset about something,

  • they find it annoying that everything is considered to be racist in America.

  • Right.

  • With this kimono issue specifically,

  • one of our Japanese viewers contacted us and they were a little upset

  • that the museum stopped allowing foreigners to wear the kimono

  • because a lot of Japanese people here in Japan

  • WANT foreigners to wear kimono.

  • They WANT people to be able to experience and appreciate Japanese culture.

  • I mean, why wouldn't we?

  • Right.

  • Do you mind if I ask you to explain a little bit about exactly why they're upset?

  • I really don't understand. Why?

  • White people were wearing it for fun without properly appreciating Japanese culture.

  • So then when can you guys wear kimono according to them?

  • It really depends on the person.

  • So, some people say that foreigners are never allowed to wear kimono at all.

  • And our cultures should be completely separated,

  • like no cultural interaction at all.

  • Oh, that's like sakoku, huh? (national isolation)

  • There are some people who say it's okay for foreigners to wear kimono

  • only if you have specific permission from a real-life Japanese person.

  • So like, you're not allowed to wear a kimono unless I give you permission?

  • Right.

  • What?!

  • Or there are some people who say foreigners are only allowed to wear kimono if

  • they do it correctly, and they do a lot of research on kimono and understand

  • the cultural implications and the history and they TRULY appreciate kimono.

  • Okay... Not even very many Japanese people know much about kimono,

  • history of kimono, or don't even know how to wear it correctly.

  • They normally... Young people for example go to a photo studio or something

  • and have workers help them wear kimono because they don't even know how to wear it.

  • Right.

  • But I think what's considered universally bad is

  • foreigners just wearing kimono because it's fun,

  • because they like the way kimono look, or they think it's neat.

  • Why not?!

  • Anyway, the main point is that you have to separate what Asian-Americans are saying is okay

  • and what Japanese people are saying is okay.

  • And I guess it's up to you to decide who's advice you want to follow.

  • Uh-huh. Of course, of course.

  • I'm here, I'm living in Japan, surrounded by Japanese people

  • with a Japanese husband, so I'm going to go with the Japanese opinion,

  • which is that it's okay for foreigners to wear kimono

  • under pretty much any circumstances.

  • We have actually interviewed a kimono shokunin.

  • We haven't uploaded the video yet.

  • Oh, the dyer shokunin?

  • His family has been dyeing kimono for generations,

  • and I actually asked him this question when I interviewed him.

  • I asked him what he thought about foreigners wearing kimono,

  • and he was very happy about it.

  • He wanted everyone to try a kimono.

  • Yeah, right.

  • And there's an event all across Japan throughout the year in different cities

  • called Kimono Jack.

  • Anyone (foreigners, too) can go.

  • Anyone, as long as you wear a kimono.

  • Everyone dresses up in a kimono and you just go there

  • and you just hang out and chat with other people in kimono.

  • Literally the whole point of that is to just have fun wearing kimono.

  • Our shokunin, he said that many times.

  • What he wants is for people to just enjoy wearing kimono.

  • Have fun wearing kimono.

  • Yeah, that's exactly what he said.

  • So I've actually worn kimono a few times here in Japan.

  • I've worn both standard kimono (furisode) correctly,

  • and I've worn oiran kimono, which is like the prostitute version.

  • "Do what you want!"

  • And no one's ever been upset or offended.

  • If you go out in public wearing a kimono or yukata as a foreigner here,

  • so many Japanese people are so nice and they'll come up to you

  • and they'll just want to talk to you

  • and they'll say like, "Oh, you look really cool!" or "Cute!"

  • Or they'll like take pictures with you and stuff.

  • Uh-huh.

  • It's a nice thing here.

  • People want to share their culture,

  • and they like seeing foreigners appreciating their culture and stuff.

  • I think that's one of the greatest things about experiencing another culture.

  • And I really hope the museum starts letting people wear kimono again.

  • I hope this answers your question, guys, and thank you for watching!

  • We'll see you later!

  • Bye!

Hey guys!

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B2 kimono wear japanese japanese people wearing people

Can Foreigners wear Kimono? ボストン美術館・着物イベントに批判で中止?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/23
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