MoNa and Her Posse
A new trend in Japan has emerged: long white T-shirts and baggy khakis, with the ladies penciling in their eyebrows. The fashion-forward Japanese have embraced a style of dress that originated in the Mexican-American Chicano movement, creating a huge cultural mixture. According to an article from the Huffington Post, the trend comes from the “1940’s and 1970’s Mexican-American empowerment movements,” and it follows the Chicano styles seen most in the 1990’s in East Los Angeles. Japan even has their very own “Jola” (Japanese chola) pop star known as MoNa, or Sad Girl, derived from the name of the character in the American movie, “Mi Vida Loca.” She sings and raps in a mix of Japanese, English and Spanish, representing the Chicano subculture in Japan (Mona-Sadgirl.com). The Huffington Post article also recognizes that “the Japanese affinity for Chicano culture seems to be making its mark in the United States as well, where music labels representing Chicano rappers have recognized the East Asia archipelago as an important market for their artists” (Huffington Post).
Why is it that this is only fashionable in Japan? Japan has welcomed the “cholo” trend with open arms, while the U.S., where “cholos” originated, seems to sneer at such styles. In Los Angeles, the cholo style is far from welcome – it is more of a style that is looked down upon. It may be due to the fact that many people associate cholos with gangs or with East L.A. and lower income areas. But why is it that people from a country halfway across the world accept and appreciate this movement when we fear it? The way we ostracize the attire and speech of other countries reflects our unjust hostility towards immigrants and foreigners. It is not considered “normal” or “American” to dress any differently from current trends of stripes or polka dots that are “in.” With a variety of immigrants and the various styles they bring, we should adopt these new styles and make them our own, as Japan has done, rather than condemn them for being different. The styles we see in Vogue and Elle should empower the cultural diversity we have because of immigration, rather than belittle those who engage in it.