J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Michael Jackson Syndrome

Michael Jackson Syndrome
Originally uploaded by timtak.
I do not tire of pointing out the fact that the Japanese seem to have a hankering for blonde hair and green eyes. The tendency for "persons of colour" to try and make themselves look like caucasians is called the "Michael Jackson Syndrome" after the singer that changed his colour and shape of his face from those of an African American, to those of a caucasian. He maintains that the reasons for his attempted metamorphosis are aesthetic and to help him sing, rather than any attempt to imitate white men.

These hair bleach products from more than one manufacturer. They are the last row of goods before the checkout in my local supermarket. Products placed just before the checkout are those which encourage impulse buying such as cigarettes, glossy magazines, and choclates. Hair bleach, like pictures of movie stars, offers a method of instant escape. Men of women bleaching their thick straight black hair dream of leaving the humdrum world of supermarket checkouts, to join the green-eyed and blonde gods in the stars.

But why green eyed, why blonde? There is nothing more natural about a Japanese person with blonde hair than blue, or green eyes than pink. The fact that they come as a set blonde hair and green (or blue) eyes, suggests to me that the dream comes from the West. There is research which suggests that the more that Japanese believe themselves to look like Japanese, the more they believe they are ugly. This is a very sad, tragic state of affairs.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.