east asia

Cultures being used as Fashion Statements

So earlier today, my friend decided to ask me about a fashion brand called ‘shop inu inu’. As someone who is half Japanese half Chinese, I thought it strange at first that their brand meant ‘shop dog dog’ in Japanese. So I visited their page and this was what I got.

https://instagram.com/shopinuinu/

I looked at their clothes and

This shirt as I assumed was supposed to say 他媽的累 which literally translates to ‘fuck tired’. So yeah, cool, they were probably trying to say ‘fucking tired’ and it was a bit off. But then I scrolled further down and

‘水加したまま’ which 水加 in Chinese would’ve meant ‘water added’ but then again it would be grammatically incorrect because it should be 加水 so the other way around, but even then, they mixed chinese with Japanese. Oh so what they mixed Japanese with chinese so double the Asian languages, cool right? No, it really really isn’t. It doesn’t make sense.したまま means ‘only did’ so what are they trying to say, ‘only did water addition’? Even in Japanese, there is no such word as 水加. We borrow Chinese characters in our writing, but even then the meanings are slightly altered between Japanese and Chinese cultures. 

Those Japanese and Chinese characters on the shirt? ‘ぼエカ姐’ which my friend told me about, when she saw the last character which meant ‘sister’ in Chinese. She started suspecting it really didn’t mean ‘fuck off’ in Japanese. ぼエカ literally has no meaning, a mix of random hiragana and katakana. So technically people who wear this are just wearing gibberish.

‘ラメン’ which should be ラーメン, and 引きこもり which means ‘recluse’. 

‘がんばって!’ which means ‘good luck!’ on the milk shirt, and みるく which is ‘milk’ on the pocky box shirt. 

ご飯の団 meaning ‘group of rice’, 飯 which is written incorrectly as on the shirt, the character is printed in a simplified form of Chinese. Only in Chinese are there different forms of the characters: they are either in simplified or traditional form. So they basically blended chinese with Japanese, which, once again, is just throwing around meaningless, senseless alphabets/characters. いたずら which means ‘prank’

最小限の自然 ‘minimum nature’

So I think the examples are enough. So I thought: to non-Japanese/Chinese readers who support this brand, these designs probably look cool to them, but when you translate them to English, they wouldn’t make sense, would they? It’s quite obvious that from the way the brand 1) pairs up these Japanese+Chinese words with images that have nothing whatsoever to do with them, and 2) carelessly print out the phrases and characters with no correct grammar at all, that they’re just treating our languages as an accessory. 

In my opinion, if anyone’s going to make any reference to our culture, I really want people to understand that our cultures are not here just to be other cultures’ or anyones’ fashion statement. We sometimes see non-Japanese people wearing Kimonos, or non-Chinese people wearing Cheongsams (cantonese pronunciation for the term 長衫) and honestly, it’s okay for people to wear these to show that they’re interested in our culture, that they respect and want to be a part of celebrating it. But we really need them to understand that if they want to pay tribute to our culture this way, throwing it around and meshing it with other languages/cultures is incorrect, not okay, and racist. By meshing Japanese and Chinese together and being careless enough to not double check, they are basically saying ‘Japanese and Chinese are really similar, oh what’s the difference? They’re both Asian, they’re the same’ which is stating that we have no cultural diversity of our own, and that they have no awareness or respect for our individuality. I personally feel offended by looking at this fashion brand, and commenting really doesn’t do me any good because there are butthurt supporters that help them hide behind the ‘it’s not their first language leave them alone’ or the ‘at least they tried!’ card. 

Understanding the Ethnic Geography of China

First, understand the provinces of China:

When people think of China, they all assume that everyone in China is Chinese, speaks Chinese, looks and live like this:

Now let’s look at the Ethnic Make-Up of China!

Look how many Han Chinese there are? But first things first! All the Han Chinese do not speak the same language! Chinese is probably as useful as saying the “Europeans”.

Let’s pretend that Europe is combined into a single country! But with London as the Capital City, and everyone is officially, “European” and they all speak “European”, with European English as the official language of Europe! The French, German, Spanish and Russians? They are their own entire language, culture and ethnicity.

Same goes with China. China is much larger than Europe, speaking different languages, eating different foods, practicing different religions, wearing different clothing. Beijing is the capital, with Mandarin Chinese as the official language of the entire country. However, Chinese languages are considered “Dialects”, but not their own distinct language, culture or ethnicity.

Now let’s look at the Han Chinese languages:

Mandarin Chinese not only has it’s “Northern, Eastern, Southwestern” dialects, but they even break up into more different dialects and accents from different region, city and province. There’s a difference between London accent, Welsh accent, Scottish and Irish accents. To simplify it, the government simply grouped everyone together.

Southern Chinese languages cannot mutually understand with any other Chinese. That’s like an Englishman trying to communicate with a German, a Dutch, or a Danish. They all belong from the same language group, but they cannot understand one another mutually.

But what about the other Non-Han Chinese?

See where Han is at? (Look where Beijing would be!) That is the original homeland of all Han Chinese people.

There are officially 56 Ethnic Groups in China, but there are hundreds and even more that are unofficial and undocumented. It’s the Chinese government way of saying, “Meh. Saffron, Violet and Pink are the same thing. Let’s just call it “Red”.

But how did Han Chinese became the major language and ethnic group of China?

Through conquest! Very much like how the Romans of today Italy killed, pillaged, raped and took over the Gauls of France, the Germania of Central Europe and the Britannia’s of the British Isles, and turned them “Roman citizens” through colonization and expansion!

But what makes China a unique case, is that the surviving natives of the Northern Han conquest, is that they still retain much of their native cultures. They survived, because most of the ethnic groups lived up in the mountains, where the ancient Han Chinese were too lazy to bring their armies up mountains:

Those who were colonized and assimilated into Chinese culture?

The Vietnamese were colonized by the Chinese more than three times.

Korea was colonized/tributing state for the longest time ever.

And Southern China! They would be influenced and assimilated strongest to Northern Chinese culture and language!

But why is everyone considered Chinese?

Same bullshit as your government saying that you’re an American, Canadian, British, Australian, etc. etc. citizen. It’s like a rich White straight male, taking control of the government and dictating how you live, under his life style. The Han Chinese says that everyone in China is all Chinese.

And mostly the blatent ignorance and education on the diversity of China. 

Chinese Dialects?

It’s another bullshit ideology.

Is French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese a dialect of Europe? No. They are their own distinct languages. They may come from the same Roman history, the same Romance language family, but they are their own language. Teochow, Hakka, Minnan, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc. etc. are their own distinct language and ethnicity.

Unified China?

To unify Germany, Hitler said that the German Race was the greatest race! Germans from all over Europe, the German Swiss, the Austrian Germans, etc. etc. united as a single “Race” and rose to power.

To unify China, Northern Chinese Emperors said that they were the greatest race! And attempted to conquer everyone else, killing anyone who wasn’t “Chinese”. This was done for more than 3,000 years, resulting in many extinct native cultures and ethnicities in China, and resulting many cultures (like Korea, Vietnam and even Taiwan) to assimilate into Northern Han Chinese culture.

Conclusion:

Not everyone in China are Mandarin Han Chinese, the major ethnic and language speaking group of China. Three different dialects of Mandarin and 6 different languages of Southern Chinese (Hakka, Min, Wu, etc.).

There is an official recognized 56 ethnic groups, but hundreds that are unrecognized. Such as Tibetans, Miao, Manchu and even Koreans and Mongolians!

China is very diverse in language, culture, religion and ethnicity. Not everyone is ethnically Chinese, nor speak Mandarin Chinese.

Han Chinese girl, tired of my identity used as a joke or a measurement as if “asianness” is something shameful and inherently embarrassing!!!! I am glad I no longer perceive whiteness as success and I’m no longer embarrassed of speaking Chinese in public or of my parents’ accents. I am so sick of being made an accessory to men who think I’m a fetish, I’m tired of being terrified for other Asian girls who will face the same things as me .

I will no longer let my fear of reclaiming my own identity hold me back from anything!!!!!!!! I love my culture

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Ghanaian-Japanese Chilean Wedding

From the Bride: Since I come from two different backgrounds, I asked my dad to wear the traditional Ghanaian kente cloth and my mother an Irotomesode kimono. My dad’s friend in Ghana had my kente made for me, I just loved the vibrant colours and the significance of the meaning of the various colours where blue denotes- peace, harmony, love; yellow- preciousness, wealth, fertility; maroon- healing and green- spiritual growth and renewal.  
Since Boris is Chilean we decided to have the Chilean Mil-hoja cake (thousand layers cake) made of pastry layered with caramel, custard, sponge and strawberry cream to give a little Latino flavour. The cake is so yummy, we decided to give it as a bonbonniere for our guests. read more

one time i was walking through downtown with my dad and we passed by this white guy who told my dad to “go back to China, asshole.” thankfully my dad was distracted and didn’t hear him (he has poor hearing) 

and there was another time when my family and i were hiking through a forest and we passed by 3 white boys who were chilling outside. i was walking a little bit behind the rest of my family so i was the only one who heard when one of the white boys looked at me and my sisters and turned to the rest of his friends and said “too asian!” and laughed like it was some hilarious joke

and another time, a few weeks ago, i was walking through campus and when i was about to walk pass an old white guy he looked at me and said “fuck you” under his breath 

and idk i find it really funny how white folk hate us asians and yet we make their clothes, their cars, their phones…. and they love our smooth skin and our skincare routines and our eyes and create new “”“"makeup trends”“” to look like us…but then say “ching chong !!” to their friends or expect every asian women to work at a nail salon or cleaners or expect every asian schoolgirl to get on their knees and please them like ????

and idk sometimes i think about this late at night and it hurts me a lot 

so i guess shoutout to all my asian women who experience these things on a regular basis and don’t seem to get a lot of solidarity or support from the Tumblr community (POC community included.)

((maryann, 18, grey-romo pansexual.))

Brazilian/Taiwanese

I live in Manhattan, and if I had a dollar for every guy who felt it necessary to comment on my race, I’d literally be able to pay for my out tuition. Phrases like, “You’re Brazilian? But you look asian!” and “But where are you really from?” (I know y'all have had a lot of that too) really piss me the fuck off.

Do people not understand history? Do people not understand the Asian diaspora? The Americas are made up almost entirely of immigrants (most noticeably and regrettably, whites)! 

Anyway, I just want to represent the Asian-Latinas.

Evidence of Pre-Columbus Trade Found in Alaska House

Bronze artifacts discovered in a 1,000-year-old house in Alaska suggest trade was occurring between East Asia and the New World centuries before the voyages of Columbus.

Archaeologists found the artifacts at the “Rising Whale” site at Cape Espenberg.

“When you’re looking at the site from a little ways away, it looks like a bowhead [whale] coming to the surface,” said Owen Mason, a research associate at the University of Colorado, who is part of a team excavating the site.

The new discoveries, combined with other finds made over the past 100 years, suggest trade items and ideas were reaching Alaska from East Asian civilizations well before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Sea in 1492 archaeologists said. Read more.