Jun 2, 2012

Smells Like Asian Sprit: Zainichi Funk and Far East Movement

Last year I went to the live performance of Zainichi Funk (在日ファンク) with one of my friends.

Zainichi Funk is a Japanese funk band. "Zainichi (在日)" literary means "existing in Japan", but it has another discriminatory meaning that is "Koreans living in Japan".

The members of Zainichi Funk aren't "zainichi" Koreans but Japanese. I can't explain the complicated connotation of the name of this band "Zainichi Funk", but I can say that they humble themselves as Japanese musician to play funk music.

Please watch their PV.

"爆弾こわい" Zainichi Funk

Obviously they respect and imitate James Brown

"I Feel Good" James Brown

Sometimes black hip hoppers call themselves as "nigga". The word "nigga" in this context has positive connotation, because it expresses their attitude against the society that segregates them.

Please imagine that a white boy who loves hip hop and wants to be like 2Pac. He knows that he can't be like 2Pac, because he is white, but he calls himself as "nigga".

"Changes" 2Pac

In this context, the meaning of the word "nigga" is quite twisted. It is also twisted that the members of "Zainichi Funk" call themselves as "zainichi".

They love James Brown's cool funk music, but at the same time they know that they can't play cool funk music like him because they are "zainichi ". So they are trying their own "zainichi" funk music. If James Brown listened to their "zainichi" funk, I wonder how he would think of it.

The other day, I watched Far East Movement's PV on MTV.

"Live My Life ft. Justin Bieber" Far East Movement

An Asian with old style hair like the last emperor of Qing dynasty, Puyi, and hip hop fashion, is rapping.


Hip Hop used to be a part of black culture, but now it isn't their exclusive music. But it's quite difficult for non-black hip hoppers to be cool, because the coolness of hip hop deeply depends on black culture.

Hip hop fashion does Never look right on me, who is a Japanese not looking wild at all. I guess that Kev Nish, a MC of Far East Movement, thought how he used his Asian look to be cool.

Zainichi Funk is trying "Zainichi" funk, and Kev Nish is trying "Far East" hip hop. They are somehow comical and "uncool", but at the same time their "uncoolness" makes them cool.

LMFAO are also comical, "uncool", and cool, because they have their original style.

"Sexy and I Know It" LMFAO

Now Zainichi Funk and Far East Movement aren't as original and cool as LMFAO, but I hope that they will be.

They have smells like Asian spirit.

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