Gwen Stefani Gets Slammed After Repeatedly Saying She’s Japanese

Gwen Stefani on The Voice 2022Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images

Pop superstar Gwen Stefani is currently dealing with criticism after voicing out her unsettling perspective in an interview for Allure magazine. When asked about what she learned in her Harajuku era, Stefani confidently backed herself up, even claiming that she’s Japanese twice.


For those who may not know, the former The Voice coach debuted her album  Love. Angel. Music. Baby in 2004, subsequently launching Harajuku Lovers fragrance in 2008. At the time, Stefani has been accused of cultural appropriation for allegedly exploiting Harajuku culture as a white celebrity. Such issue has died almost two decades ago, yet the singer’s recent statements have once again triggered the public.

Gwen Stefani Defends Her Harajuku Era, Says That She’s Japanese

Sitting down for an interview with Allure, Stefani did not only talk about GXVE but has also reflected on her Harajuku era. The singer has recalled the criticisms that she has gotten, further defending herself from the cultural appropriation issue. According to the singer, Japanese culture has fascinated her since she was young, especially because of her father. As an adult, she’s also went to the Harajuku district.

“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it,'” she said. “I am, you know.”


She then added that it doesn’t feel right that people criticize her for being a fan of something beautiful. For the artist, her era as a Japanese admirer was “a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture.”

As written by Allure, Stefani claimed twice that she was Japanese. The artist even said that she was “a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of a Japanese girl, a little bit of an English girl.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Stefani asserted that it must be okay for artists to be inspired by other cultures. Otherwise, the society is dividing people.


She Received Backlash for Alleged Cultural Appropriation

With Allure’s feature article comes the disapproval of the public. On Twitter, several users blamed her for her distasteful appropriation of the Japanese culture.

“Gwen stefani this is so embarrassing,” one person wrote. “Growing up in anaheim does not make you latinx & hearing stories of tokyo doesn’t make you japanese.”

According to ReachOut, cultural appropriation takes place when a dominant culture takes things from another culture experiencing oppression. Stefani, who is a white American, has commodified the Harajuku culture, a historically marginalized community.

Essentially, cultural appropriation undermines the abuse and prejudice that a minority sector endures. And this is not right at all. During trying times, Stefani unfortunately hasn’t spoken against Asian hate. Such inaction seems contradictory for someone who proclaims herself as a super fan of the Japanese culture.

Amid backlash, Stefani has not yet given a statement about the matter.

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