Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-19-2012

Abstract

This article analyses a discourse around the ascendancy of Jero, an ‘African-American’ male dressed in hip-hop attire singing enka, a genre of music that has been dubbed ‘the heart and soul of Japan.’ Since his debut in Japan in February 2008, Jero has attracted much media attention. This article analyses a prominent discourse, ‘Jero is almost Japanese because he sings enka well.’ While many argue that to challenge stereotypes and racism is to introduce alternative role models, we show that such alternative role models can also reinforce the existing regime of difference of Japanese vs. the Other and perpetuate related racism. We suggest instead a need for various cultural arrangements to stop capitalizing on the difference between races and start noticing differences (and similarities) in other regimes of difference (e.g. taste, style) in order to challenge stereotypes.

Keywords

African-American, discourse, enka, Japan, media, music, race politics, regime of difference, stereotype

Volume

15

Issue

6

First Page

599

Last Page

614

DOI

doi.org/10.1177/1367877912451688

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Rights

© The Authors

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