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barron
08-26-2007, 11:42 AM
This is more than a tattoo question.

As a practitioner of Aikido for the past 7 years, who practices in a dojo whose teacher is a Japanese native, who received his training in Japan, we follow very conventional (as far as I have observed) aikido practices and etiquette.

We announce our entry to the dojo with the appropriate greetings for time of day, we bow on and off the mat, we use Japanese terminology, we wear traditional training attire, hakamas for women and Shodans, we enjoy the odd Japanese movies, go for sushi and have a great New Years Kagami Baraki. ( here one will argue/comment on respect for the founder, other practitioners, the art, appreciation of other cultures, curiosity etc.)

All this said and done, and given that I enjoy every minute of the practice I still wonder sometimes about the “appropriation” of another culture.

This is a long way, but in some way related to about arriving at my initial thoughts/dilemma of getting a tattoo.

I thought that I would like to get on kanji on my leg/ankle with a symbol for an appropriately significant “thought/sentiment”. I was almost to the point of making a decision when it struck me that if I were to get one it should reflect “my cultural identity” verses one I might have acquired/appropriated through Aikido. (Here one might say that we are constantly changing with new experiences, no one is static etc but…………..)

At this point I’m not sure if I’m being totally clear on my concerns but I’m sure the wise readers of this forum will be able to decipher my babbling.

Since I am of British decent and a resident of Canada for a few decades what would be appropriate??? Japanese Kanji , a Celtic Knot design or a moose eating back bacon and drinking a beer ?

So my question to the forum is are we appropriating, and if so is this good, bad or simply the way of the new global culture

" Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It denotes acculturation or assimilation, but often connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, may take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held. Or, they may be stripped of meaning altogether." Wikipedia

Mashu
08-26-2007, 02:10 PM
"Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It denotes acculturation or assimilation, but often connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, may take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held. Or, they may be stripped of meaning altogether." Wikipedia

Getting a kanji tattoo is a Western fad not a part of Japanese tradition so I don't see how it is cultural appropriation. Getting a kanji tat on your leg would not denote acculturation or assimilation to traditional or current Japanese culture. If you went to Japan with it you wouldn't have the natives telling you how Japanese-like you've become but the most noticeable reactions would probably be being denied access to onsens and gyms.

Qatana
08-26-2007, 09:14 PM
I have been told by my Japanese friend that any T-shirt with anything written in English on it is HIgh Fashion in Japan, so why not get a kanji tattoo? For that matter, there are many traditional Japanese family crests that bear extremely close (exact) resemblance to some Celtic spirals and knots.

Bronson
08-26-2007, 10:41 PM
I have been told by my Japanese friend that any T-shirt with anything written in English on it is HIgh Fashion in Japan.

See HERE. (http://www.engrish.com/category_index.php?category=Clothing)
:D

Bronson