Saturday, 13 December 2008

Nazi chic in Asia

I remember reading the story about the "Hong Kong Nazi Bar" on boing boing and elsewhere about 5 years ago, so I was interested to read about its appeal in some other parts of Asia. While it is true that Nazi chic is already familiar in the West, having featured in certain subcultures, notably punk, it appears that in Asia it is distinctive by virtue of a more mainstream appeal (e.g. it has featured in a department store, is used to sell cosmetics, and has even be celebrated in an educational setting). Although it is certainly important not to exaggerate the representative nature of these examples, this should not in principle prevent comparison with Mark Dery's excellent overview of Nazi chic, which was previously posted on this blog.
I'm also wondering if there are possible connections to thanatourism, in the sense that this commodity form might be able to percolate into other forms of consumption, such as fashion. This necessarily involves a substitution in the Asian context, given how references to the Third Reich do not entail any direct confrontation with the actual historical experience of fascism, at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army, thereby permitting the harboring of a transgressive [sic] appeal, or even mere novelty value. Of course, this is to say nothing regarding any residual appeal to subterranean ultranationalist groups.

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