Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Artist: Chanels
LP: 7" single
Song: "Runaway"
[ listen ]

I didn't know what to think when I saw this 1980 single by the Chanels that my friend Aki picked up for me in Japan last month. The Chanels probably meant to pay tribute to popular American doo-wop groups of the 1950s with their vintage sound and style, but it's alarming to see someone performing in blackface more than fifty years after the demise of Vaudeville. I have to admit I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to the history of relations between the peoples of Africa and Japan, so I wasn't sure exactly how offended I should be. I tried doing a little research on the web, but all I found was this page at "Yahoo! Answers" where some guy named Brad wonders why there are so many black people in Japan, and then a black guy named Marvin who lived in Osaka for six months chimes in with some theories. Neither Marvin nor others who've left comments on the page suggest that some of the black people Brad's been seeing might actually be Japanese men in heavy makeup.

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