Gwen Stefani says she’s Japanese in bizarre new interview

In a bizarre new interview with Allure, Gwen Stefani has recalled thinking to herself ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it!

One line of criticism Gwen Stefani has never quite been able to shake off is the one directed towards her weird fetishisation and appropriation of Japanese culture, something that hasn’t been helped by her latest tone-deaf statements.

In a new interview with Allure’s Jesa Marie Calaor, Stefani recalled the time she first travelled to Harajuku.

Gwen Stefani Remaster
Credit: Gwen Stefani on YouTube

“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it!’” she recounted to the Calaor – who happens to be Asian-American by the way, just to make things even more uncomfortable.

Calaor wrote that “Stefani asserted twice that she was Japanese and once 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’” throughout their time together.

It goes without saying that Stefani is not, in fact, Japanese.

The odd comments are the latest in a long line of bizarre Japanese fetishization incidents from Stefani, with the most infamous example being her 2004 music video for her song Harajuku Girls. The video depicts four Japanese women dressed in traditional Japanese clothing and speaking in broken English and was criticized for the portrayal of them as mere accessories. With many labelling the representation as stereotypical and objectifying.

Additionally, some felt that the lyrics of the song, which references the Harajuku district of Tokyo known for its street fashion and youth culture, were insensitive towards Japanese culture and amounted to cultural appropriation.

Stefani has defended her use of Japanese imagery, stating that it is a tribute to and celebration of the culture, rather than a form of appropriation.

If [people are] going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right,” Stefani also said in the interview. “I think it was a beautiful time of creativity… [It] should be OK to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?