Chicano Rap and Lowrider culture in Japan

1:00 PM on 04.30.2012 // Michelle Rodanes

It’s common knowledge that American pop culture has had a great impact in Japanese media, particularly when it comes to music and fashion, but it’s a much lesser known fact that Chicano culture has also been pretty influential during the past few decades. Apparently, Japanese youth are really into lowriders and Chicano rap.

The lowrider scene in Japan is supposedly serious business. It’s so rich and complex that CSUN Chicano Studies Professor Denise Sandoval has taken an academic interest in the subject. In her work, she explores the ways in which different ethnic groups have embraced the scene as a means for creative self expression.

In recent years, record labels specializing in the distribution of Chicano music have begun to pop up all over Japan. Clothing brands with fierce Spanish names such as La Firmeza are also now not a rarity. Unlike in the U.S, where lowriding is often kept underground, in Japan it appears to be a far more mainstream movement.

Interestingly, it seem like Chicanos take a certain degree of pride in having facets of their culture be adopted in such a remote place. Japan’s interest in lowrider culture is also quite profitable. Jaime Diaz, President and CEO of the Urban Kings music label, claims that Japan is among the friendliest markets for independent artists.

[Via otfabs, OC Weekly]

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