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Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

I have posted about Yohio before and will likely keep following him and his progress. Here is an interview on Swedish TV. It’s a longer interview in what I think is a daytime format. I don’t actually know. Can any of my Swedish readers help me out with some background on this show?
Follow the link below to watch the interview.

http://www.tv4.se/efter-tio/klipp/yohio-fran-sundsvall-ar-superstjarna-i-japan-224093440934

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I covered Yohio before here. This is his new solo video singing in English this time. He also seems to be showing off more of his boyish side.

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Yohio

I follow a lot of blogs and aggregators and come across a lot of neat stuff. This particular bit I found on neatorama, you should go there.
What I came across was Yohio from the Swedish band Seremedy.

Yohio of Seremedy

Now, the big story is that Yohio is a boy. I do want to discuss that, but also so much more. The quick backstory is he grew up loving anime and guitar and speaks Japanese as well as Swedish and English. His band, Seremedy, is part of the Visual Kei movement. Visual Kei has been a Japanese phenomenon that is as much about image as it is about pop music. There is so much here for me that I find interesting. First, a Swedish band has decided to follow a little-known subgenre scene from Japan. Second, Yohio’s look is not androgynous, he looks very much like a girl from the anime that he loves. He even goes so far as to model the mannerisms of a shy Japanese girl. Where things get really interesting for me is that he speaks with his natural voice forgoing trying to create a complete illusion that he is actually female. His clothing, face, and mannerisms are all female, but his voice, physically and metaphorically, is male. Additionally, his voice is Japanese whenever possible. His new solo album has all Japanese lyrics, his style and his mannerisms are all Japanese, yet he is very clearly white.

I get a very positive post-gender pan-cultural vibe from this. I think it is amazing that Yohio has had so much acceptance in Japan and from his parents. This is the embodiment of my hope for our future musically and culturally. And yet, there is a downside for me. This is a sort of blackface. I may be overstating it, but that seems the simplest way to get it out there. Here we have a white male making a profit by exploiting another culture and doing it in drag. I may be oversensitive being a US citizen and knowing how hard it can be for women and minorities in my country, but seeing a white male profit by emulating feminine qualities and non-white culture smacks of overprivileged theft.
I am not saying that is what is going on, just that I feel it’s important to acknowledge there is that component. Yohio very clearly belongs as he is and I think it is wonderful we live in a world where he was not only able to discover anime and Visual Kei music, but also pursue his interests and create a career. I have to say that I also like what I have heard from his solo album so far and look forward to hearing more.

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OK, yes I did get introduced to Theresa Anderson through following Wil Wheaton on Twitter. I’m a geek. Whatcha gonna do? Anyway, check her out! She was born in Sweden and came to New Orleans in 1990. The myth behind her new found fame is that she made a video of herself to show the clubs she would be playing at how she would be touring and it took off from there. Another tale is that she got her one person band idea from a puppet show. Either way, this is pretty cool. There are a lot of two person bands out there and even a few other one person bands. Let me know if there are others you know of. Technology is so super fantastico cool.

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