ANSWERS: 1
  • No. I think her main contribution was to make it well known in the Western world. Gwen Stefani is an intelligent, well informed woman who gave a lot to pop music. 1) "Harajuku (原宿 "meadow lodging") listen (help·info) is the common name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan. The area is known internationally for its youth style and fashion." "In the 1980s large numbers of street performers and wildly dressed teens including takenoko-zoku (竹の子族, "bamboo-shoot kids") gathered on Omotesandō and the street that passes through Yoyogi Park on Sundays when the streets were closed to traffic. The streets were reopened to traffic in the 90s, and a great number of teens stopped gathering there. Today there are still teenagers hanging out in Harajuku, mostly on the bridge across the train tracks from Harajuku station to Yoyogi Park. In recent years Omotesandō has seen a rise in branches of expensive fashion stores such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada. The avenue is sometimes referred to as "Tokyo's Champs-Élysées". Until 2004, one side of the avenue was occupied by the Dōjunkai Aoyama apāto, Bauhaus-inspired apartments built in 1927 after the 1923 Kantō earthquake. In 2006 the buildings were controversially destroyed by Mori Building and replaced with the "Omotesando Hills" shopping mall, designed by Tadao Ando. The area known as "Ura-Hara" (back streets of Harajuku) is a center of Japanese fashion for younger people — brands such as A Bathing Ape and Undercover have shops in the area." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harajuku 2) "The Harajuku Girls are four young women who were hired in 2004 as backup dancers for American singer Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album. The "Harajuku Girls" have continued to appear alongside Stefani, and are featured in the music videos for "What You Waiting For?", "Rich Girl", "Hollaback Girl", "Luxurious", "Crash", "Wind It Up", "The Sweet Escape", and "Now That You Got It". They have also toured with Stefani. Coincidentally, both Love and Music have worked with Namie Amuro at some time, Music as a member of the group Super Monkeys and Love as Amuro's dancer for a period." "In an interview in the January/February 2006 edition of Blender magazine, American comedian Margaret Cho calls Stefani's Harajuku Girls a "minstrel show" that reinforces ethnic stereotypes of Asian women. Writer Mihi Ahn said of Stefani's "Harajuku Girls": "Stefani has taken the idea of Japanese street fashion and turned these women into modern-day geisha"." Source and further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harajuku_Girls I find the criticism of Margaret Cho exagerated. I don't see much evoking Geishas in the Harajuku Girls. (except the obvious stereotype: young, beautiful and free Japanese woman => Geisha) 3) Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape feat Akon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wmTBXWuDJU 4) Further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwen_Stefani

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