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The Inexplicable World Of Asian Nazi Chic

The Nazis are still widely condemned and despised to this day, and yet their influence can still be seen over seventy years after Hitler bit that big schnitzel in the sky.

There are Neo-Nazi hate groups, political organizations preaching Nazi ideology, and dumb racist parents who name their kid Adolf Hitler. And then there's the strange world of Nazi inspired Asian underground fashion, which tends to send mixed messages.

Asian Nazi Chic is possibly tongue-in-cheek, possibly retro militarism, possibly a strange form of cosplay, maybe all three or none of the above.

It's moderately offensive to Westerners, extremely offensive to the world’s Jewish population, but most Asian people don't seem to be offended by Hitler Chic.

In fact swastikas and images of Der Fuhrer are seen as a novelty in many Asian countries, which could lead to misunderstandings when tourists see people doing the Nazi salute on the sidewalk.

Read more about Asian "Hitler Chic" at Dangerous Minds

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Germany has their own reasons for banning the swastika, but here's why it's socially taboo in the US. We have current groups of white supremacists who use nazi symbolism proudly to display their views. The rest of us don't want to be mistaken for them, or have any symbolic association with those views, no matter how small.
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I think they don't get to handle real guns in their society. As a gun owner, I would make sure to follow all of the cardinal rules of firearms safety lest I lose my license.
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Maybe it's because it happened far away in Europe, and its victims were primarily people who have little to no presence in Eastern Asia. I can't say that I see many Jewish people here in Southeast Asia. Usually, most westerners who visit our parts want to sell us a fantastic story about Joseph Smith and these gold plates he found. We generally do not even hear or believe the so-called Jewish World Domination conspiracy theory (which, to me, seems to be an almost respectable view in parts of Europe, mostly in Britain).

I am ashamed to admit it, but even I am not too hung up about the shoah. I am but a product of my time. I have read the atrocities committed to a sizeable portion of humanity by the evil nazis, and it troubles me. But, you know, much like the Crusades, it happened a long, long time ago in a place far, far away. Heck, even the thousands of my countrymen who were butchered by the Americans to pacify our islands in the late 19th century, and thousands more killed by the Japanese during WW2 (including some of my maternal grand uncles), these are just factoids that I learn in history class.

But even I was taken aback when a "Good Burger" hamburger joint opened near my office about ten years ago. For some unfathomable reason, their flyers included a black and white picture of Hitler looking over approvingly to a Good Burger sandwich. Wow!
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If anything it's more inexplicable that the Nazis are still so uniquely taboo in the West. No imagery from any other historical political thugs or war criminals (including Imperial Japan) are significantly taboo. Open praise for Stalin will not get you fired from a job or shunned by (most) average people, much less if you don a Che beret for the same kind of campy cos-play that Asians likewise shrug off.

Going by our implied guilt you'd think we collaborated with the Nazis instead of fought against them. Japan and America should trade attitudes.
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It's a misguided obsession, but at least it's harmless and doesn't threaten any animals with extinction, unlike some other misguided obsessions that go on in Asia. So keep dressing in Nazi uniforms, Japanese kids. The tigers and rhinos all thank you.
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