Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tough guys don't dance... and apparently, neither does anyone else in Japan these days

Well, not exactly.  This is the first I've heard of this-- the police in Tokyo are cracking down on laws that make it illegal to dance after midnight.  Not just in Tokyo.  Read the article and the comments on the Japan Times website:  What's with the police purge on dance clubs? - The Japan Times.  Then come back here for a moment or two and let me bore you half to death with a few words on the subject.

Like the appendix, the little toe or network television, these laws are vestigial remants of the past.  I'm sure they served a purpose at one time.  Now they serve another and you can decide for yourself whether that purpose is over-reaction or a necessary measure.  This concerns me because I like to hit live venues from time to time.  And while I haven't been to a dance club in Japan in quite a while-- mostly because I haven't found one to my particular liking-- I hate to think the actions of a few will have such a negative impact on what's largely good, clean fun.  You know, dancing all night.  Clubbing, but not that kind that involves grievous bodily harm.

Actually, I'm not sure such a crackdown will have a chilling effect on the live music scene in Japan.  Most shows I've been to start around 7pm and everyone's out the door well before midnight.  Unless you're the kind of hardcore clubber who doesn't mind missing that last train-- the kind of person who stays out all night until the sun comes up-- you probably won't notice much difference.

It's just these scenes frequently overlap with other avenues of artistic expression like art itself or fashion, the kinds of things that have made Cool Japan a worldwide phenomenon.  Without the mingling of visual and musical arts, we probably wouldn't have had the Harajuku style scene.  I wonder, too, what effect this crackdown might have on those kids who like to practice their hip-hop moves in front of reflective store windows late at night.  I'm guessing kids still do that, or breakdance on the sidewalks after all the daytime pedestrians have gone home.  These are the things that define younger Japan across the globe.

You'd think there would be a way to put the onus on those who really are troublemakers and criminals without criminalizing a bunch of young people out for fun.  Maybe that's just too much trouble.

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