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Sharp like a ninja?

Presentation on cultural appropriation of the term "ninja"

April 3, 2019 3:31 PM


Come see the results of Crysshelda's fieldwork in Japan!

Ninja: Japan’s Soft Power And American Appropriation

Crysshelda Kosasih,  Asian Studies
Mentor: Meredith Oyen

Poster, 1-2:30pm, UC Ballroom

American society has used the term ninja without a second thought, but how have these shadowy figures become a tool to spread Japanese influence? The postwar occupation of Japan sparked interest in Japanese culture and made way for the “Cool Japan” movement that would develop in later decades. This project will discuss whether or not the general use of the term ‘ninja’ is or can be considered cultural appropriation as it is so far removed from its cultural background. The main method of determining cultural appropriation will be the contrast and comparison between Japan’s and America’s use of the ninja. This research project will use historical and cultural sources in English and Japanese, such as Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.by Roland Kelts, 「The Ninja - 忍者ってナンジャ!?」(English title: The Ninja - Who were they?) as well as field work in Japan to determine just how ninjas have crept into the global vocabulary and are now almost synonymous with the idea of deadly silent efficiency.

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