Gwen Stefani Says ‘I’m Japanese’ While Defending Her Controversial Harajuku Era

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani Says ‘I’m Japanese’ While Defending Her Controversial Harajuku Era

Genetics seems to be a nonfactor in one’s race as far as Gwen Stefani is concerned.

During a recent interview, the 53-year-old singer shared that she identifies as Japanese after being heavily influenced by the culture.

Reportedly, the topic of conversation was Stefani’s controversial era of branding herself within the Asian-inspired Harajuku space. Ahead of her upcoming vegan fragrance launch, the “Hollaback Girl” artist was asked what she learned about the 2008 launch of her perfume “Harajuku Lovers,” which was widely criticized for appropriating the Japanese culture.

The Italian- American pop star reportedly explained that her father’s 18 years working in Yahama had a great impact on her. She told the interviewer:

“That was my Japanese influence…And that was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic [with] so much attention to art and detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me.”


“I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.’ I am, you know.”

Apparently, Stefani’s love for the Harajuku style first played out during her 2004 debut studio album release “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” The singer faced immense backlash after using the Japanese subculture in her artwork and marketing. At the time, she even traveled with “Harajuku Girls,” Japanese and Japanese-American backup dancers who doubled as the musician’s entourage.

Following the interview, social media users took to Twitter with their split opinions on Stefani’s remarks and actions. Some feel the singer should admit that although her decisions may have come from a good place she was still disrespectful. However, others feel that if her admiration is well received by Japanese people, no one else should take issue.


However, despite critics, Stefani maintains her stance that she should be allowed to “be inspired” by other cultures. Reportedly, the musician also stated she identifies with the Hispanic and Latinx cultures due to being raised in Anaheim, California. She continued in the interview:

“If [people are] going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right…I think it was a beautiful time of creativity…a time of the ping-pong match between Harajuku culture and American culture. [It] should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?” 

Adding about Latinx culture:

“The music, the way the girls wore their makeup, the clothes they wore, that was my identity…Even though I’m an Italian American — Irish or whatever mutt that I am — that’s who I became because those were my people, right?” 


What are your thoughts on Gwen Stefani identifying with multiple races? Leave them in the comments below!

Authored by: Kay Johnson