The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Gene Expression BlogTeasers
Sumo Scale Cultural Appropriation at UC Davis
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Strings  Include Comments

Screenshot from 2016-03-15 22-46-48Sometimes you don’t know what is real or not real. What do people really believe? Do they really believe what they say? Even if it’s clearly ridiculous? Probably internalized 1984 too much. Also, many of my white friends have admitted to me that in university contexts when talking about sensitive topics such as race they’ve basically memorized what to say, even if they basically have no agreement with what they assert. They know what the party line to please everyone is.

So this happened at my university. ASUCD draws criticism for sumo wrestling costumes at Block Party:

Among those activities was an attraction in which students could dress in sumo suits and wrestle each other. The activity immediately drew criticism from members of the student body, who accused ASUCD of fat shaming and culturally appropriating Japanese culture.

According to the students who raised this issue to ASUCD, the sumo suits trivialized Japanese culture and the history of Japanese rikishi or sumo wrestlers.

Once the issue was brought to ASUCD’s attention, ASUCD’s Executive Office, consisting of President Mariah Kala Watson, Vice President Gareth Smythe and Controller Francisco Lara, immediately issued an apology for the incident and commended the students that brought the issue to light.

“We’d like to apologize for any harm the ‘Sumo Suit’ may have caused you all. This lapse in judgment is completely ASUCD’s fault and responsibility alone,” said ASUCD’s Executive Office in a Facebook post. “We are thankful to the student who courageously brought this issue to our attention […] This was an egregious oversight and it will hopefully not happen in the future.”

Scott Tsuchitani, a Ph.D. student in cultural studies, believed the incident was evidence of the lack of awareness of the racism against Asian and Asian American students.

“My overall impression is that this conversation is in itself an expression of white supremacist anti-Asian structural racism. If people are genuinely concerned with the needs of Asian Americans, then why are Asian American voices not front and center in this conversation?” Tsuchitani said via email. “Instead, Asian Americans are treated as mute, hapless victims, devoid of agency, a.k.a. the ‘model minority’ stereotype. That is what I see being reinscribed by this conversation.”

Tsuchitani went on to say that he was not pleased by ASUCD’s apology and called for more action from the association.

“It is pitiful that the ASUCD would pathologize the so-called victims as in need of treatment instead of reflecting more deeply on what is needed to address ASUCD’s own failure in this situation,” Tsuchitani said. “From my limited perspective, I would suggest that the foremost need for treatment might well be for cultural competency training for ASUCD itself. That is much more relevant here than any Orientalist history of sumo wrestling.”

 

51FCNSFNR5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Scott Tsuchitani is a smart guy. He has two master’s degrees in engineering already. He’s not getting his Ph.D. in cultural studies because that’s all he could do with his mind. The fact that intelligent people such as Scott Tsuchitani parrot this sort of weird gibberish as a form of symbolic performance, enacting scripts which navigate the discourse of hierarchical power relations, so as to assert superiority and agency over others, is indicative of an intellectual culture in advanced stages of putrefaction.

Another symptom of a culture near the end of its internally incoherent logic is that you can’t distinguish farce from sincere expressions of outrage. The article above alludes to “fat shaming.” It reports on this objection in a straight manner, assuming the sincerity of the complainant. Actually that student was trolling. It is reached such levels of self-parody that you can’t distinguish between the trolls and the truly offended, it’s all turning into a great game.

For those genuinely interested in Japanese culture, as opposed to being offended on behalf of Japanese culture, I recommend Maurius Jansen’s The Making of Modern Japan. Also, Moshi Moshi is much better than Zen Toro or Mikuni in my opinion.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Cultural Appropriation 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
[]
  1. These people are investing Sumo with more seriousness than the Japanese do themselves. Comedic slapstick involving Sumo costumes and mock matches happens all the time in Japan, heck even the rikishi themselves get in on the fun as part of festivals and general public relations. Heck, there’s videos and pictures of it all over the net, some of them with foreigners in Japan joining in without any issue.

    I would venture that 99% of native Japanese would not be offended at all by foreign people doing mock sumo, and would in fact find it mildly amusing to very funny.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/sumo-scale-cultural-appropriation-at-uc-davis/#comment-1357699
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. I notice the complaint is conveyed in English even though the complainer is not of English ancestry. I am offended and will file a counter complaint.

    Read More
  3. I wonder if we’ll see protests against martial arts clubs on campus next, no doubt the same self appointed types will claim that people wearing Gi/Dobok and doing stuff like counting in Japanese/Korean and other stuff like bowing are really taking part in “Cultural Appropriation”, a quick google search turns up this nugget for example:

    https://www.quora.com/Can-I-study-martial-arts-without-cultural-appropriation

    NB. I did TaeKwon-Do for 6 years back in College

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pericles
    Is it too much to hope for East Asians to stop playing the violin and doing math? Because of their distaste for appropriating Western culture, I mean. In the same vein, perhaps "Scott" (ouch! insensitive!) would feel better if he handed back his engineering degrees.
  4. Having impression is different from having awareness / knowledge.

    The useful idiot has as its main weakness the self (intrapersonal intelligence). They are like the candidate to singer passing shame on Britain’s Got Talent. Most people, and especially many leftists are like that. But we do not have national visibility, a renowned jury and an audience to laugh at him (because the audience ….).

    The vast majority of people it seems have severe flaws in their capacity for critical-analytical and holistic thinking, the basis of intelligence.

    Every leftist knows that there are human races in the same way that every religious know that their beliefs are stupid and even more when you have some bastard atheist/agnostic shows them how stupid they are being.

    But they did not develop this impression, then they became vulnerable to manipulation by others from a combination of intrinsic cognitive susceptibilities and environmental conditions, the zombies of own mind/ignorance.

    Think about the bizarre hallucinations of schizophrenics, for them, it all seems very real. For us many-to-most of the knowledge that hbd shows us is very real, but because it makes sense even, logically speaking. For most of these leftist masses the information that is transmitted by his intellectual elites are also totally correct.

    It all comes down to the new cultural political left. Gramsci created political theory, I think you know that, that the best way to take power is through mind control via culture.

    People, many of them who are intellectually stupid (but not so cognitive-stupid), are persuaded that to say ‘races do not exist’ ‘will make them appears smarter in the eyes of others. That’s why they call them roughly as useful idiots.

    People without respect for knowledge use it as a means to reach a purpose, status quo.

    Read More
  5. “My overall impression is that this conversation is in itself an expression of white supremacist anti-Asian structural racism. If people are genuinely concerned with the needs of Asian Americans, then why are Asian American voices not front and center in this conversation?” Tsuchitani said … “Instead, Asian Americans are treated as mute, hapless victims, devoid of agency, a.k.a. the ‘model minority’ stereotype. That is what I see being reinscribed by this conversation.”

    I’d give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    I think what Tsuchitani is signalling, like Jeremiah Denton, the captured American POW in Vietnam who signalled “torture” in Morse code by blinking his eyes in a propaganda video, is

    “If Asians aren’t the ones complaining, what are you non-Asians yammering about? We can take care of ourselves.”

    He’s mastered the lingo sufficiently for this to be a disguised message so that he doesn’t get drawn and quartered by the high priests in the pc power structure.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BDoyle
    Like PiltdownMan said. I had to read the passage three times to actually get it, but what Tsuchitani is saying is not gibberish at all. He's feeling patronized by ASUCD because they are implying that Asian students are not capable of judging for themselves whether they are offended or not.

    I don't think Tsuchitani was trying to send his message in code, though. He just needs to polish his prose for clarity.
  6. My fear is that this putrefied mess is not easily reversed. Many healthy and desirable babies could be lost when this bathwater is finally thrown out.
    I do believe that this PC BS is part of why so many are voting for a conman like Trump. The prevailing wisdom is in an advanced state of putrefaction..

    Read More
  7. My fear is that this putrefied mess is not easily reversed. Many healthy and desirable babies could be lost when this bathwater is finally thrown out.
    I do believe that this PC BS is part of why so many are voting for a conman like Trump. The prevailing wisdom is in an advanced state of putrefaction..

    How can anyone who is even modesty informed spout this facile bullshit?? Leave aside the fact that Trump built a business empire and fortune in the top 10% of the world’s richest billionaires. By implication you are also saying that dozens of the top American billionaire business titans, who’ve worked closely with Trump over decades, who now support Trump (Carl Icahn, Andy Beal, Steve Wynn, Tom Barrack, Elie Hirschfeld, Phil Ruffin, et al.), must also be conman or clueless dupes.

    Even another über-successful billionaire businessman who hasn’t officially endorsed Trump, Bob Kraft (owner of my home team the NE Patriots), called Trump a financial genius (https://www.tmz.com/2015/07/20/robert-kraft-trumps-a-financial-genius-even-though-he-passed-on-pats/).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I have a hard time reconciling Trump the successful business man with the guy who is hawking cheap steaks on TV and has a clearly scam "university" and many failed real estate ventures using other's money.

    He certainly has conman tendencies while being very successful at making money
  8. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Pat Gilligan

    My fear is that this putrefied mess is not easily reversed. Many healthy and desirable babies could be lost when this bathwater is finally thrown out.
    I do believe that this PC BS is part of why so many are voting for a conman like Trump. The prevailing wisdom is in an advanced state of putrefaction..
     
    How can anyone who is even modesty informed spout this facile bullshit?? Leave aside the fact that Trump built a business empire and fortune in the top 10% of the world's richest billionaires. By implication you are also saying that dozens of the top American billionaire business titans, who've worked closely with Trump over decades, who now support Trump (Carl Icahn, Andy Beal, Steve Wynn, Tom Barrack, Elie Hirschfeld, Phil Ruffin, et al.), must also be conman or clueless dupes.

    Even another über-successful billionaire businessman who hasn't officially endorsed Trump, Bob Kraft (owner of my home team the NE Patriots), called Trump a financial genius (https://www.tmz.com/2015/07/20/robert-kraft-trumps-a-financial-genius-even-though-he-passed-on-pats/).

    I have a hard time reconciling Trump the successful business man with the guy who is hawking cheap steaks on TV and has a clearly scam “university” and many failed real estate ventures using other’s money.

    He certainly has conman tendencies while being very successful at making money

    Read More
  9. If the argument against cultural appropriation has any credence (and I don’t believe it does), then the existence of foreigners and alien cultures in the United States is cultural appropriation FROM US. To turn the argument on its head, the aliens appropriate our streets, domiciles, universities, food, technology, etc., by their very presence … even as they verbally assault us as appropriating their cultures. Yes, they inhabit and use OUR culture en masse without our permission, including the free speech venues from which they launch their assaults.

    If cultural appropriation must end, then, as the reductio ad absurdum, visiting foreigners and those from alien cultures must leave our country post haste. QED

    Note: The juvenile absurdity of the anti-appropriation argument is laid bare by the example of the Afro-American women verbally assaulting Whites for cultural appropriation (stealing) from her while wearing glasses and using a microphone to protest the thefts. Please, prohibit that young lady and those like her from ever wearing glasses and speaking into microphones! Her glasses and that microphone belong to US.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ogunsiron

    then the existence of foreigners and alien cultures in the United States is cultural appropriation FROM US.
     
    It doesn't work that way.
    You're low on the progressive stack. It's ok for those higher on the progressive stack to reach down and take your stuff, because by reaching down and taking your stuff they're punching up, or something.
  10. @PiltdownMan

    “My overall impression is that this conversation is in itself an expression of white supremacist anti-Asian structural racism. If people are genuinely concerned with the needs of Asian Americans, then why are Asian American voices not front and center in this conversation?” Tsuchitani said ... “Instead, Asian Americans are treated as mute, hapless victims, devoid of agency, a.k.a. the ‘model minority’ stereotype. That is what I see being reinscribed by this conversation.”
     
    I'd give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    I think what Tsuchitani is signalling, like Jeremiah Denton, the captured American POW in Vietnam who signalled "torture" in Morse code by blinking his eyes in a propaganda video, is

    "If Asians aren't the ones complaining, what are you non-Asians yammering about? We can take care of ourselves."

    He's mastered the lingo sufficiently for this to be a disguised message so that he doesn't get drawn and quartered by the high priests in the pc power structure.

    Like PiltdownMan said. I had to read the passage three times to actually get it, but what Tsuchitani is saying is not gibberish at all. He’s feeling patronized by ASUCD because they are implying that Asian students are not capable of judging for themselves whether they are offended or not.

    I don’t think Tsuchitani was trying to send his message in code, though. He just needs to polish his prose for clarity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    He’s feeling patronized by ASUCD because they are implying that Asian students are not capable of judging for themselves whether they are offended or not.
     
    While I do get that sense, so much of his writing is enveloped in the so-called Social Justice Warrior lingo that it's hard to discern that sentiment without some parsing.

    This kind of complete and utter crock of shit - pardon the indelicate language - is one of the reasons why I left academia years and years ago (I knew I wasn't going to get tenure unless I went "radio silent" for a few years). When I subsequently got into the business of shooting people who needed to be dead, I found the culture around the simple arithmetic of death so much more refreshingly honest and devoid of bullshit that it was liberating (and quite jarringly different from home at times). To be sure, there was considerable bureaucratic nonsense (sometimes comical, sometimes utterly infuriating) in that business as well, but once in "Indian Country" all that just disappeared.

    I just don't understand how human beings who value liberty and autonomy at all can subject themselves to this kind of a suffocating blanket of bullshit. If I had to stick it out for a decade or two in academia, I think I'd go mad and climb a tower with some rifles.
  11. If you want to go out tomorrow 3/17 saying something like ‘I am O’Khan, and I am one of those dark Irishman”. I will be OK with it, though I guess I do not know if these ASUCD people would be.

    Read More
  12. @TheJester
    If the argument against cultural appropriation has any credence (and I don't believe it does), then the existence of foreigners and alien cultures in the United States is cultural appropriation FROM US. To turn the argument on its head, the aliens appropriate our streets, domiciles, universities, food, technology, etc., by their very presence ... even as they verbally assault us as appropriating their cultures. Yes, they inhabit and use OUR culture en masse without our permission, including the free speech venues from which they launch their assaults.

    If cultural appropriation must end, then, as the reductio ad absurdum, visiting foreigners and those from alien cultures must leave our country post haste. QED

    Note: The juvenile absurdity of the anti-appropriation argument is laid bare by the example of the Afro-American women verbally assaulting Whites for cultural appropriation (stealing) from her while wearing glasses and using a microphone to protest the thefts. Please, prohibit that young lady and those like her from ever wearing glasses and speaking into microphones! Her glasses and that microphone belong to US.

    then the existence of foreigners and alien cultures in the United States is cultural appropriation FROM US.

    It doesn’t work that way.
    You’re low on the progressive stack. It’s ok for those higher on the progressive stack to reach down and take your stuff, because by reaching down and taking your stuff they’re punching up, or something.

    Read More
  13. Scott Tsuchitani is a smart guy. He has two master’s degrees in engineering already. He’s not getting his Ph.D. in cultural studies because that’s all he could do with his mind.

    No, he’s doing it because he hates white people, and he wants to punish them through their children. A depressingly large proportion of educators fits that profile.

    Read More
  14. @BDoyle
    Like PiltdownMan said. I had to read the passage three times to actually get it, but what Tsuchitani is saying is not gibberish at all. He's feeling patronized by ASUCD because they are implying that Asian students are not capable of judging for themselves whether they are offended or not.

    I don't think Tsuchitani was trying to send his message in code, though. He just needs to polish his prose for clarity.

    He’s feeling patronized by ASUCD because they are implying that Asian students are not capable of judging for themselves whether they are offended or not.

    While I do get that sense, so much of his writing is enveloped in the so-called Social Justice Warrior lingo that it’s hard to discern that sentiment without some parsing.

    This kind of complete and utter crock of shit – pardon the indelicate language – is one of the reasons why I left academia years and years ago (I knew I wasn’t going to get tenure unless I went “radio silent” for a few years). When I subsequently got into the business of shooting people who needed to be dead, I found the culture around the simple arithmetic of death so much more refreshingly honest and devoid of bullshit that it was liberating (and quite jarringly different from home at times). To be sure, there was considerable bureaucratic nonsense (sometimes comical, sometimes utterly infuriating) in that business as well, but once in “Indian Country” all that just disappeared.

    I just don’t understand how human beings who value liberty and autonomy at all can subject themselves to this kind of a suffocating blanket of bullshit. If I had to stick it out for a decade or two in academia, I think I’d go mad and climb a tower with some rifles.

    Read More
  15. By the way, maybe because of the appearance of the athletes Sumo is often something of a joke or a laughing matter in the West, but it is a highly technical grappling sport with many subtle elements. I used to watch it quite a bit and always learned something interesting or useful for my own grappling game (Judo).

    There is also a Korean version of Sumo called Ssireum that is quite fun to watch: https://youtu.be/xLSMwE82vgM

    The rules are somewhat different – the Korean version does not allow hand slapping, and pushout simply results in a reset at the center. Because matches start with grips/handles, Ssireum matches tend to emphasize far more throws than the bull rushes/blitzes you see in Sumo.

    Also the seemingly funny hand slapping in Sumo is rarely meant to do serious damage, though it can hurt, but it’s more designed to lift up the head/balance of the opponent to make it easier to get under his center of gravity for either a throw or a pushout. It’s similar in that way to Kuzushi (“balance breaking”) in Judo, where you try to lift up the arms/upper body of the opponent to get him off his base right before executing a throwing technique.

    Read More
  16. @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ
    I wonder if we'll see protests against martial arts clubs on campus next, no doubt the same self appointed types will claim that people wearing Gi/Dobok and doing stuff like counting in Japanese/Korean and other stuff like bowing are really taking part in "Cultural Appropriation", a quick google search turns up this nugget for example:

    https://www.quora.com/Can-I-study-martial-arts-without-cultural-appropriation

    NB. I did TaeKwon-Do for 6 years back in College

    Is it too much to hope for East Asians to stop playing the violin and doing math? Because of their distaste for appropriating Western culture, I mean. In the same vein, perhaps “Scott” (ouch! insensitive!) would feel better if he handed back his engineering degrees.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Is it too much to hope for East Asians to stop playing the violin and doing math?
     
    Only when the European-descended stop using paper and gunpowder. It's parchment and non-composite bows only from now on!

    Also, I think East Asians had math (behold the power of abacus: https://youtu.be/GQtqlB-jXO0) before running into Europeans.
  17. @Pericles
    Is it too much to hope for East Asians to stop playing the violin and doing math? Because of their distaste for appropriating Western culture, I mean. In the same vein, perhaps "Scott" (ouch! insensitive!) would feel better if he handed back his engineering degrees.

    Is it too much to hope for East Asians to stop playing the violin and doing math?

    Only when the European-descended stop using paper and gunpowder. It’s parchment and non-composite bows only from now on!

    Also, I think East Asians had math (behold the power of abacus: https://youtu.be/GQtqlB-jXO0) before running into Europeans.

    Read More
  18. Coincidentally, Freddie DeBoer has a new post up on how ridiculous the “progressive” language of cultural appropriation is as well. It even discusses an example from Japanese culture, albeit not the same one you highlighted.

    I always find it interesting although he comes from a very different place from you and has had some disagreements with you in the past, Freddie tends to have broadly the same critiques of contemporary “progressivism.” Indeed, he’s talked about both how others on the left see him as a “traitor to the cause” and how people on the “alt-right” have reached out to him, in the false belief that he is in the precipice of crossing over. People do not realize that the impetus of his critiques is that he isn’t interested in social signaling or behaving as a tribal member of the left, but how to build a revolutionary socialist movement that the majority of the U.S. populous would support. As such, he sees the contemporary behavior of the “left” as ludicrously self-defeating – not to mention generally focusing on issues which have next to no material impact on anyone’s lives.

    Read More
  19. The Japanese are masters of “cultural appropriation” and the time I spent living in Japan put all of this progressive blather into perspective for me, since applying there ideals to Japan on a wide variety of issues (immigration, multiculturalism, accommodation, appropriation, discrimination, sensitivity, and even law enforcement and the death penalty) would suggest that Japan should sit on top of the left’s list of counties to condemn, but it’s not.

    That also means I’ve lived in a country where I didn’t speak much of the language, was essentially illiterate, could be discriminated against in housing, and couldn’t count on barbers knowing how to cut my hair. But realizing I was a guest in their country, it was not my place to demand English everywhere or insult the Japanese for an unfamiliarity they had with white people or America and could even appreciate their desire to keep Japan Japanese. And whatever hardship not speaking and reading Japanese caused me was my problem and not their fault or problem.

    Read More

Comments are closed.