Japanese Mariachis and Cholos!


35493376 - tokyo - november 13: billboards in shinjuku

I was recently reading some articles from LatinLive, a media website about U.S. Latinx, and I came across some very interesting stories about Japanese that have come to love Latino culture. This was sort of a shock to me, since most of my own Latinx friends love Japanese culture, such as anime, manga, and food.

Japanese Mariachis

Japan mariachi 2

Meet “Mariachi Samurai”, a Mariachi Band made up entirely of Japanese people. Yes, you read that right.

For those that don’t know, Mariachi is a traditional style of Mexican music, which includes a lot of guitar, trumpet, and “gritos.” If you ever attend a Mexican party or gathering, chances are that you will hear someone playing this music. But how did a group of Japanese people start playing Mariachi music?

Well, about twenty years ago, Osamu Hosegawa traveled to Mexico and learned how to sing rancheras–a style of Mexican song. He loved the music and went back to Japan to start a band. The rest is history. But are they good? Well, check them out here:

Japanese Cholos

Japan cholos

If we stopped at Japanese Mariachi, that would be enough to make my day, but as LatinLive also wrote there is a Japanese “Cholo” subculture too!

For that aren’t familiar with the term “Cholo”, it is slang for people of Latin-American descent that are typically low-income and “tough”. Though a true understanding of “Cholo” and the culture surrounding it is too complex for this short article, suffice to say that it is one part of Latinx culture. So I was surprised to learn that Japanese people, in Japan, have decided to become “Cholos” too. Checkout this documentary titled “Chicano” from Louis Ellison and Jacob Hodgkinson.

It is nice to see that Japanese culture is emulating Latinx culture, since there are plenty of Latinos that have a love for Japanese culture. And if you want to read the articles on LatinLive, you can see them here:  Mariachi Samurai and Japanese Cholo


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