Monday, March 1, 2010

"Turning Japanese" - Kirsten Dunst in Akihabara

Back in August of last year, Japan Probe, my favorite site for Japanese cultural gems, posted a short entry about a mysterious Kirsten Dunst sighting in Tokyo's Akihabara district. The American actress was dressed in an electric blue wig and a cosplay-esque outfit. Mystery solved: Dunst was part of a project for Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

The short film is called "Akihabara Majokko Princess," and it was part of Pop Life: Art in a Material World, an exhibit at Tate Modern. The exhibit, which closed on January 17, featured artists – including Murakami, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons – who made commercialism work for them to create their own "brands." Murakami, who is sometimes criticized for selling out, collaborated with Kanye West and Louis Vuitton and built a name for himself through his brand, Kaikai Kiki.

For the Pop Life exhibit, Murakami enlisted the services of Dunst and McG, the American filmmaker who directed the Charlie's Angels movies, to create a music video. Dunst, in her cosplay get-up, frolics through Akihabara, the famed electronics neighborhood in Tokyo that in recent years has become a haven for otaku culture, to the tune of "Turning Japanese," the 1980 hit by British pop band The Vapors.

from YouTube user jd1378

I think Kirsten Dunst is a strange choice, but I actually like the video. A article suggests that perhaps Dunst was cast in the video as a way of acknowledging Western interest in cosplay and otaku culture. Either that or Murakami was making fun of her. Whatever Murakami's motive, I think the video is fun, even though I despise the tune. Plus, I'm a huge fan of Murakami's, and I love his Kaikai Kiki characters.

While you don't always see girls dressed like Dunst in Akihabara, Murakami's project does show the character of the neighborhood, with its maids and geeks and row upon row of electronic doo-dads.


The Jade Rabbit said...

I got handed a flier for one of the maid cafes and was like "oh, uh... thanks..." There are now cafes that cater to women where western men serve you with british accents and call you "your highness". I want to check out one of those... or one of the yaoi themed cafes.

shrinecastle said...

I had no idea there were cafes for women. You'd love that!
Well, Kaikai Kiki took down the video! Stupid copyright claims!