Lady Gaga wears outfit with hangul on it in Tokyo. Japanese netizens go ape sh*t

On her Instagram account Lady Gaga posted a few pictures of her walking around Tokyo with an outfit that had, gasp, hangul written on it- 컬러.  Evidently it’s Konglish for “color” (kol-lo), a play on the style of her outfit.

Why Lady Gaga's Outfit Upsets Some People in Japan

(Image from Kotaku.com)

Reported by the Asian pop blog Kotaku, evidently the fine folks at 2ch, wasted no time in getting a lively thread started to display their shock and aghast.  Some of the more interesting comments?

“She thinks South Korea and Japan are the same.”

“Wearing clothes with Korean characters and sauntering about Roppongi is giving hate to Japan.”

“Get outta here, you shitty white person.”

“Yep, just a dumb American.”

“Certainly looks like between Japan and South Korea, Gaga likes Korea more.”

There appears to be two schools of thought here.  One is that Lady Gaga is an ignorant American who doesn’t know the difference between hangul and hiragana and this is just a dumb mistake.  The other view (from the more paranoid 2ch members) is that Gaga knows full well that hangul is Korean and is taking Korea’s side on historical issues!  Her parading around Roppongi in a hangul suit is her way of thumbing her nose at Japan!

Personally, I don’t really know what Lady Gaga is trying to do, but I kind of think that she would know the difference between the two writing styles.  Crayon Pop did give her an outfit with her name stenciled in hangul on it:

(Image from Lady Gaga’s Twitter)

For those of you who may not know, it says Leh-yi-dee Ga-ga, in Konglish.

Now, in all fairness to 2ch commenters, if Lady Gaga was running around the streets of Seoul and taking pictures of herself with an outfit that had hiragana characters on it and prominently posted the pictures on the internet, then I would say that Korean netizens would react with similar butthurt and aghast.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I’m not an expert, but 2ch is pretty much the Japanese equivalent of Ilbe, correct? If so, I don’t think what is posted on there is a fair indicator of Japanese sentiment regarding this non-issue.

    I’m sure Lady Gaga doesn’t give a shit about Korean script vs Japanese script. She probably doesn’t give a shit about Korea vs Japan at all. The rest of the world doesn’t give a shit about petty East Asian bickering.

  • redwhitedude

    Some people need some serious growing up to do. Who cares what she wears and what is written in what she wears, unless it is incredibly offending or insulting.

  • bigmamat

    I have to agree. There would certainly be Koreans who think she was being disrespectful. If she wore the “rising sun” then she’d be dissing them on purpose which would really drive them ape shit. Koreans it seems like to call westerners stupid because they don’t know the history of Korea and Imperial Japan as though that should be a prerequisite for even visiting the country. The Japanese don’t seem to be much different. However, I do think that if a celebrity is going to promote in a foreign country they should have at least a general knowledge of the customs and it’s history. They don’t need to be experts but a couple of google searches done by their handlers and a briefing on etiquette seems to be in order.

  • redwhitedude

    I’d say send lady gaga to meet Kim Jong Un.

  • bigmamat

    We already sent the weirdest Mo Fo we’ve got….

  • wangkon936

    … and they liked each other. Imagine that.

  • Hitokiri 1989

    It appears that Japanese netizens don’t know their own history. Didn’t Imperial Japan declare that Korea and Japan were “one body” therefore one and the same?

  • bigmamat

    I don’t know about that, the Japanese seem to change their minds about Korea depending on who’s in political power at the time. I can’t keep up with all the Asian animosity politics. I do know they seem to hold a grudge for a long damned time.

  • bigmamat

    They’re a couple made for the media. A 7 ft alcoholic transvestite and a 5 ft chubby Korean dictator with a nuclear hard on…You can’t make this shit up.

  • djson1

    Agree, but you’re overestimating the intelligence of their “handlers”. I would think they’re on par with the typical uneducated roadies.

  • djson1

    Exactly. I bet Lady Gaga didn’t wear that outfit because she thought the writing was in Japanese anyways. She wore it because she liked it….it’s cute on her, btw.
    Would it have made a difference if the verbiage on the clothes was in Thai or German? People do overreact these days (and I’m not excluding Koreans either).

  • redwhitedude

    What’s wrong with adding Lady Gaga to it?

    Oh you are afraid that his wife will get jealous and have her sent to the gallows? I’m fine with that. Besides it adds to the collection of really weird personalities that Mr. Kim has met.

  • redwhitedude

    Yes, and by all accounts Korea was like apartheid south africa. It turns out that slogan is about as useful as PGH “creative economy”.

  • redwhitedude

    Or have too much time in their hands.

  • bigmamat

    You’re just creepin on a 3 way and I’m not into that shit…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi7gwX7rjOw

  • bigmamat

    That outfit is a crime against humanity. It’s offensive to the eye, not because of the Hangul but because it’s shapeless and looks like a Unicorn threw up on it.

  • RElgin

    If that happened, the State Department would attempt to get her to pass folded pieces of paper to KJU or the DOJ would attempt to prosecute her for providing aid to the DPRK regime. She could sing “Happy Birthday” better than Rodman.

    Fun Times.

  • redwhitedude

    No I wasn’t. If another woman gets in the way his wife could fall out of favor and “disappear”.

  • redwhitedude

    It looks like whacked out celebs are the only way the US can communicate with KJU directly.

  • Sumo294

    Hahaha . . . you made me spew coffee all over my keyboard. The funniest comment I have read in a long time.

  • wangkon936

    “…looks like a Unicorn threw up on it.”

    Can I like, trademark that?

  • bigmamat

    Sure why not.

  • wangkon936

    Dug a little bit. I think it safe to say that the expression is in the public domain… 😉

  • A Korean

    That’s a Korean unicorn. You can tell by the surgery marks on the horn.

  • bigmamat

    I was going to say I’d probably heard it somewhere before.

  • bigmamat

    It’s not Korean the puke’s not red…

  • A Korean

    What are you, an expert on unicorn puke?

  • dlbarch

    “Color”? No, that would be 컬러 or 칼라.

    I’d guess that it reads 컬레, but that, too, would be a misspelling of 켤레 (a pair of), as in 양말 한 켤레, 장갑 한 켤레, or 신발 두 켤레.

    Pretty elementary stuff (cue Gerry Bevers), but gawd knows the Japanese are known for bastardizing foreign languages on cheap clothing! Walk down any side street in Harajuku and one’s likely to be pelted with one linguistic fashion disaster after another.

    DLB

  • redwhitedude

    Looking at it again. It looks like part of a circus clown outfit or somebody’s really garrish pajama.

    Lady Gaga’s latest in fashion eye sore.

  • bigmamat

    No but I have seen pictures of Korean puke and it’s usually red.

  • wangkon936

    No. It’s a hipster unicorn. Note the empty bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon. If it was a Korean unicorn there would be empty soju bottles around it.

  • bigmamat

    I suppose for Japan it’s fits well. She’s rocking the Ringu wig, a pair of puff balls and chunky platforms that look like marine floats. She’s all set to blend, too bad about the Hangul.

  • A Korean

    What the … hipsters drink PBR now?

  • bigmamat

    OH hell yeah…everything old is new again.

  • wangkon936

    Uh, I had 컬러, did I not?

    “On her Instagram account Lady Gaga posted a few pictures of her walking around Tokyo with an outfit that had, gasp, hangul written on it- 컬러.”

    Open the Kotaku link. There are a few more pictures of it. It is in fact 컬러.

  • A Korean

    They’ll be bringing back zima next.

  • wangkon936

    My old man loved PBR. Therefore he must have been one of the original hipsters… 😉

  • redwhitedude

    Yea, that harajuku fashion. Reminds me of Gwen Stefani and the Harajuku girls.

  • dlbarch

    No, it’s 컬레, but whatever.

    DLB

  • bigmamat

    Yeah that went over like a lead balloon. Don’t you know white people aren’t supposed to like other people’s weird cultural shit, it’s appropriation.

  • bigmamat

    God I hope not. I did used to buy those pallets of Rolling Rock, and pony Millers.

  • A Korean

    I thought it says 걸래, worn-out rags to wipe the floor or whatever needs wiping. Also a versatile figure-of-speech.

  • Bob Bobbs

    The Koreans and Japanese concerned about this ought to calm down. It is a totally inoffensive word in another language. A word. If I threw a fit every time somebody wore a t-shirt with something strange written on it in English, I’d never get anything done. Here’s looking at you, D-Squared F CKING FREEZING and this illiterate at Incheon Airport:

  • Bob Bobbs

    The Konglish word for “colour” and the flag of the Imperial Japanese military are not the same thing.

  • bumfromkorea

    It would be hilarious if it turned out that the clothing actually had a Japanese origin.

  • bumfromkorea

    Ironically.

  • bigmamat

    Yeah I get that…I didn’t say it was…

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    PBR and Rolling Rock were good cheap beers. Ice cold they tasted fine – smooth with a bit of taste.

  • Wedge1

    Damn, even Limey is on that shirt. The horror, the horror.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Ideally, that would be nice. But you can’t expect an artist to brush up on the history and sensitivities of 30 different countries while on tour. I’m sure Lady Gaga doesn’t want to spend her limited leisure time getting lectured about Dokdo and Yasukuni. How many people (pop stars included) know about the history of the Sudetenland or know who Reinhard Heydrich was?

    Furthermore, the writing on her shirt isn’t the slightest bit offensive.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    That’s the worst I’ve seen. I really don’t understand the appeal of random English words on clothing.

  • Sumo294

    It does not matter, Japan is finished. They try to stimulate their economy by increasing taxes. http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2993481&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist2 Then they want to increase taxes to stimulate the economy again. What Japan needs to do is get rid of their wonderful amazing and educated economists from America. They need to cut taxes and trim off their lazy socialist unionized workers.

  • Lliane

    It just proves you can find literaly anything at Don Quijote

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    That would be 걸레. not 래. Also, I think one of your other comments to me got the ㅔ.ㅐ mixed up = “막쓰시네” not 내.
    I think it says 컬러풀, if you look at the other photo it definitely has a third syllable which is hard to make out. On the main picture posted here the third one somehow got folded up and looks like what DLBarch is saying 컬레.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    ㅋ is identical to the Japanese katakana “wo”
    Idiots.

    Foreigners mixing up languages on their Tshirts and tattooing nonsense Hanja/Kanji characters should be forgiven as ‘subculture’ just as these are:

    http://gawker.com/5874304/japanese-department-store-may-want-to-look-up-the-word-fucking

    I’ve seen Germany also has quite a few “f” word on Tshirts worn by innocuous looking kids.

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Korea faces a much worse fate than Japan. I’ll be 60 around then, and will have made all my money, but man, I would not want to be a 20 year-old Korean in 2030.

  • bigmamat

    I don’t think so either but it’s the internet and nobody gets a pass here. She should know a little something about something. She’s been looking at Asian entertainers, she had a Korean girl group open for her. She’s no dummy she just underestimated the assholes on the net.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I think this is one of those news that is not actually big news in the actual respective countries, but through blogs like these might be “made into a big news”.
    I hate it.
    I hate 설레발 news.
    I hate how Japan says how Korea says how Japan says news. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill of groundless national animosity.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I saw her on SMAP Bistro program on Japanese TV not so long ago.
    She brought her dad who has an Italian restaurant with her on the show and she was doing the right thing with the Japanese as a Western celebrity, as far as doing the right thing with the Japanese as a Western celebrity go. Not *too much* into the culture, knows not enough Japanese words, and keeps her distance, just a smidgen above the rest.

    The Japanese have an ambivalent feeling with people who are too much into their (otaku) culture, including the gaijins.

  • Sumo294

    You know something . . . please tell me what’s up.

  • dayvmattt

    I saw a Korean with a tattoo in FRENCH!!!!!! Why does he hate Hangul so much!?!?!

  • redwhitedude

    Yikes! Imagine walking around the US with that. She’d probably manage to offend everybody.

  • redwhitedude

    Less working age people and more retirees to support. That is what’s up. Granted Japan is going to get there sooner because it is demographically further along than Korea. Korea however still has time to avoid the fate that Japan is headed in, such as immigration reform(funny it sounds like I am talking about the US with such term). But unlike the US this is for demographic viability reasons as opposed criminality which is a higher priority concern in the US.

  • redwhitedude

    Yeah, I see african americans and caucasian with chinese characters tatooed. Not something worth making a fuss about.

  • A Korean

    But 걸래 is definitely what she has on.

  • A Korean

    Us Koreans have come a long way. Now foreigners can finger us by the color of our puke.

  • A Korean

    Scanning top to bottom, this thread has got some real whack pics.

    Well done, wankgoon.

  • bigmamat

    I think it’s hilarious the rants I see online and in the mainstream media about “cultural appropriation”. Pop culture by it’s very nature is meant to be shared. I think it’s hilarious that the Japanese would be “ambivalent” about their otaku culture considering so much of it is modeled on western cultural memes.

  • bigmamat

    OH give me a break. We’re just having a laugh over this shit no need to get uppity. I can’t tell my own family apart most of the time.

  • redwhitedude

    Any picture of lady gaga is a whack of a picture.

  • kaizenmx

    Where is the weeaboo defense force?

  • A Korean

    Girlfriend, you’re being tad too sensitive.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I don’t think it’s one of those (random English words)
    I think she is more likely a Korean(-American) hipster/artist or something, knowingly wanting to bring up issues.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Haha, an independence day arrival !!

    Even if somebody gave her a 태극기 that picture is v. funny.

    http://media.daum.net/entertain/photo/gallery/?gid=100527#20140815223807864

  • redwhitedude

    Yuck!

  • pawikirogii

    speaking of pop, microsoft uses kpop song in us ad. take that, anon joe!

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/6214538/microsoft-commercial-2ne1-i-am-the-best-k-pop-ad-apple

  • wangkon936
  • dlbarch

    No, Yuna was right. It’s actually 컬러풀.

    DLB

  • Kommunity

    It doesn’t take much for the netizens to go ape shit. Klowns.

  • Kommunity

    South Korea desperately needs child psychologists. Well, hell, they need all kinds of psychologists here, but children’s most of all. In Korea, however, your medical history – including mental health – isn’t exactly private, you know, like the most basic levels of privacy you would expect from a modern country. The stigma attached to any mental health treatment is that one is “crazy”, which translates into “unmarriageable and unemployable”. This flies in the face of centuries of research and modern knowledge (nothing new there), but Klown wants to be super different. Of course. Unless they need to build something or sell something, in which case they are happy to copy.

    I honestly think that child psychology could be a multi-billion dollar business in Korea. Trouble is that you’d need to package it as either some sort of competitive advantage or something that boosts status because simply wanting to promote happiness and well-being sure as fuck isn’t enough. My feeling is that the key to making this badly, badly needed service industry marketable would be to brand it as “educational”. Don’t say you’re looking for autism spectrum disorders. Don’t call the child “developmentally delayed” or “behaviorally challenged”. No, say you are going to develop “Special Education Plans” that will help unlock a Korean child’s potential. Use all the wealth of knowledge and materials – from countries that aren’t socially stuck in the 1700s – that have been developed to help integrate learning disabled, developmentally delayed, behaviorally challenged or mentally deficient kids into mainstream society… just rebrand it as education and competitive edge. Please. It’s about the only thing that might save this place.

    It’s sad that such a thing should even be necessary, but after 8 years here working with kids and their parents, unsurprising. Klown Kulture is dehumanizing. There is a lot ofscream-talking about how valuable children and family are, but in the end it’s all complete bullshit. There is no genuine interest in the happiness or social success of kids. I’ve never heard of an American-born American kid killing him or herself over getting a less than perfect SAT score. I mean, I’m sure it happens, but I can’t recall reading about it or hearing about it. Ever. And I think something like that would make the news. Here it is so commonplace that it isn’t even shocking or news-worthy anymore. Little Su-min jumped off the roof of her filthy, cigarette-butt-and-phlegm-speckled Soviet-style apartment building because she couldn’t meet mommy’s expectation to be in the top 0.01% of students – crocodile tears a la Sewol crew will follow and never will it be thought that such a destruction of psyche takes years upon years to accomplish, that the animal instinct for self-preservation is so difficult to overcome that little Su-min must have been enduring psychological torture for YEARS before finally ending it all on the rancid, unwashed, feces-scented streets of Seoul.

    I don’t know why anyone would expect anything else. Children here aren’t children, they are reduced to numbers and dehumanized in a way that goes far, far beyond the global dehumanization and enumeration as part and parcel of the digital age; they are dehumanized in a way that is wholly unnecessary and cruel. Students are regarded as devoid of talent, personality, aspirations or creativity and basically anything that might make them future leaders and architects of the next generation of global economy. They are only test scores and certificates. Only cursory lip service at the elementary school level is paid to anything else, but once that kid hits 12…

  • Aja Aja

    Why do you even care so much? I also agree with you. But I would like to add, Korea should also shut down all the ESL schools and stop hiring too many mentally unstable angry ESL teachers who should not be allowed to be around kids. But then again, that problem could solve itself naturally since the number of children are quickly shrinking each year.

  • Aja Aja

    You should actually read the article before going ape-shit.

  • bigmamat

    Do you know who the most exploited, terrorized and abused group of people in the world are, next to women that is, children. You’ve been living in Seoul for 8 years and have seen up close and personally the results of a soul sucking society that reduces people beginning in childhood to nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet. Welcome to real world honey. It’s a brutal competitive place. Did it take you 8 whole years to figure out that this species eats it’s young? Were you living in a bubble before you migrated to Korea? What was it about Korea that opened your eyes? Where is this magical place that you came from where all children are nurtured and treasured as unique and special? I don’t really need to go there since I’m pretty much finished fucking my kids up, but I know a few people who might be interested. Come on spill, can we get there by plane, boat, train? Please don’t tell me this rainbow and glitter filled place is only a figment of your imagination.

  • Aleksej Klimov

    Lady Gaga is just too stupid to understand the difference between Japan and Korean, let alone the two languages. She couldn’t care less, to her it is all the same: funny Asian script. Pretty daft creature, this girl.

  • redwhitedude

    Lady Gaga could care less. She wears what she wants to wear.

  • bumfromkorea

    This idiot is just copy and pasting the latest vitriol from that “Haha, look at these fucking Klowns” blog.

    Again, I must admit that expathell served an important function – when the landfill gets closed up, it’s the normal people’s streets that will start to stink with trashes.

  • bumfromkorea

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSIvDrHQUWY

    It’s a village in Utah, where the roofs are thatched with gold.

  • bigmamat

    WTF….follow that white boy….my life won’t be so shitty…lmao

  • redwhitedude

    Microsoft is trying to sell more of their tablet with Kpop. lol

  • RElgin

    Yep.
    It is from the same IP address as well. I left it there for Robert to read. Moderation is important on today’s internet:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/technology/web-trolls-winning-as-incivility-increases.html

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    What’s pathetic is that he feels the need to share his pseudo-anger with complete strangers. He’s not content just drinking away his frustration at home or writing a hate blog so that people can voluntarily absorb his enlightened wisdom. No, he needs to come on here under a cowardly variety of names and anonymously dump it on MH readers.

    There are serious issues with pressure on children in Korea. All Koreans are well aware of this. If it bothers him so much (as it should), he should constructively and positively work toward change. But some people would rather bitch than work.

  • Aleksej Klimov

    Likely she wears whatever makes the best picture or causes the best effect.

  • pawikirogii

    as soon as i started reading this book, i knew right away it was the clown guy.

  • A Korean

    That “lady” ain’t stupid. She’s got, I think, a degree from NYU, and has managed to build a lasting career in the notoriously fickle pop music industry, writing her own materials – probably way more impressive than what you can say for yourself.

    She has toured a good bit in Asia region, I think I read, and probably has some hazy inkling of various issues/tensions among the countries there.

    It cracks me up that I am defending Lady Gaga to a random intarweb stranger.

  • Aleksej Klimov

    But then you do not know how impressive I am. 😉 We should not be too much impressed by NYU degrees and the like. College education is pretty overrated anyway.

  • A Korean

    Nah, I already know.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Images of Crayon Pop give me the willies. Those helmets suggest these kids have some form of autistic hand banging disorder.

  • kpopwillneverstop

    That awkward moment when you see “chink” on the shirt and you look back at the person who is wearing the shirt…..

    Yeah, I don’t think she has any idea what any of those words on there mean and if she does, then that just makes me even more ashamed to see this picture.

  • wangkon936

    Ah, she was right. I see it now. The 풀 is in a smaller font than the rest of the text.

  • ExpatBateman

    Down with the Klowns!

    Koreans, go back to Korea. And when you’re back, go back to it even more.

  • ChuckRamone

    I don’t think asking Westerners to learn the most basic things about East Asia is being unreasonable. Most of the world learns English, the basic differences between Germans, French, English, etc., participates in the capitalist economy, consumes Western pop culture, etc. Asians are the most numerous people on the Earth – the level of ignorance of Asian culture among Westerners is woeful.

  • wangkon936

    It has been deemed in this blog that the term “Klowns” constitutes racist speech. I will give you 24 hours to alter the comment or face its deletion.

  • wangkon936

    The term “Klowns” constitutes racist speech. I will give you 24 hours to alter the comment or face its deletion.

  • wangkon936

    Again, I will give you 24 hours to alter the comment for the term in question or face the comment’s deletion.

  • Judith Mopalia

    Good one, thanks for the laugh,