That's Not My Name: Lord, It's The Samurai! Intervention

August 27, 2009

The ersatz site also recognizes the dangers of the exhibit's glamorization of violence, noting,

No myth here, and it hasn’t changed since the times of the samurai: it’s universal and real, how war dehumanizes everyone.
Aestheticizing violence, normalizing war.
The museum may not want you to see it, but there is blood on those swords.

The
faux-site also calls out the Asian Art Museum’s ongoing Asian fetish with its
hilarious tagline (Where Asian Still Means Oriental) and a fun little
word-scramble
that mixes up past titles from Asian Art Museum exhibits to form an
amalgamation of exotic Asiaphilic fantasies.

The imitation site
also makes a cogent connection between the museum’s soft-peddling of
Japanese nationalism and the US government’s interest in
remilitarizing Japan, which would aid the US in maintaining the upper
hand in Asia. The faux-site also notes that it’s not the first time the
Asian Art Museum has backed up a superpower's questionable point of view, as seen in
Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World, the 2005 show that gave
credence to the PRC's claim that Tibet is really just the back door of
China.

All
told, this little fakey website is a fine, funny, and extremely
effective critique that packs in a copious number of links and
information. It’s a companion piece to hard-copy flyers that have been
distributed in public brochure racks in San Francisco's Japantown.
Someone upstairs at the Asian Art Museum must have twigged to the switch since, as
noted in the site
, the counterfeit flyers have been systematically
removed and replaced with the Asian Art Museum's own brochures almost as soon as
they've been distributed. The fake site's gmail address was also
disabled shortly after sending out its first email blast. If the
museum’s functionaries are so freaked out that they're furiously trying
to eradicate it, then I’d have to say that the intervention is working.


By guest contributor Valerie Soe, originally published at Beyond Asiaphilia.
Contributor: 

Melissa Hung

Founding Editor

Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She was the editor in chief for the magazine's first five years and went on to serve in many other leadership roles on the staff and board for more than a decade. She is a writer and freelance journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Pacific Standard, Longreads, and Catapult, among others. A native Texan, she lives in California. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Comments

Comments

Spokesperson for the spoofers was interviewed along with Valerie Soe on KPFA's Hard Knock Radio on Monday 9/14. It's available streaming online for a limited time (2 weeks), here:http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/54583(Show begins at 06:40 from start, after news headlines)
majime & valerie, you're awesome! the radio interview was educational and eloquent, really clarifying the issues about the one-dimensional, orientalist museum exhibit. keep up the great work! i hope more people pick up the issues about racism against asians and hold discussions across the nation. the museum's problems don't exist in a vacuum--corporate media, many other events & exhibits, and uninformed people exoticize, misrepresent, and dehumanize us. but this satirical piece of resistance shows that there is hope for change, that people are willing to listen when exposed to the truth strategically. thank you!