Wow, you don’t usually see pop music fetishizing Asian men as much as you do Asian women (Bowie’s “China Girl”, Gwen Stefani’s silent Harajuku army, Travie McCoy’s “Need You” Music vid etc. etc.), but ’80s Scottish singer Aneka — aka Mary Sandeman — could serve up the cringe with the best of them, as seen in her 1981 hit single “Japanese Boy” (which sold 5 million copies worldwide):
Aneka was definitely in keeping with the rich tradition of Yellowface: geisha outfits, china doll wigs (the wig-on-a-wig effect is giving us Nicki Minaj realness), and lots of random bowing and janky hand gestures.
Nice job Aneka, but where are all the ASIAN MEN? For an ode to a Japanese loverboy, their conspicuous absence shows that Aneka was more interested in a self-indulgent fantasy costume party than trotting out a bunch of half-nekkid Asian mens in sumo suits (almost a pity, that).
Also, I’m having some trouble making out the deeply incisive lyrics about transnationalism and interracial relations….I don’t know if that’s because Aneka’s supplementing her “singing” with some fakey Japanese accent, if it’s her real Scottish accent, or just ’80s production quality.
Apparently, after her brief stint in the ’80s, Aneka retired from dance pop to sing traditional Scottish music. Yeah, best to kowtow your way out of this Rogers & Hammerstein fuckery and stick with what you know, Aneka-san.