Fake Chanel earrings; necklace by Agatha; corset top
“Cruel Summer” by D&G; pants by Indigo People
JUNKO "BASHMENT" KUDO WINS THE TITLE
In April 2002 a Japanese girl living in Tokyo was controversially crowned Jamaica’s official dancehall queen. VICE caught up with Junko in Kingston to see “what a gwan” with the Asian/Jamaican connection…
VICE: How you doing?
Junko: I’m good, a little bit tired as I was dancing last night, but I love it so I’ve no complaints.
How’s it feel to be the reigning dancehall queen?
Incredible, amazing. I never expected to win the competition so I see it as a great honor.
You’re based in Tokyo still, aren’t you?
I was, but I’ve been in Jamaica since December. I’ve been traveling the world performing at dancehall gigs, so I’m kind of based everywhere at the moment.
How many times had you been to the island before you won the competition?
How did you prepare for the competition?
I watched a lot of Jamaican videos and performed at sound-system events in Tokyo. When I was in Jamaica I watched the girls dance at Stone Love and Fire Links, so I knew what was required of me.
And what was that exactly?
Well, a combination of winding, gyrating, and set dance moves. A lot of tracks have specific dances to go with them, so it was important that I knew all of those.
How long have you been dancing?
I’ve been doing reggae dancing for only two years, but I did classical and contemporary ballet until I was 16.
There’s a bit of a difference between ballet and bashment. How did your folks react to your title win?
Well, I’ve reached the top of the genre of dancing I have chosen to perform in, so of course they are very proud. I used to be a hairdresser and beauty consultant so they are proud I managed to make the switch.
How do they feel about your outfits and, er, suggestive moves?
Well, it’s part of the culture and style so they have to accept it.
You must get a lot of hassle from guys when you’re at dances. How do you deal with them?
Oh many, many times I get hassled, but you know I just talk to them a little then make an excuse to go to the bathroom then don’t go back. Jamaican guys are very direct and straight to the point. Japanese guys tend to be quiet and reserved. They take time to build up to propositioning you, but Jamaican guys just steam straight in.
How do the Jamaican girls react to you?
Some say congratulations and they like the fact I won. Others say Junko could never wind like a ghetto girl, but I guarantee if they see me dance I can prove them wrong.
How do people react back in Tokyo to your success?
There are a lot of reggae sound systems in Japan, so they are ecstatic that I managed to win the competition in Jamaica. The sound is massive over there and a lot of young girls have started to copy my style. We have a Japanese version of reggae called Japa-reggae, and that is massive in my home country.
Where do you get your dancehall finery from? Your ensembles don’t look like your average Japanese garb…
I design them from a mixture of American streetwear and Jamaican ghettowear. I then have them specially made up for me.