Hip Hop and/as Martial Art

Nov 2, 2023 | Gems

In my fieldwork in Japan, my man Jase Ng took me to see the “Hip Hop City” Mural in Kawasaki–the diverse working class city on the outskirts of Tokyo.  There at the left of this epic monument to hip hop in Japan, the artist Dragon76 has connected hip hop to his own national roots — breaking and/as a martial art!  Just as hip hop’s polycultural ethos has incorporated martial arts into its very core (link), so too have Japanese artists made hip hop their own.  From griots to ninjas to cave painters… dig deep enough and you’ll find hip hop.

-Griff Rollefson and Jase Ng