Japanese-themed cocktail bar is accused of ‘cultural appropriation’

Labour MP slams Japanese-themed cocktail bar for ‘cultural appropriation’ after it used white women dressed as geisha girls for its opening night just days after Jaime Oliver jerk chicken row

  • Labour MP Rosie Duffield has accused the Tokyo Tea Rooms in Kent of being culturally insensitive 
  • She praised students who boycotted the bar after they claimed it is ‘disgusting and offensive’
  • The row comes after Labour frontbencher Dawn Butler accused Jamie Oliver of cultural appropriation over his ‘Punchy Jerk Rice’ dish last week 

A Labour MP waded into a row over a Japanese-themed cocktail bar after it was accused of ‘cultural appropriation’.

Rosie Duffield accused the Tokyo Tea Rooms, in Canterbury, Kent, of being culturally insensitive after white women dressed as geisha girls in kimonos at it’s opening night.

The Labour MP for Canterbury also praised students who boycotted the bar after they claimed it is ‘disgusting and offensive’.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield has accused the Tokyo Tea Rooms in Kent of being culturally insensitive

She praised students who boycotted the bar they branded ‘disgusting and offensive’

Tokyo Tea Rooms had white women dressed as geisha girls in kimonos at it’s opening night

She wrote on Facebook: ‘I was disappointed to see that Canterbury’s latest venue, Tokyo Tea Rooms took such a culturally insensitive approach on their opening night last weekend.

‘Guests were welcomed into the Japanese-themed nightclub by white hosts wearing kimonos and geisha-style makeup.

‘By doing this, Tokyo Tearooms owners crossed the line from cultural appreciation to cultural appropriation. I’m disappointed that certain Canterbury City Councillors took part in the evening without calling out this error.

‘I’m really pleased to see Student representatives from Kent Union and Canterbury Christ Church University have spoken out against the nightclub and discouraged students from attending.’


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The row comes after Labour frontbencher Dawn Butler accused Jamie Oliver of cultural appropriation over his ‘Punchy Jerk Rice’ dish last week.

Easily-offended students have started a campaign to boycott the Tokyo Tea Rooms bar.

Vice-president of welfare Omolade Adedapo of Kent Students’ Union said it was ‘uncalled for’ and a ‘mockery and festishization’ of Japanese culture.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President of activities Sasha Langeveldt, labelled the venue ‘disgusting, ignorant and offensive’.

Matthew Jones-Roberts, manager of the Tokyo Tea Rooms bar, said the jibes are starting to feel ‘like a personal attack’.

He said: ‘We are a small local business. Some people have brought to our attention in a calm and private way explaining why they thought the geishas were inappropriate.

He added: ‘I don’t think the theme of the bar is an issue. There’s a real ethos behind the venue of cultural appreciation.

‘We really looked into it and the culture is so interesting and rich. We wanted to bring something new to the City of Canterbury.

‘There are other themed restaurants and bars all across Canterbury. None of our managing team are from Japan but there are lots of places that don’t have people from that particular country working there.

‘People are entitled to their opinion. But it’s a new business, something we have worked really hard on. All the feedback we have had so far is that the business is a breath of fresh air.’ 

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