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A Band Is Not a Nation

June 27, 1992

"Playboy Festival: For Men Only" (June 15) elicited two calls to the Media Watch Hotline operated by our organization, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, regarding Don Heckman's reference to the Japanese band T-Square: "The frenetic, fusion-based T-Square, allegedly Japan's most popular jazz unit, confirmed the Japanese genius for cloning anything that can be quantified."

MANAA's interpretation of this statement is that Heckman is perpetuating the oft-repeated stereotype that Japanese people, while able copycats, are incapable of originality.

We especially take issue with what underlies this statement: If in the opinion of the reviewer, this band is derivative or they merely copy what has preceded it, then so be it; this is a valid criticism. However, why is it necessary to saddle all Japanese with this criticism? This is ethnic stereotyping.

GEORGE JOHNSTON

MANAA, Santa Monica

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