The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has scored a victory with its exhibition "David Bowie is..." for elucidating what many have probably always suspected: David Bowie is a bit of a Japanophile.
From the kabuki-inspired costumes for Bowie's early 1970s alien stage character, the famed Ziggy Stardust, to a page of notes mentioning a Japanese restaurant and hotel as sets for Nicolas Roeg's 1976 film "The Man Who Fell to Earth," in which Bowie played the role of yet another alien named Jerome Newton, there is no shortage of evidence of Japanese associations in Bowie's artistry.
Having shared with the museum aspects of my research on the influence of Japonism on Bowie's stage costuming, and participated in the museum's Bowie Weekender of events in April as well as lecturing at the first Bowie Symposium last October at the University of Limerick in Ireland, I entered the V&A's exhibition space two months ago and came face to face with "Tokyo Pop Jumpsuit" designed by Kansai Yamamoto. The zig-zag-stitched Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit is a "tear-away" costume as is much kabuki theater wear. And this story of Bowie's "turning Japanese" continues throughout the exhibition.