Kirsten Dunst turns Japanese

Kirsten Dunst turns Japanese

Takashi Murakami enlists the young American actress to sing the famous Vapors' tune for his new short film, 'Akihabara Majokko Princess'
takashi murakami
In this promotional image, Takashi Murakami appears as a giant plush ball made of his flower characters while Kirsten Dunst does cosplay.

In late August, Kirsten Dunst was spotted on the Akihabara streets wearing a neon-blue wig in a lysergic take on the classic Japanese schoolgirl outfit. She appeared to be filming some kind of video with Hollywood director McG, but we knew very little about what this strange footage was intended for.

Turns out it was all a big art project.

As part of the "Pop Life" exhibition at London's Tate Gallery (now running through January 17, 2010) respected artist and business entrepreneur Takashi Murakami worked with Dunst and McG to create a four-minute film called "Akihabara Majokko Princess." According to Arrested Motion, the film shows Dunst running around the streets of Tokyo singing the 1980 Vapors' hit ode to masturbation "Turning Japanese."

In part due to his use of Japanese anime and otaku-culture elements within the context of the highly lucrative art-gallery world, the Japanese pop artist has been a key player in the emergence of so-called "Japan Cool" on the global pop-culture stage. But now with "Akihabara Majokko Princess," Murakami's art seems to be commenting directly on the West's embrace of Japanese pop.

Murakami sells his work almost exclusively to Western buyers. Throughout his career he has toed a thin line between embracing elite global patrons and playing off his success as a self-aware scheme to sell foreigners the version of Japan they want to see.

So with this video, is Murakami putting Dunst in cosplay as a respectful homage to the rise of non-Japanese otaku? Or is it just a big practical joke on the actress, laughing at her willingness to dress up and sing? We guess both.