Anti-American Japanese song “American Spirit” by The High-Lows

The High-Lows are a now-defunct Japanese rock band whose sound mixes a tinge of American doo-wop with a mallet over the head dose of youth nostalgia. Though not a huge fan, I picked up one of their CDs back in the day after hearing that they were the successor band to the influential late 1980s J-punk band The Blue Hearts (“Linda Linda” remains one of my favorite songs).

Despite the clear US influences in his band’s music, guitarist/songwriter Masato Mashima felt like 2002 (runup to the Iraq war) was an appropriate time to let us know what he thinks about Americans in his fun piece of album filler entitled “American Spirit” from the album angel beetle. Here’s a translation (lyrics in Japanese available here as culled with some difficulty from

Crush the colored races/Make the rules so they benefit me
Don’t admit my mistakes/That’s the American Spirit

Kill Kill Kill John Wayne-style
You’re an impudent bunch for a colored race

Hey! You say you can’t obey me?!
Hey! Who do you think I am?!

American/I’m an American/I’m the World Champion, baby
American/I’m an American/Unlimited justice, baby

Beat up the badguys/I even went to the moon, you know!
Ain’t I cool? Ain’t I smart?

I don’t understand your sadness,
But please, understand my sadness