After claiming to be partially Japanese, Gwen Stefani has received a tremendous amount of backlash on social media. She defended her purported Harajuku heritage to an Asian-American journalist while advertising her most recent vegan beauty line, GXVE Beauty, to Allure magazine.

After the 2014 release of Stefani’s debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby and her Harajuku Lovers fragrance, people began asking her about her Japanese influences and criticizing her for cultural appropriation.

Also Read | Pamela, a love story: Trailer, release date and all you need to know

The 53-year-old singer disclosed that her father used to work in Yamaha for 18 years and frequently traveled between California and Japan when asked about what she had learned about her alleged Harajuku ancestry.

She said, “That was my Japanese influence. And that was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic with so much attention to art and detail and discipline, and it was fascinating to me.”

Also Read | Did Adam Rich die of drug overdose? Eight Is Enough star’s cause of death explored

Stefani expressed her discomfort with the criticism she has received in the past for claiming Japanese ancestry. She continued by saying that “it should be okay to be inspired by other cultures,” and that if people are not drawing inspiration from various cultures, “then that’s dividing people, right?”

She also added in the interview: “I said, ‘my god, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.’ I am, you know.”

Also Read | ‘No evidence of cyberattack’ in FAA system outage, says White House

Stefani described herself as “a little bit of an Orange County girl, a little bit of Japanese girl, and a little bit of an English girl,” according to the journalist who conducted the interview. 

A spokesperson for the singer, however, made it clear that the journalist “misunderstood” what the singer was trying to express. They declined to give an on-the-record statement after that.

Also Read | Michelle Yeoh asks pianist Chloe Flower to ‘shut up’ during Golden Globes speech: Watch

Fullerton, California, is where Stefani was born. It is strange that the singer has found herself claiming the Harajuku heritage for herself as neither her parents nor Stefani have any Japanese ancestry in their bloodline.