The very reference, of any kind and either positive or negative, to another culture or ethnic group is now deemed 'racist' by many. Racism is quite simply being redefined - almost every day - by Leftist academics and activists.
Two people in the article used the same academic neologism: 'race appropriation'. This is just like 'Israeli apartheid' or 'neo-liberalism'. Words, and even whole theories (when they can manage it), are concocted by individual professors at various universities and then these words are filtered down to the people. After these bits of academic jargon are 'disseminated', they are often used without people knowing the arcane theories behind them and the fact that they are nearly always based on Marxist/post-strut/post-mod 'theory' - on academic bullshit.
Still, the simple use of a hip piece of political jargon, like 'race appropriation', makes political dimwits feel - and sometimes seem - clever. That's all it takes (as with a term like 'Zionist' when used critically). They are often nothing more than soundbites in the end. All one needs to do is to mouth the words. No independent thought or critical judgement is required by the word's user.
It's interesting that only non-Japanese have been critical. In fact Katy Perry's show actually includes Japanese actors or dancers.
As often happens, Leftists are discovering racism which even the 'victims' of that supposed racism didn't even register. In other words, what falls under the concept [racism] seems to become wider and wider every day. Thus the word has lost its meaning and its power - which, you'd assume, Leftists would think is a negative result.
It can't even be that choosing one aspect of a culture, Geishas, can be 'stereotypical', let alone racist. For a start, Geishas existed and they still exist. In addition, you must select some aspect of a culture to feature - so why not Geishas? If you select any culture to portray, you will, by definition, only select an aspect or aspects of that culture. So if you choose, say, the Welsh/Wales, you may well choose miners of Methodist chapels.
Unless Geishas are seen in strictly negative terms by these tin-pot 'race theorists'.
It may actually be their racism that's at the heart of all this. Katy Perry obviously sees Geishas in a positive way and many Japanese do too. So, as is often the case, the anti-racists featured in the article may actually be betraying their own racism. Just like the anti-sex Victorian moralists, and the 17 century sexual puritans, who were themselves sex-obsessed, these anti-racists are simply betraying their own racism and, to cancel out the guilt of their own racism, they project it into the minds and words of those multitudes whom they class as 'racist'.