Via Japan Probe:
Two Japanese men in ANA uniforms are discussing the new possibilities of international travel that ANA is offering. One of them says, “Let’s change the image of Japanese people.” And then we get the supposedly humorous ending. One of the Japanese guys is suddenly wearing a blonde wig and a big rubber nose.
The makers of this commercial obviously intended it for a Japanese audience. The thought probably never crossed their mind that some people, especially foreigners, are highly un-amused by this kind of racial humor. But the end result is crude racial humor: har har har, he’s got a huge nose like a gaijin!
And of course ANA pulls the, “Oh, we didn’t realize non-Japanese would see it!” It’s in English, what the hell were you expecting?
Read the full article and see the commercial on Japan Probe.
Two Three points:
1. The commercial should have ended in a hug. Hugs, not racism.
2. Notice the subtitles are in proper Japanese. If these guys were non-Japanese, I guarantee you their subs would be in katakana.
Addendum: 3. Also, why would you make a commercial about international travel that light-heartedly brings up some cultural differences about Japan (not wanting to hug because “I am Japanese”), then say, “Let’s change the image of Japanese people”–something that I’d venture most people involved with cross-cultural research and activities want to do to show that Japanese culture and people are more complex than they are typically portrayed in outside media–and then pull this gross “gaijin“* stereotype? In short: let’s create a more positive image of Japanese people and sell flights to international travelers with racism. Good job, ANA, that’s a killer business strategy.
Also: an update released across multiple news platforms via Tokyo AFP tells us that ANA is sorry, but maybe won’t pull those commercials. Also, seriously, Tokyo AFP author, knock off the scare quotes and remember that Japan’s relative lack of racial diversity is not an excuse, especially when this keeps happening. Or, did you mean that ANA is “sorry” about the actually racist commercial?
HATE that word, but that’s what this is.