Well, isn’t this interesting. Japanese carrier Nippon Airlines is coming under fire for a new commercial that have some crying foul.
The ad features two English-speaking Japanese men discussing ways to make Nippon Air more competitive internationally. In addition to adding more flights to the West, one man tells the other, “Let’s change the image of Japanese people.” The second man responds, “Sure,” and is now wearing a blonde wig and a long, plastic nose.
According to the Daily Mail, Westerners are often thought of in Japan to have blonde hair and long noses—traits that are also seen as aesthetically pleasing in the Asian nation—but some say the ad is offensive.
Critics of the commercial took to the Nippon Airlines social media to express their disproval, many accusing the 30-second clip of being “racist” against Whites and foreigners.
One person Tweeted: “If you are a foreigner and have planned to come to #Japan do not choose an openly racist airline like #ANA! Watch their Japanese commercial.”
And another wrote on Facebook, “Thank you for your lovely ad saying that we in the west have big nose and blond hair, if you look at heathrow airport most of your youth seem to look like that with hair thats bleached i lived in japan and thought you were a good race of people your company is rasict saying we all look like this a reply would be nice.”
Everyone didn’t find the commercial to be offensive, though. Koosha Fathinejad attempted to explain the difference between racism and stereotypes on the Nippon Facebook page:
The ads were perfect, racism is when you discriminate and act negatively toward someone based on the view that certain race has a particular quality, trait, cultural characteristics.
Maximum it can be argued that this ad was a stereotype (that all foreigners have large noise, and brighter hair).
One shall know that racism and stereotypes are not the same (there are many literature on this).
Also, in marketing, exaggeration and humor are always used hand in hand, and you can not keep everyone happy;
Is it considered racist that almost everyone calls a country by it is Chinese name ? ( Japan instead of Nippon koku ?! )
Nippon Airlines spokesman Ryosei Nomura apologized for the commercial and insured viewers that it will be changed.
“We have received opinions different from the message that we wished to convey. We will modify part of the advertisement and will release the second version soon.”
Earlier, another Nippon Air spokesperson said:
“Nippon has received calls from customers, mostly foreigners, complaining about the ad. We apologized to each of the customers for having caused uncomfortable feelings and also thanked them for bringing up the issue. We have passed on the issue to the section in charge of the advertisement, but as of now we have yet to decide how to deal with the commercial.”
The commercial has been pulled from the air, but nothing ever disappears from the Internet. Check out the ad below and let us know what you think.