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Hugh Jackman stars, sings J-pop cover, and speaks Japanese in ads for Toyota

By Casey Baseel

When you get to be as big a company as Toyota, you can afford to go out and get A-list talent for your commercials. Over the last few years, the automaker’s created a series of ads starring boy band SMAP’s Takuya Kimura and film icon Beat Takeshi.

In the commercials, collectively known as ReBORN, Kimura and Takeshi play historical figures Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, reincarnated in modern Japan. The latest installment even has a special guest star as Hugh Jackman, Wolverine himself, shows up to help spread the word about Toyota’s newest eco-friendly cars.

Jackman actually appears in two Toyota ads. In the more straightforward of the two, he drives along the coast in a hybrid Crown sedan, sings an English version of J-pop vocal group Greeeen’s “Kiseki,” and really doesn’t do a whole lot else.

On the other hand, the actor’s work in the 18th ReBORN commercial is a little more surreal. Titled Ferry Chapter, and viewable here on Toyota’s website, it opens with the reborn samurai Nobunaga and Hideyoshi reminiscing on their experiences trading with European merchants in the 16th century.

“In those days, we were overwhelmed by the technology and production of the rest of the world, and how they had things like guns and cakes,” recalls Hideyoshi.

Nobunaga thinks Japan may have reached a turning point, though. “Japan can become a world leader in hydrogen technology,” he points out, before going on to talk about a new car from Toyota that produces only water as a byproduct of its operation.

“It’s called the Mirai,” Nobunaga explains, which is also the Japanese word for “future.” “The name’s a little on the nose,” he admits as footage is shown of the car, which Toyota expects to have ready for market next March.

“Japan, which has few natural resources, can develop a hydrogen society for the future of the planet,” Nobunaga declares. “Doesn’t that sound great?” he asks. Before his companion can answer, though, their conversation is interrupted by some very thickly accented Japanese coming from a very famous face.

“That’s the golden country, Jipangu, for you!” the sea captain exclaims, using the name for the country which Japan thinks used to be much more in vogue among non-Japanese speakers than it really was.

Startled by the newcomer’s sudden appearance, Hideyoshi asks Nobunaga if the seafarer is an acquaintance of his. “Nope,” he responds, and as Jackman continues watching them while they climb into their Prius, Hideyoshi implores the other samurai, “Let’s get out of here, quick!”

It’s an unusual, off-beat ending to the encounter, even by Japanese commercial standards. In the ad’s final moments, the samurai decide to head for a skyscraper in the distance. The camera doesn’t show us the next stop on Jackman’s voyage, but if we had to guess, our money would be on a repeat visit to the port of Tomonoura, the town where Wolverine fell in love.

Source: Japaaan

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Surreal samurai art exhibition mixes the historical with the bizarre -- Toyota’s official anime itasha car finds a home -- Japanese nerds pick the feudal warlord they’d most like to be their boss

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I can see going forward screaming Japanese women, young and old, greeting Mr.Jackman at the airport.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Isn't that last summer's news?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I opened this to comment here. I never read the article.. Who truly cares? Surely there are more important news in this world.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Surely a Toyota Wolverine can't be far away?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great ad. another example of foreign stars making out like bandits advertising in Japan. although to be fait Jackman has repeatedly expressed his affection for Japan and Japanese culture and will not be embarassed by the being in the ad.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

!Jackman actually appears in two Toyota ads. In the more straightforward of the two, he drives along the coast in a hybrid Crown sedan, sings an English version of J-pop vocal group Greeeen’s “Kiseki,” and really doesn’t do a whole lot else."

This ad really sucks. And the other one isn't all that much better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would appear the expression "A-list talent" has two meanings: the commonly-accepted one, which includes Mr Jackman, and the uniquely Japanese meaning, wherein Beat Takeshi and someone out of Smap are considered to be on a similar level.

Good work to Mr Jackman for taking the money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hollywood A-listers love to appear in Japanese commercials, in US commercials not so much.

Don Corleone: I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse. Just quotin'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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