Photo: Youtube/パンテーン公式 / PANTENE Japan Official

New Pantene commercial interviews Japanese trans individuals about difficulties of job hunting

By Ingrid Tsai, SoraNews24

From the same company that brought us the world’s first two-in-one conditioner and shampoo formula, and also questioned Japan’s strict rules on job hunting attire, a new commercial recently produced by Pantene has been making the rounds on social media.

Featuring an interview with two transgender individuals and their experiences job hunting in Japan, it is overall a poignant portrait and homage to gender identity as well as its nuances in modern-day Japanese society.

▼ You can check it out here, with English subtitles available.

The commercial is part of a campaign supporting LGBTQ+ individuals that has been ongoing since September 2020. Titled #PrideHair, the campaign was launched by Pantene after a study revealed that over 70 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals in Japan struggled when it came to finding employment.

When asked why, survey participants primarily mentioned “fear of discrimination and prejudice,” and a good portion of answers also cited “uncertainty of how to present one’s self in an interview.”

▼ The commercial features close-ups of members from the Japanese trans community.



For context, job seekers in Japan are expected to report their gender on resumes and also adhere to very specific attire that coincides with one’s reported gender. Resumes that ask an applicant’s gender generally only have two options: male and female. Not only does this put non-binary folks in a tough spot, but trans individuals must decide whether to report as their gender identity or to report as their sex assigned at birth, not to mention how to dress when it comes to interviews.

Furthermore, what adds even more anxiety to an already stressful process is the fact that some companies may also dismiss applicants during the screening process for failing to conform to the dress code expected of their reported gender.

▼ An example photo of the typical attire Japanese college graduates wear while looking for work.

Photo: Wikipedia/Dick Thomas

The responses from Japanese netizens on the commercial were mostly positive:

“I can’t word my feelings well, but all I can say is that this commercial moved me.”

“This is probably the first time I didn’t fast forward through a commercial.”

“From hereon, I’m using Pantene for sure!”

“This is such a lovely campaign to be part of.”

“It’s time we enter a new era.”

As we enter a new decade, let’s hope more companies make the transition to be more openly LGBTQ+ friendly, such as this Japanese company which removed the reporting of one’s gender altogether from their job application process.

Source: YouTube/パンテーン公式 / PANTENE Japan Official

Related: Pantene #PrideHair

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Pantene ad asks why people in Japan are forced to look the same when job hunting

-- No gender, photo, or first name – Japanese company makes major shakeup to job application forms

-- Tokyo women’s university will accept transgender students who identify as female, a Japan first

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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It's a shame this is on social media with its limited audience who will be actively choosing to watch it, and not on TV or cinema, where people will get it passively whether they like it or not.

Graduate recruitment in Japan seems to be an exercise in displaying ultra-conformity. Given how far artificial intelligence and robotics have come, you would think there would be even less need for people to be or look like something mass produced.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm old enough to remember Kelly 'Weird Science' LeBrock and the line

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

For some reason which I can't remember, I was just watching it on Youtube yesterday.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Try this ad in Taiwan and it may get a warmer reception, but not in Japan.

This article made it clear that it did get a warm reception.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Exactly, it's their problem. Since when did it become yours?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Although there are various global companies harking CSR, one huge end game is to sell more products, services, etc. it is a bit sad, but if you are a for-profit entity, it’s up there very high in terms of why the company exists.

I am always skeptical whether, at the end of the day, they just create these ads or alight to various social movements because there’s a buck to be made.

Similar to what @blue in green posted, I just want a good shampoo for a decent price.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another company showing support for minorities. Liking the trend these days tbh.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sex is not “assigned at birth”, your sex is observed and noted. I was not assigned female at birth, I am female. Gender is a social construct. Sex and gender are not the same thing, and it is disingenuous to conflate the two.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Another company buys into 'social justice'.

I don't care about it.

I don't care how you decide to wear your hair,

for whatever reason.

I don't care what plumbing you carry, and how you choose to

use it, at any time, place or event.

I just want a shampoo company to sell shampoo, nothing else.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan is already ultra-conservative and is becoming more conservative each passing year, bucking the global trend.

I would think that has something to do with the aging population and political polarization increasing within Japan, but I think if you look at what is trending with the younger generations, they are not becoming more conservative. Its quite the opposite. There is even growing anger and resentment among the younger generations. Still sad though because its going to take 20-30 years before we'll see any significant political change.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I don't understand why Pantene is doing this ad.

Japan is already ultra-conservative and is becoming more conservative each passing year, bucking the global trend.

Japan has a very rigid tradition-bound idea of what is to be male and female complete with different spoken languages for men and women, and Japanese society as whole won't accept any changes in gender roles, now or ever.

Try this ad in Taiwan and it may get a warmer reception, but not in Japan.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

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