I get as much of a chuckle as anyone else over spectacular linguistic screw-ups, and one of my favorites is when I come across a product or movie background with Japanese kanji characters that are written backwards. Of course, sometimes Japan’s attempts at using English are pretty far off the mark too, and at first that might look like what’s happening with Rohto Pharmaceutical’s Skin Aqua sunblock.
Sure, the tube is decorated with a silhouette of Disney’s Alice (of in Wonderland fame), but the more eye-catching thing is that the English text on the container is completely backwards.
But what’s weird is that the tube comes packaged in a plastic wrapper, and on the wrapper “Skin Aqua” is written correctly. So what’s going on? Is this the UV-blocking industry’s equivalent to the Inverted Jenny, the printing mistake-turned-collector’s stamp with the upside down plane whose name I had to look up? Should you go out and buy as many tubes of Skin Aqua as you can find, then quit your job, knowing that you’ve secured your financial security by acquiring assets that are guaranteed to go up in value?
Probably not. See, while the printing on the Skin Aqua is backwards, that’s by design. Skin Aqua’s Tone Up UV Essence, as this particular variety is called, doubles as a cosmetic product, with a pearlescent ingredient that leaves the skin looking clean and shiny. Because of that, it’s become a hit with young Japanese women, and since that’s a demographic that loves to snap and share selfies, Rohto purposely printed the text on the tube backwards so that it’ll be readable when you point your camera at yourself in the mirror and take a photo to share on social media.
The mirror-image writing is also evocative of the through-the-looking-glass start to Alice’s adventures, but the primary goal is to make it easier for Japanese women to show off their well-maintained skin and the product behind. You could say that’s kind of vain, in which case you’ll be happy to know that the backwards-English Skin Aqua is a limited-quantity deal, and in any case, anything that makes people more conscious of the importance of properly protecting their skin from the health-damaging effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays is probably a good thing.
Source: Rohto via IT Media
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