national

ANA pulls TV ad after online furor

79 Comments
By Elaine Lies

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

79 Comments
Login to comment

More than anything the ad is just a display of how lacking in creativity, originality and humor the Japanese can be... Pretty ironic considering the intent was to "change the image of the Japanese" and the entire punchline of the multi-million dollar ad campaign was merely a rehashing of an age-old gag that's been done countless times before... Yes indeed, completely in line with the image of the Japanese...

15 ( +20 / -6 )

Great! Way to go community!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

“Let’s change the image of Japanese!”

Except, as I said, ironically, you just reinforced it.

17 ( +27 / -11 )

She said the wig and the fake nose were intended to show Japanese becoming more accepted overseas, adding the airline did not intend to discriminate against anybody.

So, let me get this straight, you intended to show Japanese becoming more accepted overseas by making people from overseas look like clowns.

Interestingly, there was an ad for a product on TV last night in which the Japanese actress had on a blonde wig, big plastic nose and spoke in broken Japanese. So, this might be a sad trend in commercials.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Such a dumb ad. The Japanese are so inherently racist, even after 20years in this country it still never ceases to surprise.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

It is just so sad that the powers that be haven't got a clue. This ad was just pathetic.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

She said the wig and the fake nose were intended to show Japanese becoming more accepted overseas

The ad did not offend me so I let the offended group speak for themselves since I am not really able to represent them, but I don’t really buy this. If you wanted to make Japanese look more “accepted” overseas, show them in overseas locations behaving “normally” (relative to each location).

Have them shaking hands instead of bowing. Watching the superbowl or actually bowling. Watching rugby and downing a pint.

You can never generalize a whole group of people correctly (I am American, don’t drink, never watched a football game in my life, etc.) but aiming for cultural traits rather than physical traits is just a lot safer.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

The ad just gets funnier everytime I watch it. Don't understand why anyone would be upset.

-13 ( +10 / -22 )

Are they gonna remove the posters off the trains too? The Japanese are the first ones to jump up and down and cry foul at the slightest hint of of Japanese stereotyping and then they go pull a stunt like this. Pathetic!

17 ( +21 / -6 )

Haha. I see, but it was acceptable for American and European Media up until the mid 2000's to stereotype Asians with yellow skin, slit eyes and wok hats,was it?? Or let alone some of the appalling ads I can remember in the UK for Indian food! This ad is nowhere as offensive as any of that!

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

The Japanese are the first ones to jump up and down and cry foul at the slightest hint of of Japanese stereotyping and then they go pull a stunt like this. Pathetic!

If you'll notice, not all foreigners are in agreement that the commercial was in bad taste. Not all Japanese 'jump up and down and cry foul' when the reverse happens either. In fact, it's likely that the ones who created the commercial are not the ones who would do what you accuse in the reverse situation. It just happens that the people who are the loudest are the ones who are most heard. That doesn't mean that every Japanese/foreigner feels exactly the same way.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Not racist, just funny.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

@theResident

Are you saying that up stereotypes up until the mid 2000s should have been unaceptable? If so, I agree with you. What was wrong in the past was wrong. And it's still wrong today.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The people getting all worked up over this, you need a damn job. This was petty to say the least.

-10 ( +6 / -15 )

I'll miss it - it was fun.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@max: No - I thought they were funny and still do, as much as I think the ANA commercial is funny. When did everything become so PC?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

The response from ANA to the criticism was not well thought out. (Expressing the desire to be accepted internationally - clearly, this did not work.) Either that, or it is a bare-faced lie, and the intention was always to reinforce difference and suprficial acceptance. Whichever, the ad was a non-starter, in my opinion. The subject matter is reasonably serious, so go with real situations (as suggested here by others). If the ad makers want to be more playful with a serious subject, then at least make it clever or cool. As it is, ANA is now a laughing stock.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@theResident

I've always been fine with people enjoying what they find funny. And I don't expect everyone to agree. But in the public domain, we should exercise caution in how we present things. It's not so much political correctness as it is respect for others.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

“Our intention was to show Japanese becoming more active and essential to the world.”

How exactly was that crappy advert supposed to convey that??

She said the wig and the fake nose were intended to show Japanese becoming more accepted overseas, adding the airline did not intend to discriminate against anybody.

More accepted by wearing a fake nose and blonde wig?

So, let me get this straight, you intended to show Japanese becoming more accepted overseas by making people from overseas look like clowns.

@Slumdog

No, It makes the Japanese look like clowns.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I funny to see the double standards of some americans. Imagine if the Mexicans complain about stereotypes, how many advertisements of caucasians wearing mexican hat, mustache and eating taco or wearing a lucha mask, can you see in a daily basis? Not mentioning middle eastern stereotypes used in many ads. Come on, drop the double standards.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Could've been worse, they could've shown "Mr James" returning to Japan. I've never been a violent person, but exceptions could've been made for that guy...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The ad was remarkably dumb, but I still struggle to find it offensive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I find that Coco Juku "international wedding" ad worse. What is it implying - if you learn English you can "steal" the girl from the foreign boyfriend?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The world is getting so the smallest thing causes offence to some people and apologies and recriminations ensue. There is always some outraged blogger or tweeter ready to take up arms for their offended sensibilities. This ad was dumb and reflective of Japanese views of foreigners (only need to see how our foreign tarentos are treated on J-TV) but I think calling it racist is a bit much.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The tagline was ok, the execution was a bit Japan only focused. Welcome to international Marketing ANA.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No, It makes the Japanese look like clowns.

I agree. It also manages to give the impression that Japanese people think people from foreign countries are clowns.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The thing is, I see loads of stupid semi-racist ads like this daily here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Grow up people, so tired of this PC world of ours.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

so tired of this PC world of ours.

That's what people say right up until their own sensibilities are affronted. There's PC and then there is common sense. It is the lack of the latter in this ad that was the problem. I mean, there is absolutely nothing redeeming in this commercial. Not a one.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

in a vacuum this ad isnt offensive. when the blonde hair and big nose increase police attention, limit your job opportunities and housing options, then it can be seen as offensive. i can understand the "no harm no foul" point of view expressed here but to me its just more of the "us and them, insider outsider" garbage. i do wonder though, why this ad received so much attention when this has been gonig on for so long in much more offensive commercials. like this one from last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2zpJ9yNf9o

7 ( +8 / -1 )

80393,

The ad I saw last night was from that series! I was so fixated on the nose and wig I could not for the life of me remember what the ad was for.

Sadly, I see a trend developing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What furor/ It was in bad taste and offensive, more for some than others. Don't understand why ANA tried to be funny? People usually want their pilots to be serious. Making fun of physical features is a dangerous thing to do unless you are making fun of your own group.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The commercial shows Japanese making fun of ourselves. Some of the posts I've seen about this commercial are as immature as the commercial.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I lol'd at the amount of people jumped on the bandwagon...Good chance to "relieve" stress online right? And also it's fun to give out Good+ and Bad- right?

Seriously, have a good laugh about it and move on...

200+ comments on a small ANA topic. 4 real?

There must be better things to do than that right??

Go watch some gold stock or something... It's going back up.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Not that bad, but I don't think I'd entrust my life to aircraft operated by a company that can't even run an ad campaign without shooting itself in the foot.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@elbuda Mexicano dude please read your post you are all over this issue one post you support the cm the next you are against it. Very contradicting as always. Again what side of the fence are you on?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Slamdunk

200+ comments on a small ANA topic. 4 real?

Yes, because us white people are so persecuted against. Can you believe that some people don't even sit next to me on the train? I can't bear this terrible racism any longer :-)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I funny to see the double standards of some americans. Imagine if the Mexicans complain about stereotypes, how many advertisements of caucasians wearing mexican hat, mustache and eating taco or wearing a lucha mask, can you see in a daily basis? Not mentioning middle eastern stereotypes used in many ads. Come on, drop the double standards.

How can you tell who the Americans are? I don't believe this site has a method of registering your nationality. So it could be that most or even all American comments in this thread are those against the commercial.

Unless you think that all of us are American, which of course would be pretty discriminatory.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Didn't see the ad, but really, since when do white people care about stereotyping? And it's even pretty accurate, don't people have anything to do but pretend to get offended at everything?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why? Maybe some Japanese are ready to start hugging now.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ReformedBasher

Yes, because us white people are so persecuted against. Can you believe that some people don't even sit next to me on the train? I can't bear this terrible racism any longer :-)

I hear you. Now go buy a wig, get a clean Gatsby shave then take the women only train next morning, then you should be a happy camper.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Public displays of affection, especially between men, are uncommon in Japan.

Unless one or both are drunk. Then, all bets are off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well at least they didn't mention anything about being fat. Japanese can be so direct about features (in contrast to other cultures) sometimes....

Didn't find a single negative review of this in one of the main news site in uk when it was first reported there. In fact some said more likely to fly ana as a result. Anyway this was an advert for japanese...not an international advert as some have said.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“Our intention was to show Japanese becoming more active and essential to the world

And you do that by wearing a blonde wig and fake pointy nose.......................(long pause).................right!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Japanese are the first ones to jump up and down and cry foul at the slightest hint of of Japanese stereotyping

I am tempted to pull out some footage of Jerry Lewis with pop bottle glass and buck teeth doing his impression of a Japanese.

Somehow I think I will not manage to get a Japanese to jump up and down or cry foul. I have never seen a Japanese react that way, nor anything remotely like it, over such things.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't know what's funnier - the ad or the reaction to the ad.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

" Racist " ?! How about just asinine, as MOST Japanese commericals are. Whatever.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Like many others I don't find this very offensive. As a white male I've been statistically dealt a good hand. Any discrimination I've been victim of pales in comparison to those of other races. However, the ad is generally offensive as it points out what others have said. That is that non-Japanese are a joke.

Unfortunately this is a serious problem in Japanese society. Anything non-Japanese tends to be considered not serious and unworthy of respect. Anyone who's lived a here a few years or more will have noticed this. I'm sure a lot of Japanese people are familiar with the importance of foreign markets, learning a foreign language etc, but ads like this tend to show that they may not actually comprehend this.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think it's probably the conditioning of watching various Japanese TV variety shows that has made many immune to the fact that this kind of caricature of the white Westerner can be considered offensive by some. BTW, similar things happen on Korean TV too, even with black caricatures. Also, it has to be admitted there have been many instances of Asian caricatures in Western comedy movies and TV shows. I can still remember Benny Hill's Chinese character.

http://www.gordsellar.com/2012/03/12/blackface-korean-media-and-american-vaudeville/

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1d0mh_benny-hill-chinaman_fun

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That role should have been filled by a blond haired big nosed foreign actor in need of work. They should have remade the ad with the correct casting.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Speaking of racist. from JT's sister site, Rocketnews24 http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/01/22/oh-boy-thats-pretty-racist-vine-japan-edition/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Imagine instead of a rubber nose and blonde wig, he had black face paint and a big afro.

Still acceptable?

It’s NO different, except that different racial attributes have been chosen. Those of you who find this completely ok are missing a bigger picture. It's the thin end of a very large wedge.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

TurtleLiker; Message RECEIVED, & UNDERStood. "Kirk Out ".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Angry internet people are happy, because they can be angry at ANA now...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Slamdunk

I hear you. Now go buy a wig, get a clean Gatsby shave then take the women only train next morning, then you should be a happy camper.

Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know how that turns out assuming I'm not abducted. One can only hope.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japanese advertising is godawful on the whole and this has just pushed it down to new lows!

As a Caucasian male myself I wasn't offended in the slightest, as I know full well that "casual racism" is quite commonplace here in Japan (eg. We've all heard the "Wow, your nose is big, isn't it?"). Nothing to be worried about (to a point of course - I've been on the receiving end of some disgusting racial slurs, too).

However, this has made international headlines - would love to be a fly on the wall in ANA's marketing department next week!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Large companies, such as ANA, are and should be held to a higher standard. It is good that they pulled this offensive ad. For those of you NOT offended by this ad, fine. But please stop telling people who are offended that they have no right to be offended. At best, the ad is belittling to people with larger noses, and light colored hair. At worst, it does play to racial stereotypes. This ad was in bad taste, and a company that wants to cater to people from around the world should be more careful not to offend its potential customers.

Now, for those comments that say they saw worse in other countries, so this is no big deal: It IS a big deal. It is 2014. The routines of a Jerry Lewis 50 years ago are irrelevant today. Because we are all supposed to have learned, improved, evolved. To me, this ad is just the tip of the iceberg. The big nose and orange/yellow hair wig are way too popular. And when worn by Japanese, they seem to make the wearer speak Japanese with a bad accent.... some could say mocking how some foreigners are perceived to speak Japanese?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@john doe

Nail - head.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How could people be offended by this Ad. Is a fake wig and a fake nose enough to do it? Wow people should calm down and look at real discrimination. And is imitating another race actually discrimination? Charles Caleb Colton quoted:"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Imagine instead of a rubber nose and blonde wig, he had black face paint and a big afro. Still acceptable? It’s NO different,

iLikeTurtles, you are correct that its no different. However, I don't find it any more offensive. As a white man, can I not dress up as a black disco dancer from the late 70s for Halloween? Can I not dress up as Bruce Lee and use some make up to put a Mongolian fold in my eyes?

I think the difference between myself and some people is that I am actually comfortable enough with race that I am not offended by race, racial differences or racial attributes. I just wish people would not be so reactionary about it all as if racial costumes are always meant to be insulting. If I dressed like a black disco dancer, why would one not assume it was emulation? Same with Bruce Lee? Why assume the negative? This also brings to mind the cries of racism when people started wearing Obama masks despite 8 years of people wearing Bush masks.

I can only think that the reason for condemnation is because it seems like a caricature, whether intentionally or just plain pool quality masks, make-up and costume.. It might explain why there was no outcry about Robert Downey Jr. playing a black man in Tropic Thunder. The make-up was very well done and realistic. Still, as a former negative nancy, I will myself to choose not to assume the worst. If I do, the its just a nod to people who are doing these things to be racist. Far better to accuse everyone of emulation. The ones who emulate will feel fine, and the racists will feel like the idiots they are.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

As a Mexican, I have to say I was disappointed that ANA forgot to put a real Mexican with at least they stereotypical Mexican Sombrero or a Lucha Libre wrestling mask! WTF ANA!!??

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think the difference between myself and some people is that I am actually comfortable enough with race that I am not offended by race, racial differences or racial attributes. I just wish people would not be so reactionary about it all as if racial costumes are always meant to be insulting. If I dressed like a black disco dancer, why would one not assume it was emulation? Same with Bruce Lee? Why assume the negative? This also brings to mind the cries of racism when people started wearing Obama masks despite 8 years of people wearing Bush masks.

This is how I explained the furor to my wife this morning. When I go back home and mention race, being white, or something about being Asian, I can immediately feel the uncomfortableness in the air. Many people are so used to avoiding any discussion on race, out of fear of accidentally saying the wrong thing and being branded racist, that they any talk of race whatsoever makes them uncomfortable. I think this is the issue with the ANA commercial as well. No one is entirely sure what is wrong with it, so they compare it to other things they consider to be racist, but really it's just the uncomfortableness of having race being spoken of.

That all said, race being such a touchy subject, ANA was kind of stupid to have made the commercial in the first place. Big companies are better of staying away from PC subjects - which I'm sure ANA has now figured out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@funny car It’s disappointing that in 2014, there are people who still don’t ‘get’ racial discrimination. A white man who is not offended by race, racial differences or racial attributes – well, isn’t that amazing. Someone from an ethnic majority who has enjoyed all the benefits of being white for his whole life is comfortable with the race issue. I assure you that those from ethnic minorities will hold a somewhat different view.

You mention that you may want to dress up as a black disco dancer – why is the race of the disco dancer even something noteworthy? Why not just ‘a disco dancer’? The fact that you casually used this to support your argument shows how ingrained it is in some people to define others by the way they look above anything else. People are people. Racial stereotyping is dehumanising. If you’d been on the receiving end of this for your whole life you’d probably understand better. I don’t want to sound like a blubbering liberal who gets offended on behalf of other people, as the truth is very far from that, but you need to at least understand the issue.

Obviously Japan is a largely racially homogenous country, with people who actually enjoy the idea that they are all the same, who have rarely mixed with other cultures and who have little or no experience being on the receiving end of discrimination, so it’s not surprising that ads like this (or the Toshiba one with the stupid font and heavily accented Japanese which was arguably far worse) can appear on TV. At the very least, it’s disrespectful.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

people look different physically. why is that hard to accept? I see it being wrong when they are belittling people based on their race and not personality, but to be honest there are plenty of people who have blonde hair and a rather large nose. why is that bad? there. are. different. races. we. look. different. mongoloid, caucasoid, negroid. 3. they are different.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

get over it already, any foreigner who has a problem with this has bigger problems they should worry about that (says me, a big nosed blonde white guy who doesn't take any offense)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Unlike all sort of Japan Inc. in USA, it wasted its ad budget

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You mention that you may want to dress up as a black disco dancer – why is the race of the disco dancer even something noteworthy? Why not just ‘a disco dancer’?

Why he can't choose a black model ? Why can Beyonce be blonde to imitate Marilyn Monroe but this dude can't be black to imitate Michael Jackson ? Or maybe neither imitate nobody, they picked colors they thought looked good and next time they'll take blue. That ad is lame, but that's at another level, it's because he says "being Japanese is having black hair..." which is more narrow mindness than racism. Like if you're asked "What do you think about Nelson Mandela ? -Oh, I didn't like his shoes...".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

why remove it?

my idea was better, having two japanese otaku male fans dressed up as their akb48 idols talking about how they want to change the ouside impression of Japan ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just concentrate on what makes the airline one of the best in the world.. Japanese don't need to kiss as to Euro trash

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Maybe a major US or European Airline can make an ad and dress up its cast as Japanese tourists. Picture dark frame glasses, black business suit (think salaryman), a camera hanging around their neck, and bad teeth.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You mention that you may want to dress up as a black disco dancer – why is the race of the disco dancer even something noteworthy? Why not just ‘a disco dancer’?

Emulation. Wanting to be something I am not, because I think that something is cool. Because black people made a significant impression on my image of late 70s disco dancing, and I find that image positive and wish to promote and display it. Or because I think a giant afro looks silly on a white person, but cool on a black person.

But see, you chose to view it negatively.

If its wrong to dress as a black disco dancer, why even dress up as a disco dancer, since I am neither black nor a disco dancer? Why not just ban all costuming and make-up, since its all an attempt to be something we are not?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Elbuda Mexicano

As a Mexican, I have to say I was disappointed that ANA forgot to put a real Mexican with at least they stereotypical Mexican Sombrero or a Lucha Libre wrestling mask! WTF ANA!!??

Yes. Right and Time to shave Mr. Sanchez.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

what happened to having a sense of humor?

although i can honestly say i had no idea what they were trying to accomplish with that commercial....

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

john Doe - you are way too sensitive. I know general trend is towards being sensitive to causing any type of offence and "learning and evolving", but I do think it has gone too far. This silly ad is really not that offensive. We see worse on Japanese TV in programmes and there have been a ton of other ads which are just as misguided

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I didn't have a problem with the ad, but good on ANA for listening to the public.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I laughed at the commercial at first.....I totally understood what the commercial was attempting to say.... Asked a half-dozen people, Japanese and American... Got mixed reviews but all thought harmless in the big picture. Most laughed... I just think a simple 30 min. consultation with an American/European...would have been wise.... The blonde hair only would have been better (in my opinion)....the envied after high nose was a bit too much. Hahahah...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why so serious?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@funnycar Again, you still don’t get it. It’s not about viewing it negatively, it’s about not making race into an issue. You want to ‘emulate’ black disco dancers? How patronising.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It stil gets funnier the more times I watch it - especially after a drink on the big screen in the living room.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites