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Hospital head hit for Ebola pun on Facebook

29 Comments

The 961-bed Fukui Prefectural Hospital has found itself embarrassed after its director posted remarks on his Facebook page that could be construed as making light of the illness that has recently killed over 1,000 people in several west African countries.

According to the Sankei Shimbun and other sources, on Aug 13, the hospital held a meeting to discuss possible measures for dealing with an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. After mentioning the meeting on his Facebook page, hospital director Dr Kazuhiro Murakita quipped, "Incidentally, Ebara is a marinade for barbecued meat." The remark was accompanied by a smiley face.

Murakita was referring to "Ebara," the brand of Ebara Foods Industry Inc and one vowel removed from "Ebora," which is how Ebola is pronounced in Japanese. The Yokohama-based company specializes in sauces, seasonings and other food products, with subsidiaries in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Its group sales in 2013 exceeded 43 billion yen.

After a barrage of complaints, Murakita deleted the remarks two days later. In exchanges with friends afterwards, the doctor was said to have made another pun, self deprecatingly referring to himself as having been "zubora" (sloppy or negligent).

"Henceforth, we'd like to see contagious diseases taken more seriously," a prefectural official was quoted as telling the Sankei newspaper.

Over the past weekend, the story has gone viral in the Japanese blogosphere.

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29 Comments
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The people at my work probably didn't catch on his fb posts, but they made the same joke. This pun is infectious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"People should leave comedy to comedians."

Your advice is noted and will be given due consideration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What an unfunny fool. People should leave comedy to comedians. If you say something stupid or offensive online it takes on a life of its own. A few seconds of poor judgement can turn into an eternity of people thinking you're an ass. But usually it is the stupid people who say stupid things.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

so many people divorced, fired, ruined, there's even a japanese right now about to lose his head thanks to Facebook. The life is too short to Twitter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't get the "joke". Was "barbecued meat" supposed to be racist?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lame is what it is. Not only was it NOT a funny joke at all, but they guy is a hospital director who thinks he has to put his 'clever' jokes out for the world. Not that big a deal; just stupid.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Slumdog. Many would argue that this is not at all funny and just shows that even Japanese humour is pretty robotic. Wakanai - agree the official rebuke is hilarious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He should have tweeted too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Right, no more having a sense of humor. If some people get their way, we will all resemble robots very soon.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“Henceforth, we’d like to see contagious diseases taken more seriously,” a prefectural official was quoted as telling the Sankei newspaper.

This is the official comment that had me in stitches.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steve Yochim-Fukui is about 300km from Tokyo on the other side of the country-don't get the capital involved.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Steve Yochim at Aug. 19, 2014 - 07:44AM JST "'cuz that's the attitude you want in a hospital administrator!

You stay classy, Tokyo!"

Skipped the map reading class in school did you? This doctor was at the Fukui Prefectural Hospital, nothing whatsoever to do with Tokyo.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I've actually heard a couple of docs referring to it as Ebara when they messed up the pronunciation. He may just be commenting on the common error but is taking the stick for making a bad pun rather than attracting the far larger shitstorm of "Japanese doctors can't tell the difference between BBQ sauce and a deadly disease".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As far as Ebola jokes go, this was pretty bad. I mean, really, really bad. Not bad taste bad, just very unfunny bad. Not unfunny because was insensitive, but unfunny because it doesn't even meet the basic structure of humor.

Hey, this word that means something terrible is slightly different from this other word that has nothing to do with the first word!

That being said, making light of horrible things is human nature. It's one way to not go crazy.

But a whole nother issue is being so stupid as to post them on Facebook and be surprised when there's a backlash.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

the ones that simply cannot resist an "oyaji gyagu" whenever the opportunity arises

And like other oyaji gyagu - not cool or funny. Eyes rolling, in fact.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I would expect nothing less from a member of the medical community in Japan.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@wontond.....

The PC disease is spreading around the world. Can't be too careful or you might offend someone. It was a lame pun, that is being blown out of proportion.... just look at the comment from jerseyboy, he even managed to bring race into the conversation.

11 ( +10 / -0 )

The article says one person made the joke. Not the whole country of "Japan:.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

@jerseyboy

Japan prides itself on having one of the world's most advanced health-care systems...

You tell that to the Japanese "Doctor" who thought my fiancé was "drunk" when it was a clear case of brain haemorrhage...

Not to mention the Japanese "Doctor" who almost killed both my baby and me... and those are only two examples (it would take up far too much space to cite them all...)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@jerseyboy

See how you've gone from Dr. Murakita to "Japan" in one line?

I prefer "juvenile" to sweeping racism.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

As long as he does his job properly, who cares about his sense of humour?

lucabrasi -- maybe the relatives of the over 1,000 people who have died from ebola. Wouldn't it be nice if Japan actually demonstrated real concern for less-fortunate people, instead of making juvenile jokes? I mean Japan prides itself on having one of the world's most advanced health-care systems. But instead of using his position in that system to bring resources to bear to help these folks, he makes fun of the situation. But I guess since the victims are thousands of miles away, and predominantly black, it is OK for the famous "Island Mentality" Japan is famous for to come through, right?

-13 ( +3 / -15 )

I thought the PC police were only in America.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

LOL I think it is very funny. All these deadly diseases come out of Africa (aids) If you can't laugh you will go crazy. It was a joke

4 ( +7 / -3 )

What the hell? It was a joke. Some people need to untie their knickers.

10 ( +8 / -0 )

He lacks imagination and has the mentality of a child.

-5 ( +5 / -9 )

As long as he does his job properly, who cares about his sense of humour?

11 ( +11 / -2 )

'cuz that's the attitude you want in a hospital administrator!

You stay classy, Tokyo!

-5 ( +2 / -6 )

I think we all know these types of people - the ones that simply cannot resist an "oyaji gyagu" whenever the opportunity arises (and by "opportunity" I mean, whenever it pops into their head).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What a lot of fuss over nothing! Haven't people got better things to do?

16 ( +18 / -3 )

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