It thy nose offend thee, pluck it off. Ditto for if it offend people who desperately needeth to get a life.
We pause from our regularly scheduled outrage over the naming of sports teams and their mascots to bring you a harmless and mildly amusing 30-second TV spot created on behalf of All Nippon Airways (ANA):
Just to be clear, the funny part is not the two Japanese actors’ English. It’s the ski nose and straw wig one of them dons about halfway through in order to “change the image of Japanese people.”
Who in his right mind would find the commercial offensive? The question is meant as rhetorical, but sadly the answer, according to The Japan Times, is “English-language social media users in Japan,” among whom “the ad caused a stir”:
“I’ve just seen the new ANA advert… Really? ANA think this is OK?!” Angela Fukutome said in a message posted on ANA’s Facebook page.
“If you are a foreigner and have planned to come to #Japan do not choose an openly racist airline like #ANA! Watch their Japanese commercial,” tweeted @sibylleito on Twitter.
An ANA spokeswoman is quoted as saying the airline “has received calls from customers, mostly foreigners, complaining about the ad. We apologized to each of the customers for having caused uncomfortable feelings and also thanked them for bringing up the issue.”
And spokesman Ryosei Nomura offered this assurance:
[W]e have received opinions different from the message that we wished to convey. We will modify part of the advertisement and will release the second version soon.
Whether he went on to fall on his ceremonial dagger is not stated, though to make that presumption would be to engage in ugly stereotypes, so we won’t.
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