Japanese carrier ANA pulls ‘racist’ TV ad

21 Jan 2014


Japan's largest carrier All Nippon Airways said today it was pulling a TV advertisement featuring a Japanese actor with a large false nose and blonde wig after it drew online criticism for racist connotations.

The English language ad has Japanese subtitles and promotes the airline's expanded international flight schedule from Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Japan, host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, is trying to attract more tourists as the number of visitors rise sharply over last year, particularly from Asia.

The ad, airing of which started on 18 January, features two men in ANA pilot uniforms. They are shown chatting about how they would now be heading off to new destinations such as Hanoi and Vancouver.

One of them calls for changing the image of the Japanese and turns to his companion, who is now shown wearing a large fake nose and a brassy blond wig, in line with Japanese stereotypes about Europeans. "Of course," the other person replies.

The ads drew mostly negative responses which spilled onto ANA's Facebook page, with some people saying they had cancelled their airline loyalty cards. Some commentators, however, said they liked the commercial while others said they found it simply strange, rather than racist.

Bloomberg quoted Etsuya Uchiyama, a spokesman at the Tokyo-based company, as saying that the carrier had stopped airing the spot on national television yesterday and would make a new commercial after receiving ''various comments.''

Time quoted an ANA representative, as saying, the commercial featuring a character in ''whiteface'' was meant to encourage Japanese customers to embrace international travel, not to stereotype westerners.

Associated Press quoted ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura, as saying the company's intention was not to offend.

 ''The commercial was intended to be a humorous way of highlighting the increased number of international services ANA is operating from Haneda Airport,'' the company said in a statement. ''It was not our intention to cause offense and we apologize to anyone who was upset by the advertisement.''

The carrier is introducing new flights to London, Paris, Vancouver, Hanoi and other cities from 30 March after receiving more international daytime slots at Haneda airport.

Business History Videos

History of hovercraft Part 3...

Today I shall talk a bit more about the military plans for ...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of hovercraft Part 2...

In this episode of our history of hovercraft, we shall exam...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Hovercraft Part 1...

If you’ve been a James Bond movie fan, you may recall seein...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Trams in India | ...

The video I am presenting to you is based on a script writt...

By Aniket Gupta | Presenter: Sheetal Gaikwad

view more