All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, says it plans to revise a television commercial it aired featuring a Japanese actor wearing a blond wig and large nose to portray a Caucasian.
The commercial, which aired in Japan over the weekend, sparked a flood of calls to the airline by customers and foreigners living in Japan who accused the carrier of promoting racial stereotypes.
— Sibylle Ito (@sibylleito) January 20, 2014
ANA announced Monday that it would alter the commercial and apologized for the ad.
“The commercial was intended to be a humorous way of highlighting the increased number of international services ANA is operating from Haneda Airport. It was not our intention to cause offence and we apologize to anyone who was upset by the advertisement,” ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura told the Associated Press.
The controversial 30-second spot features two well-known Japanese comedians dressed as ANA employees. As one excitedly discusses the airline’s new destination offerings, he says to his companion, “You want a hug?"
When the other actor looks nonplussed, he states: "Such a Japanese reaction." He goes on to say, "Let's change the image of Japan."
Then his companion dons a fluffy blonde wig and a fake, long nose. “Sure,” he says and the two roll their luggage down the airport hallway together.
While many took offense, some on social media are calling the ad funny and not offensive.
LOL at Japanese ANA 'racist ad' - presume complainers have had humour by-pass? It's funny, people.
— Peter Liney (@lineypeter) January 21, 2014
Check out the controversial commercial below and tell us what you think.