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  • McDonald’s “Mr James” in 週刊金曜日:「白人」への偏見を助長 マックCMに抗議の声

    Posted by arudou debito on October 11th, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  Article in last week’s Shuukan Kinyoubi on McDonald’s “Mr James”, mentions FRANCA.  Enjoy.  It’s the only coverage in the J press this case got, despite a number of inquiries that went nowhere.  Bests, Arudou Debito in Monbetsu, Japan

    「白人」への偏見を助長
    マックCMに抗議の声

    週刊金曜日 2009年10月2日

    http://www.kinyobi.co.jp/backnum/antenna/antenna_kiji.php?no=815
    日本マクドナルドが八月から展開しているNIPPONALL STARSキャンペーンのキャラクター「Mr. ジェームス」に対し、「偏見と固定観念に満ちたガイジン像」と在日外国人らが抗議している。

    白人扮するMr. ジェームスは架空の人物で、「昔訪れた日本の魅力を忘れられず娘の留学についてきたオハイオ生まれの四三歳」との設定。バーガーを味わうために全国を回り、その様子を、カタカナとひらがなの奇妙な日本語で日々ブログにアップしている。

    人種差別と指摘される点は、彼のカタカナ日本語と「元気なオタク」のイメージ。NPO法人日本永住帰化移民住民協会の有道出人会長は、「外国人は日本語を話すことができない、という印象を強めるだけ。彼の外見も、日本在住の白人には恥ずかしいもの。努力して日本語を学び、長年ここに暮らしても、所詮“ガイジン”扱いしかされない。国際感覚があまりにも欠如し、子どもに与える影響も大きい」と憤慨する。

    協会は八月二〇日、日本マクドナルド宛に、CM停止を求める“日本語”の抗議文を提出。五日後に広報担当者から届いた回答は“英文”で、「侮辱する意図はない」と弁明のみ。謝罪の言葉は一切なかった。
    白人を笑いものにしても差別にはならない。日本人がこうした意識を持つ傾向は否めず、外国人の不満や意見になかなか耳を傾けようとしない。
    「白人は日本で少数派。声を上げても、この国のメディアや人権団体からはほとんど無視される」と有道氏。
    人種差別の定義が白人に適用されないのは、劣等感から脱しきれない白人への歪んだ感情の表れともいえる。
    キャンペーンは現在も続行中だが、ネット上でMr. ジェームス反対運動は拡大中だ。
    木村嘉代子・ジャーナリスト

    10 Responses to “McDonald’s “Mr James” in 週刊金曜日:「白人」への偏見を助長 マックCMに抗議の声”

    1. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      I saw a new “Mr. James” ad on TV yesterday. McDonalds aren’t taking our concerns seriously. They won’t be taking my money, either.

      http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/all_star/index.html (page down to the bottom)

    2. phil adamek Says:

      Nice summary from Ms. Kimura, especially where she points out that the influence on children of this kind of stereotyping is non-negligible and regrettable (to use the politic word for the feeling of frustration it inspires).

      I think if you look at the big picture of TV in Japan, you’ll find a lot of stereotypes and similarly deranged idiots. In fact, you find more of those on a lot of programming than you can find actual human beings. But that fact must itself be seen against the even larger picture of Japanese society and of the role many Caucasians play here both as productive members of society and — Ms. Kimura underscores this, too — a frustrated minority whose concerns are summarily brushed aside when it comes to racial stereotyping and other sensitive issues.

    3. Lance Says:

      Debito,

      Have you seen the new Mr. James commerical? He is in an onsen with Japanese all around him! You think somebody is trying to send a message?

    4. Natalia Pritt Says:

      The new Mr. James Onsen commercial is such a homage to you, Debito, albeit done in a wrong way.

      Seriously though, I really can’t believe they are still continuing the ad campaign even though this problem has gotten into TIME magazine and all.

    5. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      The new Mr. James Onsen commercial is such a homage to you, Debito, albeit done in a wrong way.

      Didn’t a prankster right here on Debito.org (sorry; I forget who) post something on the official Mr. James blog about going to Yunohana Onsen?

      I’m still not giving up hope on the Mr. James campaign. There’s about a month to go, and if at the very end he’s speaking somewhat-better Japanese, or at least not looking like a total buffoon, it could still end up as a positive message about foreign visitors. He’s supposedly been to Japan before, so he should be getting his Japanese skills back quickly the longer he’s in the country.

    6. Kimberly Says:

      I don’t really expect them to pull the ads… the whole campaign has probably been planned out for months and it would take a bigger fuss than has been raised to warrent stopping the entire campaign. My hope is that at least McDonald’s, and hopefully other companies as well, will remember that they DID offend a portion (however small) of their consumers with this campaign, and try to be a little more PC the next time around.

      I also don’t find the onsen commercial particularly offensive for whatever reason… other than the splashing around at the end, Mr. James isn’t completely breaking every rule in the book, and he speaks with an accent, but so do most people speaking a second language.

      The main thing that offends me about this is the katakana in the printed ads, and it’s not just Mr. James… try watching a Hollywood movie in which one of the characters mentions, say, Tokyo. It’ll almost always be subtitled in katakana, and it seems like a subtle jab at the speaker “Ha ha, those stupid foreginers and their To-ki-o…” But it’s not as though most Japanese people can pronounce, say, Los Angeles, any better. Mr. James speaking with an accent is fair enough…. for all we know, that’s the actor’s real accent and even if it isn’t, a character with an accent isn’t offensive to me in most cases. But it’s REALLY hard to read Japanese when it’s written in all katakana, and katakana is a purely PHOENETIC alphabet, where kanji carries meaning. So it seems like they’re subtly saying “Look how hard to understand this guy is! He just memorized the sounds incorrectly without really understanding the meaning!”

      Anyway, that’s beside the point… whether it’s a result of feedback from the NJ community or not, I do feel that the most recent onsen ad is BETTER than the hanabi one and all of the print ads… if not perfect, a step in the right direction.

      – We’ve covered a lot of this ground already. To address your opening point, I’m not surprised the ads haven’t been pulled. Not just because McD’s no doubt has sunk a lot of time and money into promoting these images. But also because ad agency DENTSU is involved. I’m watching the TV series MAD MEN (about Madison Avenue advertising in 1960) and a lot of the elitist etc. attitudes (not to mention the thoroughbredness of the job applicants) there are no doubt still in place over here. What do people at DENTSU care about NJ? They’d sell asbestos if somebody paid them to.

      What I am bothered about to this day is that McDonald’s Japan, the final arbiter in this case, isn’t showing the corporate responsibility that it claims is it’s strong suit. That’s why I will never eat McDonald’s again, anywhere in the world. That’s saying something pretty strong, since I grew up eating it, and will miss it. But corporate irresponsibility is still that, regardless of my ingrained memories. Bye bye McD’s.

    7. Marius Says:

      >There’s about a month to go, and if at the very end he’s speaking somewhat-better Japanese, or at least not looking like a total buffoon, it could still end up as a positive message about foreign visitors.

      I do believe “campaigns” have their impact the first few weeks.
      Great damage have already been done, and any/whatever messages of goodwill this ad might or might not show during the aftermath hardly makes up for the ads existence in the first place.

    8. D.B. Cooper Says:

      25th Annual Worldwide Anti-McDonald’s Day protests – Thursday/Friday Oct 15th/16th 2009
      Worldwide Anti-McDonald’s Day on October 16th [UN World Food Day] is a protest against the promotion of junk food, the unethical targeting of children, exploitation of workers, animal cruelty, damage to the environment and the global domination of corporations over our lives. The protests were launched in the UK in 1985 by London Greenpeace.
      Why not organise a picket or protest in your area, on or around Oct 16th?! Please copy the ‘What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?’ leaflet at: http://www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/current/wwwmd-uk.pdf – or use latest text below.
      On the evening before, London campaigners will be celebrating their 5th anniversary of regular Central London anti-McDonald’s protests [weekly for the first 4 years, and now the first and third Thursdays of every month!]. All supporters welcome.

    9. Mumei Says:

      No real resolution to the fundamental problem, but Misutaa Jeemusu is leaving Japan next week:

      http://mcdonalds.dtmp.jp/blog/2009/10/091030.html

      I have not been following it too much, but I assume that this coincides with the planned end of the campaign.

      – It does. And now he speaks hiragana, katakana, and kanji. And he seems to be steering clear of Sapporo. Wonder why.

    10. Marius Says:

      ナルヒョ〜dooo!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlKJKFcNg9g

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