Racist 2013 Toshiba commercial for product APB-R100X, SuiPanDa combination ricecooker/breadmaker


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Hi Blog. A bit of a racist slam-dunk today. World-class company Toshiba seems to think that domestic commercials will only be seen within the putatively hermetic Japanese domestic market. And that there are no people in Japan who might take offense at being racially caricatured.


The advertised product in question:  A rice cooker that can also double as a bread maker — Toshiba SuiPanDa Model APB-R100X.  The issue:  Gaijinizing the user to promote bread consumption.  As submitter RS put it:

Hello Debito, I’m not sure if you have seen this commercial or not, but perhaps you may be interested in it.


UPDATE: (Link is now dead, but video archived at Kotaku.com here, thanks:)

And if you want your own copy, here’s the ad in mp4 format:

It’s clearly racist, and even kind of seems like the minstrel shows in the US in the 1800’s (which were incredibly racist). It’s pretty unbelievable that this commercial seems to be new, and is from such a major corporation…

Just in case it gets taken offline, some stills, for the record:

toshiba2013suipanda2 toshiba2013suipanda3 toshiba2013suipanda4 toshiba2013suipanda5 toshiba2013suipanda6

Note the accented speech rendered in katakana subtitle for the Gaijinized Japanese actress, complete with blond hair, appended big nose, and overexuberant gestures and speech patterns.  Not to mention the dichotomous stereotype that people who eat bread (as opposed to potatoes or some other kind of starch) are automatically “Western” (youfuu).

COMMENT: Well, to me, not so unbelievable. Debito.org has collected a veritable rogues’ gallery of  Japanese commercials and product lines that use biological memes of racism to hawk product — some of which were taken off the air when people protested (click on photos for more information):

Of course, you are welcome to protest this as well. Here’s the Toshiba website with the product in question:

And here’s Toshiba’s online feedback: https://www.livingdoors.jp/csqa/form.php
Phone and Fax numbers here: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/csqa/contact/support/living_sonota/index_j.htm#contactInfoArea

Many Japanese advertisers just never seem to learn.  It’s up to us to tell them.  Arudou Debito


UPDATE JUNE 29: Here are two other commercial spots for other Toshiba products, featuring the same businesswomen actresses in the same vein, but without the racialization. As a friend pointed out elsewhere, “Toshiba could have communicated the same message more effectively by interviewing a master baker or some other expert.”

Courtesy of Kotaku. Note that in these videos, these people are co-workers who know each other. Gaijinized in the breadmaker commercial, she’s an unknown stranger. Once again, Gaijin are the perpetual “Other” who don’t belong, even with all the NJ working for Japanese corporations.


UPDATE TWO: Toshiba is clearly aware that this commercial is problematic because they’ve immediately removed it from their website.


That’s kinda funny.  A world-class electronics company thinking that it can just remove their racist advert without comment, retraction, or apology, and that would be it?  Not very media- or tech-savvy, are they?

Download your own copy from Debito.org in mp4 format, for posterity.


UPDATE THREE:  Even funnier, Toshiba’s racist advertisement goes against its own Corporate Standards of Conduct!



14. 広告活動
2. 東芝グループ役員・従業員の行動基準
3. 政治、宗教等については広告表現の対象とせず、また、人種差別、心身障害者差別等を想起させ、人間の尊厳を傷つけるような表現を用いません。

54 comments on “Racist 2013 Toshiba commercial for product APB-R100X, SuiPanDa combination ricecooker/breadmaker

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  • An academic friend has created a survey about this SuiPanDa commercial. Your input is very welcome. Debito

    Would you be willing to help me out with a research paper I’m doing on the perception of “foreignness” in Japanese marketing? It only takes about 5 to 10 min. online with a link to watch one 30-second commercial (though I recommend watching it twice to get the full effect). Come for the blonde character in a wig and big fake nose and stay for the demure dark-haired character! It made the social media rounds (for obvious reasons) in the last couple of weeks here in Japan.

    The link is:

    I will be putting Japanese and non-Japanese perceptions together into a research paper next month. You have a unique perspective having lived here for quite some years – and you have a good perspective from both ‘sides’.… I have 60+ Japanese (from my Marketing in English class) who’ve taken the survey, but I need as many non-Japanese. (If you know anyone who is interested in Japan, marketing, or the blatant portrayal of stereotypes AND who might be available for 5 to 10 min. to do the survey, too, I would be very much obliged!!)

    Last date to submit the survey is August 10.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    It didn’t take them long to come up with this ad:

    although I only had to put up with it on TV once (possibly due to my lack of viewing hours). But it’s the same thing the advertisers come up with every few months.

    — Are you talking about a different (new) ad than the Toshiba one?

  • Seems at least South Korea is taking racism in adverts a bit more seriously:

    “..Korean cigarette firm pulls ‘racist’ monkey ads..”

    “..South Korea’s largest tobacco company has promised to change an advertising campaign after accusations of racism…It added: “Mocking Africa to sell a product that causes death and disease is unacceptable, and we will not stand for the exploitation of Africa by tobacco companies.”…” *

    * http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24638074


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