NIKE JAPAN ads featuring Japan’s Minorities and Visible Minorities taking solace and courage from doing sports

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Hi Blog. Reader JK sent me this link to the following NIKE JAPAN advertisement for discussion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G02u6sN_sRc

Entitled “動かしつづける。自分を。未来を。” (Lit: We will continue moving. Myself. And the Future.”, which is a bit different from the official title of “The Future Isn’t Waiting”), the subject is of Japan’s school-age Minorities and Visible Minorities facing social othering in Japan, and finding solace and courage in themselves by becoming good at sports.

It’s dated November 27, 2020, and been viewed nearly 10 million times as of this writing. According to the Japan Times, it’s inspired a “fiery online response”: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/12/02/national/social-issues/japan-nike-ad/

The BBC adds, a bit disingenuously: “Many Japanese do not like to be told by outside voices to change their ways,” said Morley Robertson, a Japanese-American journalist. “But if a foreigner demonstrates a deep understanding of Japanese culture or Japanese rules, then those same Japanese who would otherwise take offence will gush forth with praise.”

[NB:  Morley Robertson is listed in his Japanese-only Wikipedia entry as a “タレント、DJ、ラジオパーソナリティ、ミュージシャン、ジャーナリスト、コメンテーター”. “Journalist” seems a bit of a stretch.]

Steve McGinnes, the author of Surfing the Asian wave: How to survive and thrive in the new world order, believes the advert is an “own goal”. “Endemic racism is going to be a sensitive topic in any culture. But Nike should not think, as a foreign brand, that it is appropriate for them to point it out to their hosts. “They are crudely putting a spotlight onto a subject that many feel should be off-limits to guests. It’s a huge own goal for Nike.”… “In 2020, should America or an American brand be taking the high ground on racism and telling the rest of the world what they are doing wrong?” adds Mr McGinnes. “Clearly, a lot of Japanese people think they shouldn’t.” https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55140846

Despite the pretty flawed English translation in the CC function, I think it’s worth critique by our Readers. JDG has already said: Interesting comment reported by JT:Nowadays, you often see one or two people of different nationalities going to school perfectly peacefully. The one that’s prejudiced is Nike,” wrote one user named “hira1216.” No, ‘hira1216’, those ‘one or two people’ aren’t ‘different nationalities’, they are JAPANESE! I guess hira1216 doesn’t understand what racism is, so they can’t see it, and are responsible for perpetuating it.

I’ll reserve my comment for later.  But I don’t believe this is an “own goal” for Nike.  And how self-assured can these pundits be that these are “outside voices”?  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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39 comments on “NIKE JAPAN ads featuring Japan’s Minorities and Visible Minorities taking solace and courage from doing sports

  • Is this McGinnes guy seriously saying that Nike Japan is a „guest“ and that Japan is their „host“? What a stupid thing to say. First of all, companies like Nike have local branches with local staff who decide on the ads which will run in their country. This ad was made and approved by Nike Japan, which most likely consists of mostly Japanese people. The American headquarters probably don‘t even know about this ad and never saw it. Just as American McDonald‘s didn‘t know about the Mister James campaign, and American P&G didn‘t know about the racist Japanese commercial. And even if this ad was made by Americans or other foreigners, so what? Maybe these foreigners lived in Japan for decades, or still live there. How can you call these people guests if you don‘t even know anything about them? This McGinnes guy is the typical apologist who thinks that all foreigners are guests and Japan is their benevolent host, so foreigners don‘t have a right to human rights such as freedom of speech. It‘s funny how this guy is supposed to be some kind of economic expert on Asian markets, yet he doesn‘t seem to know that Nike Japan is not the same as Nike US.

    I‘m very disappointed that the BBC would run such a bad faith article. They‘re basically saying that foreigners have no right to critique racism in Japan. According to them, only Japanese people can do that because they‘re „insiders“ ,while foreigners are „outsiders“. In short, BBC is indirectly practicing Japanese style racism and exclusionism by quoting people such as this McGinnes guy. Shame on them and thumbs up for Nike Japan and their commercial. I‘m also looking forward to Debito‘s comment about this horrendous article.

    Reply
    • Exactly. Japan always gets a pass. You would never hear a reporter saying “Americans don’t take kindly to non-citizens talking about racism in the USA”. It is a nothing statement. Not focusing on the problem, just deflecting to the unnamed “Americans” feelings.

      Reply
  • Check out this under-researched piece dashed off by the AFP on this issue:

    Nike anti-racism ad sparks big response in Japan
    Telegram från AFP / Omni
    02 dec 2020, 09.23

    http://afp.omni.se/nike-anti-racism-ad-sparks-big-response-in-japan/a/mBMg9v

    A Nike advert highlighting racism and bullying in Japan has caused a stir on social media, with some users even calling for a boycott of the company.

    Nike, which sponsors biracial Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, released the two-minute commercial on Monday and it has since racked up more than 14 million views on Twitter.

    The Japanese-language clip, titled “Keep Moving: Yourself, the Future”, shows three teenage girls of mixed or non-Japanese heritage being bullied at school before finding confidence through their football prowess.

    It had been liked more than 50,000 times on Nike Japan’s YouTube channel by Wednesday, but also disliked by over 30,000 viewers — many of whom accused the sportswear firm of anti-Japanese sentiment.

    One scene shows a girl wearing traditional Korean clothes being stared at by passing businessmen, while another shows a group of girls surrounding a classmate whose father is black and touching her hair.

    Osaka, who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a father from Haiti, makes a cameo appearance as a biracial girl watches her on a smartphone.

    The video sparked online debate, with some calling for a boycott.
    “Goodbye Nike,” one Twitter user wrote in Japanese. “Our household won’t be buying any more products from you.”

    Another Japanese user wrote: “Isn’t sport about having fun? Is it fun to use it to take out your frustrations?”

    But others praised the advert.

    “This great ad has really touched my heart,” wrote one. “It’s just like Nike. I want people to believe in themselves as they are and look to the future.”

    Nike Japan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A statement released with the video said it was based on testimonies of young athletes who have struggled to accept their natural identities, and focused on three teenage girls who faced discrimination and bullying.

    “Nike for a long time has listened to minorities, supported them and voiced our views about causes that meet Nike’s values,” Nike Japan’s senior marketing director Barbara Guinet said in the statement.

    Several biracial Japanese athletes, including Osaka and NBA basketball player Rui Hachimura, have risen to prominence in Japan in recent years.

    Osaka, who has been an outspoken advocate for racial justice, wore masks bearing the names of black victims of police brutality in the United States on her way to victory in the US Open earlier this year.

    But she has also had to deal with racial insensitivity in Japan, whom she hopes to represent at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

    An ad campaign by one of her sponsors once depicted her as light-skinned in a cartoon, while a TV comedy duo suggested she “needs some bleach” because she is “too sunburned”.

    ENDS

    Reply
  • Steve McGinnes has never lived in Japan.

    Ironically on the bottom of McGinnes’ web page there is the quote

    “If you haven’t experienced it, why would anyone listen to you talk about it?”

    https://stevenmcginnes.com

    As someone living here for 1/4 of a century I would say he needs to take HIS OWN advice….he should keep his mouth shut about guestism in Japan.

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Going by McGinnes, if I haven’t experienced (for example) child abuse, I’ve got no place to speak out against it.
      He’s not exactly an intellectual colossus this guy, is he.

      Reply
    • realitycheck says:

      Steve gives his email address.

      I recommend everybody who posts regularly on debito send him a polite and respectful email pointing out the reality for Japanese born to international families, Zainichi and Chinese/other Asians whose great grandparents came here during colonialism, and foreigners who experience the rising isolationist sentiments in cities such as Tokyo which seems incredibly provincial compared to other capital cities in developed countries.

      If you have any videos or photos of the fascist right who go around in vans blasting non Japanese including those from nternational families, telling us all to go home, and have any articles about the murders and assaults they have committed against the few Japanese who have opposed them, then also send those.

      Oh by the way, Steve if you see this, you’re an example of what a true journalist is not. You should be ashamed of writing what you did with your ignorance parading as knowledge. Shame on you.

      Reply
  • There must be in the future of mankind a transnational common set ot basic values about a humam being prevailing on local religions, cultures, habits, traditions and so forth… everywhete on earth
    a global commom sense should drive this
    if we do not realize that racism will always exist
    this is the right direction

    Reply
  • If you look at more recent comments to the video now, many complaining Wajin just point out the allegation that the featured girl of Korean heritage is visiting (has visited?) Chōsen Gakkō, even claiming that she never went to a “regular” Japanese school and therefore could never have been bullied by Japanese classmates. By focusing on that, they “conveniently” and completely ignore the other two cases shown.

    Unfortunately there’s a rather strong source supporting the allegation: This article (in Japanese) by the South Korean newspaper “Donga Ilbo”.

    According to the article, the girl is a student at Chōsen Gakkō in Amagasaki, who aims to become a player for the North Korean national soccer team, but was set up as a student at a public Japanese school for the purpose of that clip.

    If that allegation is accurate, than I think it’s quite a goofball that undermines the all too important message of this clip.

    Reply
      • Unless she could attend a regular school due to the bullying she experienced?
        And anyway, the fact that a Japanese of Korean descent is identified by Japanese as ‘Korean’ rather than ‘Japanese’ is a perfect example of racism in action.

        Reply
    • Because you can’t be discriminated against by Japanese people if you go to a Chousen Gakkou? Fascinating! Please do tell me more!

      Reply
    • Definitely have to agree with Jim and TJJ here. Maybe she can’t attend public school because of the bullying she received, and she can still get bullied in other public places outside of school, or online. Also, does it even matter what that girl does in real life? In my opinion, she’s an actress who plays a role in a commercial. What’s important here is what her role represents, not what she does, or who she is in real life. They could’ve cast a Wajin girl to play a Zainichi for all I care, the important thing is what’s happening in the commercial, not the actress who plays a certain character. The fact that Wajin commentators ignore the message of the commercial and search for information on the internet to discredit this girl speaks a lot about how they’ve completely missed the point of the commercial. And like Jim already mentioned, all these comments about how she’s Korean and not Japanese are textbook examples of discrimination. All these people are basically saying that you only deserve to be protected from bullying if you’re Japanese. How sick is that?

      Sure, I agree with people who say that Nike isn’t really concerned about diversity, bullying and a sustainable society, they use child and slave labor after all. The only reason this commercial exists is because people will talk about it, which will lead to more sales in the long run. But credit where credit is due, they produced a commercial which brought out all the Japanese internet right wingers and international media is talking about it (albeit poorly like the BBC article shows). Nike basically called out all the articles we got in the past 2 years about Naomi being accepted as Japanese and Japan finally changing. Well, the true colors of Japan are showing now through this commercial. Maybe some apologists will finally shut up about Japan changing. At least I hope so. It would also be nice if Naomi said something about this, especially since she appears in the commercial, but I think that all of us know where this is going to go. I have a bad feeling that the actresses who participated in this commercial will get death threats by these rightwingers in the next few weeks. Hopefully I’m wrong.

      Reply
    • I should’ve known to elaborate more on my last paragraph, which I’m delighted to do now.

      But first let me give you some caveats. I personally agree with you that her affiliation with Chōsen Gakkō shouldn’t be an issue for the purpose of the commercial. I also agree with the possibility that she could be at Chōsen Gakkō because she has been bullied out of a regular public school. That isn’t only possible, but likely.

      And now to the explanation why I think casting a student of Chōsen Gakkō wasn’t the wisest choice possible. We all know of the allegations against Chōsen Gokkō of being a North Korean propaganda tank that grows “anti-Japanese Kim Jong-un fans”. Of course, the truth is not that simple, but when have bigots ever resorted to complex explanations? And given North Korea’s abhorrent track record and how it’s told in Japan, that allegation is something even decent wajin can quickly subscribe to.

      In short, using a student of Chōsen Gakkō is a wide-open floodgate for irrational criticism by bigots that makes them not even talk about or even acknowledge the issues mixed-race Japanese face on a daily basis, despite being also shown in the commercial. Therefore I consider it either a courageous provocation – if done on purpose – or a major unhelpful gaffe.

      I agree with Nike’s intention of including a descendent of the oldcomers, but Nike should’ve chosen one that is immune to “being-a-Kim-Jong-un-fangirl”-allegations. Alas choosing a different oldcomer would’ve led to Anti-Korean comments anyway, but when North Korea, one of the most if not the most despotic regimes of our time, is thrown into the mix, it really gets traction beyond the “Zaitokukai”-bubble, and I really find this a pity given the importance of the clip.

      Otherwise I agree with you.

      I hope this clarifies my thoughts a bit.

      Reply
      • I absolutely understand the point you are making, and ultimately *any* choice would have caused right-wing tough guy snowflakes offense, so why not? Why shouldn’t Nike troll the Japanese right wing into proving that racism IS a problem in Japan? These idiots are fair game for triggering as far as I’m concerned. Maybe Nike was hoping the negative attention they drew to the issue would embarrass Japan internationally?
        As for issues regarding North Korea, let’s not forget that North Korea didn’t even exist when these peoples ancestors were forced to come to Japan as conscript labor, and Japan’s taking advantage of translation issues of the 1965 San Francisco Treaty and the postwar constitution deliberately stripped these people of their Japanese citizenship and associated rights by Japan’s own conscious choice.
        No wonder they reject Japanese identities and seek a connection to another group that offers them affirmation and support, along with an identity that accepts they have been given a raw deal.
        In addition, if their families originated in parts of Korea that have since become DPRK, then why shouldn’t they have a choice to identify with a culture from that region without political considerations forcing them to identify with what is now a separate state (ROK)?
        Yes, it’s complicated, but in the same way an NJ from the west can live in Japan and have a family they love, and aspects of Japan they like, they are not forced into having to love (for example) the J-govt, so why can’t Zainichi of descent of the area now known as the state of North Korea love their country in the wider sense without being forced to love the government of that country?
        Perhaps they don’t, but keep it to themselves? Japan hasn’t done them any favors, why should they play Japan’s anti-Korea game?
        Identifying as South Korean hasn’t historically in the postwar period protected zainichi from discrimination (read Gordon; Postwar Japan as History).
        And let’s not forget, much of the tension between the two countries is nationalistic distraction from personal histories. Abe’s grandfather was responsible for trying to hunt down Kim Il Sung, he was always going to be the last person to work anything out with North Korea because the Kim family has never forgotten.
        North Korea only seems like a ‘crazy’ irrational actor when the whole history is revised to conceal individual accountability for war crimes (be they Japanese or American in Korea).

        Reply
        • Those are all fair points to which I agree. I just doubt the helpfulness for the purpose of the clip (calling out racism against Japan’s minorities) to cast a girl who’s reported dream is to get on the North Korean national team, but I hope that the eventual outcome will proof these doubts wrong.

          In the meantime I retreat from this argument which will likely drag on in circles otherwise. Time will tell.

          Reply
      • Thank you for explaining everything in detail. Those are fair points and I agree with all of them. I just don’t think it matters that much in the end. As you said yourself “choosing a different oldcomer would’ve led to Anti-Korean comments anyway..”

        These racists would always find a way to discredit the commercial, even if they cast a girl who’s family originally comes form South Korea, or even if they cast a Wajin girl to play the role of a Zainichi. I’m more concerned about how most Wajin commentators totally ignore the message the commercial is trying to make, and most of them play the victim card. Nike casting a girl who’s supposedly connected to Chōsen Gakkō just gives them another excuse to call the commercial biased and play the victim card by saying that Nike is racist towards Japanese, which is absolutely ridiculous of course. It’s also interesting to note how nobody’s talking about the Wajin girl who can be seen clashing with her parents because her grades aren’t as good as her classmate’s. It’s pretty clear that the commercial isn’t just criticizing racism, it’s criticizing bullying in Japanesse society in general. It’s kinda your typical 出る釘は打たれる, but NJ residents will stick out the most and this commercial proves it because everybody is talking about the Zainichi and “hafu”, not the Wajin girl.

        But to get back to the main point of your original comment, I definitely understand your point about how casting a girl who’s connected to Chōsen Gakkō can be considered a mistake by Nike which poisoned the well and derailed any meaningful discussion about this commercial with most Wajin. That being said, I highly doubt that most Wajin internet commentators planned to have a meaningful discussion about the commercial anyway.

        Reply
        • Well yeah. They could have cast or had storylines about only kids with no connections to either of the Koreas and the right wing snowflakes heads would still have popped and they’d accuse Japanese actors of being secretly korean anyway, like right wingers do when Japanese counter protest them.
          You can’t reason with unreasonable people.

          Reply
  • “Nike is not the only Western brand to come under fire for not understanding Asian cultures and consumer behaviour.”

    Whoa whoa. Let’s be clear. We are talking about systemic endemic racism here. There is no enclave, culture, country or situation where racism is OK because its a cultural issue. It is always wrong. Let’s be clear about that. And it doesn’t matter what is the race or the culture of the person who is putting a spotlight on it. How can that matter? If someone witnesses a murder, it doesn’t matter what their race is, they should still report it.

    Are we clear on this?

    Reply
  • Or are you, S McGinnes, saying that Japan has a rich and deeply ingrained culture or racism and it must never be called out on this by anyone else. Because if that’s what you are saying, and it seems to be the case, then go …

    Reply
  • I am of two minds on this one. On the one hand, I am glad to see a company the size of Nike take on the issue of racial discrimination in Japan. Nike has the bandwidth to reach a large audience and get people thinking about the issue.

    On the other hand, we are talking about sports. Not where people eat, sleep and work. Sports. Japan has long accepted foreigners onto sports teams – albeit in a limited capacity – so there is nothing new here. Show me an ad that shows a caucasian interacting naturally with Japanese in a Japanese workplace without all of the grins, and code switching to English that usually accompanies that vignette – because, after all, they are caucasian – and you will get my respect.

    The ad also seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of the BLM movement and Naomi Osaka’s fame and Twitter comments re discrimination. Many Japanese have had a predictable “miihaa” reaction to BLM, even going as far as having BLM rallies in Japan. But remember that most Japanese see discrimination as a strictly American issue, and one that involves whites discriminating against blacks. So when Japanese raise the banner of anti-discrimination in the BLM context, most are really just criticizing the US. The ethnic Koreans in the commercial are clearly a different story, but BLM is easy and shows how “international” you are by joining an international cause.

    Reply
  • According to McGinnes if you see someone being bullied because of their race, you can’t comment about it if you are not the same race as the person doing the bullying.

    This is an extraordinary point of view, and something that we all must vehemently oppose.

    Reply
  • GaijinLivesMatter says:

    This is so cynical. Nike, a company with a history of abusive sweatshop labour, has spent the last few years putting out “faux-progressive” videos ostensibly expressing support for such-and-such progressive cause by drawing some bizarre connection between said cause and their brand of sportswear (!?), and they deliberately do it in a manner that will get rightist Internet trolls angry, create a “conversation”, and start an endless stream of free advertising.
    https://www.vox.com/2018/9/4/17818148/nike-boycott-kaepernick

    Yeah, it would be nice if Nike donated a portion of their profits to anti-bullying campaigns in Japan, but I haven’t seen any evidence that this is their intention — they just want to make rightist trolls angry, get those rightist trolls to complain online, to which they expect the response to be those on the other side getting the false impression that Nike is somehow on the right side of history because they produced a video claiming a connection with this or that progressive cause.

    Reply
  • Reading the Japanese comments online is hilarious.
    ‘How dare Nike do this! There is no racism in Japan! Those kids are Koreans, not Japanese!’…
    SMH.

    Reply
  • David Markle says:

    Nike ad sparks fierce debate online. Some call for boycott.
    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/03/business/nike-japan-racism-ad-intl-hnk/index.html

    Its about time. It has been obvious for quite a while that playing nice only gets you ignored, beat up or worse. While the Nike ad is not exactly a “punch-in-your-face” type of statement, it is a step in the right direction. Racists and racist bullies need to be punched where it hurts, or they just dont get it. They cant be reasoned or persuaded or cajoled into confronting their beliefs, they need to have it thrown in their faces and set on fire for them to realize what it is that makes people so angry. There was a time when sitting on a bridge and letting yourself get beat up worked, but today people are so inundated with fake violence, (that actually comes close to being real) that seeing it in actuality is more a form of entertainment than shock. Even the police have laws nowadays that completely protect them even in the face of extreme violence against protesters. Japan has not come anywhere near this point “yet” but the day is hopefully coming when it will have to confront its racist and xenophobic beliefs.

    I personally know a “hafu” guy in his 40s now with several offspring who are teenagers, who after getting bullied in middle school, went to get training in Karate, and a couple other martial arts. He bulked up, and about a year or so later, took care of those who mistreated him in the past, granted, one on one. Only today is he willing to talk about his experience, and what he did to those who mistreated him. He even became somewhat of a local champion in his sport. My concern though is about those who are not athletic. Nike is a sporting goods manufacturer and has an interest in promoting their business, however everybody cant become a Karate black belt, or even an average soccer player. What about those who tend more toward music, art, literature, or more academic pursuits? Can they find their niche and purpose for being after falling out and being bullied by the “in” crowd? Maybe, maybe not. Many suffewr depression and do kill themselves for lack of finding their purpose for living. Can Nike do anything for them?

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Some great comments above.
    How many times have we seen sports stars and beauty queens being bullied for not being ‘real’ Japanese?
    How many times have we seen Japanese media and sporting organizations ignore nationality law and focus on blood? (Rugby, soccer, sumo, tennis…).
    And yet, international media is too scared to call Japan out, apologists tell ‘outsiders’ (= not Japanese blood) to ‘know their place’ in the face of human rights violations, and Japan continues to host international sporting events.
    Japan shouldn’t be allowed to host international events whilst rejecting international norms.
    Funny how no one has noticed that Japan is the only country to have an Summer Olympiad cancelled twice, and why. The media doesn’t want to bring that up.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Some(or most people) may disagree with McGinnes, but he is actually right about one thing: Nike’s role in advocating racial awareness. As many people know, Nike has a history of controversy over the portrait of athletes(especially, athletes of color). https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nike-ads-social-justice-kaepernick-1.4810102

    I still remember what Nike did to Colin Kaepernick 3 years ago when he knelt in protest during the US national anthem. They ditched him in the gutter in response to the backlash. And they lost millions of dollars in revenue. Then, they came back as a good guy since the tragedy of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Their effort to contain a political message in their ad makes people believe they changed their directions. But that doesn’t change their corporate identity as a predatory, exploitative capitalist in the world. They are now opposing the bill to ban imported goods made by slave labor in China, suggesting that the measure will hurt the supply chain. A classic behavior of neoliberal capitalist. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/29/business/economy/nike-coca-cola-xinjiang-forced-labor-bill.html

    I am more interested in the caveat of Nike’s flawed ad than their pretense of political correctness in promoting anti-racism. Corporations are capable of creating a master narrative to manipulate or distort the social norm in an attempt to exonerate themselves from grotesque exploitation of human subject for obscene profit. And that’s why many people don’t trust corporations in the first place. Nike’s ad featuring racism in Japan may be good for them, but I don’t give them any credit for ‘ostentatious’ promotion of “sports saves you from racism” bs. That clearly overshadows the reality of struggle bi-racial/bi-cultural children are experiencing in the order of Japanese ‘racial prison’ school system. We really don’t need to count on big corporations and giant media for awareness raising. A documentary by non-profit organization or an investigative journalist/activist will provide more accurate and nuanced account of racism in Japan.

    Reply
    • So I’m trying to understand this perspective. Does one have to be 100% without sin of any kind in order to make a comment about social ills? Just trying to get to grips on your argument.

      Reply
      • Loverilakkuma says:

        My answer to your question is no. One doesn’t have to be a Homer to take a certain position against social ills. A big difference is, however, the agent is a giant corporation that has a superfluous power and capital to invest in the market using their global brand. It is an agent that can get away with the heat anytime they want by claiming their position as an outsider when feel their attraction in Japan run its course, so that they can shield themselves from irrational outrage that could hurt their reputation in Japan. That’s hardly the same as anyone who is mired into rigid system of injustices in Japanese society. They aren’t. I see it utterly problematic to equate Nike with any human agent or non-profit organization in this manner.

        Reply
        • OK I get your position.

          My position is that if they are forcing kids to work in terrible conditions then that is slavery and I am totally against it. But if the kids are working there voluntarily and the alternatives are worse (like no job at all, or sex work etc.) then who are we to tell them they shouldn't. I have worked in terrible environments of power harassment where, for example, I saw someone fired for stuttering on a conference call, but I remained there until I had better options because the alternatives were worse.

          Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Regarding a syndicated pro-Japanese American pundit, I think Morley Robertson is a guy who got a call from Fuji TV to fill in for a spot after a fake Americanized Japanese expat named Sean ‘the fake’ McArdle Kawakami got busted for fabricating his academic credentials.
    https://bit.ly/37tTBHe

    I agree. Robertson has no experience in journalism. He didn’t start taking a plunge until his Japanese partner urged him to do so recently. It’s a blasphemy to give him a credential as journalist.

    Reply
  • This is awesome. Dr. Arudō, as usual, thank you for sharing.

    1) That the ad agency which created this ad cast a girl who attends 朝鮮学校 is completely, totally, and utterly irrelevant. “THAT GIRL DOESN’T EVEN GO TO REAL JAPANESE SCHOOL” as a criticism of the commercial is on par with criticizing the guy who gets in the suit and plays Godzilla because he’s not a real nuclear mutated iguana. It’s called acting. It’s about telling a story. If you can’t understand that, you’re an idiot. By the way, have we all forgotten when right-wing racist Wajin idiots started posting the “I’m glad to be Japanese” poster featuring a photograph of a Chinese woman? Yeah. Something about the correlation between racism and low IQs.

    2) JP, the presence of minorities and immigrants (let’s please stop calling people “foreigners”) in professional sports is only more visible because professional sports themselves are more visible. To draw a comparison to your comment about code-switching when speaking to white coworkers, allow me to remind you of the German-Japanese professional soccer player who was subjected to racist verbal abuse in the middle of a match by a referee. Even in the world of professional sports, the same attitude is (unsurprisingly) present.

    3) In regards to Nike’s hypocrisy, I’m fine with it for a change. Yes, they are completely full of it, but I see it this way: They’re a super-rich global corporation with the resources to get out any message they want. Virtually no other corporation is doing anything of significance about sweatshop labor and other related problems. They’re pumping out the kind of message that needs to be seen and heard. Racist right-wingers are reacting in droves. What’s not to like about this? I’m not advocating rushing out to buy Nike products, but let’s take this and run a million miles with it! Finally, someone is saying what has needed to be said for so long, and they have enough resources, clout, and brand strength that we don’t really have to worry about them going away. If you’re that stalwart about the labor issues, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find clothing and other daily use goods.

    4) Above all else, it is sweet justice to see the complaints of ネトウヨ crying in Youtube comments and elsewhere, going on and on with their usual poppycock about “this is Japan,” or “complaining about our racism makes you the real racist!” and so forth. I think I need a mug labeled “ネトウヨの涙” or something.

    5) In regards to the suggestion that Nike donate to NPOs/NGOs or other humanitarian groups, I would be inclined to agree, except for the fact that many such groups exist but do not have the influence that Nike does. Nike, regardless of their past or current sins, is putting out an ad that makes overcoming racism look cool, and racist bullies look like chodes. In a perfect world, people would probably base their decisions on logic, rationality, and justice, but I’ve never found that to be the case. An NPO shaking a finger versus a much loved global corporate brand making people look cool is a foregone conclusion in my estimate.

    In conclusion, I was thrilled to see this ad. I can only hope more are coming.

    Reply
  • So in other news, Suntory made a commercial using Japanese-Korean actors, and Japanese internet right wingers attacked them for this, which prompted DHC‘s CEO to claim that their company only employs „pure Japanese“.

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/dhc-japan-beauty-firm-under-fire-ceo-uses-racial-slur-koreans-13783744

    Can you imagine this being a thing in any other country? Their CEO is basically saying „My company is better than yours because we‘re racist and don‘t hire any NJ people. I don‘t even know what to say about this, but only in Japan can a CEO like that stay in power. In any other country this guys career would‘ve been finished.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Here’s a recent commentary from Baye McNeil on Nike ad.

    https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/397056

    Just like some of us here(including myself), he carefully points out Nike’s own problem to highlight the limitations as a corporation regarding activism. Admittedly, I am generally skeptical of corporations because of their role in exercising power and its abuse on consumers regarding race, gender, and identity–regardless of nation. And I will remain cautiously optimistic about the possibility of rhetorical shift in their role as a corporate advocate for discernment of social justice in the future.

    Also important is the effect of Nike ad. It is very predictable that Nike Japan will likely receive a backlash from numerous detractors, but that actually indicates how effective their message is. No one believes that contrarians and right-wing trolls will say yes to the ideas they don’t like, and there’s no way to physically shut down their voices (This draws another important issue, but maybe other time whenever it emerges). Receiving a lot of boos from these haters is not necessarily bad in that respect, since all they can do is whining and crying in a butt-hurt moment. Just like Trump fans, charter school/voucher cheerleaders, and any quack professionals (lawyers, public health workers, doctors, apolitical scientists, commentators) manufacturing conspiracies in Japan and around the world.

    Reply

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