Well it seems like the ugly head of racism has reared its big head again on Japanese television. E Mobile’s new cell phone commercial seems to depict a presidential campaign with “red” supporters (red is E Mobile’s corporate color and not representative of the Democratic Party (blue) in this case) in the background holding signs the say “Change.” While change is good, having the candidate depicted as a monkey is not!
Am I crazy to think that the monkey is supposed to represent Barack Obama? Given the track record for companies in Japan that use monkeys and blacks or monkeys as blacks in advertisements…maybe not!
I am sure that many of the BT’ers remember the Mandom advertisement and television commercial that had African and African-American males playing the role of Rastafarians and a monkey playing the role of…. well a black man! The tag line for the product was, “strong enough to even clean “their” skin!” Thanks to The Community and the power of protest via email along with my interview with the Asahi Shimbun, Mandom issued a public (newspaper and television) apology.
Click here to see the EM Mobile video. Be sure to send the Chairman and CEO, Sachio Semmoto, and President and COO, Eric Gan, a message! It seems like E Mobile would have used better judgment in producing such a commercial since one of their outside directors is Peter Cowhey, Dean of the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California San Diego. Cowhey formerly served as Chief of the International Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
To end on a positive note, I previously posted that it seems like the majority of Japanese believe in change and in Obama. Hopefully other people will also believe and change. Be sure to let me know what you think!