ANA carrier apologizes for ‘racist’ TV commercial

7 years ago by in Business

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) said Monday it is sorry for a new TV commercial that was described as “racist” by customers who called the company to complain. However, ANA has not decided yet whether it will stop broadcasting the commercial.

ANA started airing the new 30-second television advertisement on Saturday. The ad is promoting its beefed up schedule of international flights from Tokyo’s Haneda airport in March.

In the commercial, two Japanese men in ANA uniform discuss in English how they might increase the awareness of ANA as an international carrier.

One of them says: “Let us change the image of Japanese people.” “Sure,” replies the other, who is now wearing a blonde wig and an improbably long rubber nose, says the international media.

In Japan white people coming from the West are often believed to have big noses, blue eyes and blonde hair, characteristics generally thought desirable among Japanese.

But the commercial enraged the English-language users of social media in Japan.

“I have just seen the new ANA advert…Really? ANA think this is OK?!” Angela Fukutome said in a message posted on ANA’s Facebook page.

“If you are a foreigner and have planned to come to #Japan do not choose an openly racist airline like #ANA! Watch their Japanese commercial,” tweeted @sibylleito on Twitter.

The carrier was called by customers, most of them being foreigners, to complain about the ad, said an ANA spokeswoman.

“We apologised to each of the customers for having caused uncomfortable feelings and also thanked them for bringing up the issue,” she said.

“We have passed on the issue to the section in charge of the advertisement, but as of now we have yet to decide how to deal with the commercial,” she said.