A Kirin “Rich Green Tea” ad teaching Japanese people the appropriate way to greet foreigners attracted some criticism online, with some calling it racist.
This third installment of the “Japanese Greeting” ad series has apparently faced some criticism online with the folks from Lost at E Minor saying the video received comments accusing the ad of discrimination against foreigners on the official Kirin Facebook page. The video has since been deleted from the page and the original YouTube video was removed, so it’s unclear what exactly the criticisms might have been, though the video has been uploaded by an third-party account.
The video, which combined three ads, featured one segment describing to viewers the best way to react to a foreigner who greets you with “higher than expected friendliness”. This skill apparently has a difficulty rating of 93.
You can see the ad below starting at 3:25.
In the ad we see an African-American man (Sergio) greeting a Japanese man in English saying, “How’s it going, bro?”
The Japanese man seems a little apprehensive and unsure about how to interact with Sergio.
Here’s where the explanation comes in.
The voice over warns us not to hesitate and to confidently hug the foreigner, but to be careful not to open your arms too wide because you may scare them. We are also told to “keep your hug to three seconds.” If your hug is too short you may offend them for not being friendly enough. If you hug too long, you may be sending the wrong signal.
▼ Keep your hugs to three seconds
Once you finish the hug, keep up the same amount of energy to keep the conversation going.
▼ Make sure you maintain “high tension” (the Japanese phrase for “high energy”)
The ad concludes by saying, “Cultural differences are fun, aren’t they?”
This one is a very interesting ad and does give us an insight into how Japanese feel about the custom of hugging when greeting someone and the intensity of the foreigner greeting. The original “Japanese Greeting” commercial also gave us a thorough explanation of the intricacies of the greeting bow.
Yes, this new ad may be seen a sweeping generalization of how “foreigners” greet people, but I’m not sure if it can be classed as racist. What are your thoughts?