There may (or may not) be a storm brewing about airline ANA’s latest TV ad.

It shows two pilots at an airport, gazing out at the tarmac at Haneda Airport and waxing lyrical about the newly expanded international routes.

ana tv ad haneda racist fake nose foreigner

They tell each other (in English) which global destination they are about to head off to and one then asks the other if he wants to “hug” to say goodbye. His friend turns him down, only to be castigated as having made a too “Japanese” reaction.

“Let’s change the image of Japanese people,” he suggests.

Then he turns back to see his friend now transformed into a “foreigner”, that is, with a fake nose attached and a blond wig.

ana tv ad haneda racist fake nose foreigner

So apparently ANA thinks that a few more international flights departing from Haneda is going to change the Japanese to look foreign?

Well, we reckon it’s a bit more ironic than that. If the ANA staff all start to speak perfect English even to each other, then we would be more impressed at that then any new facial features.

We’ve seen this kind of anachronism in mainstream advertising before, such as last year’s poorly done campaign by Toshiba, for example.

This time it seems more tongue-in-cheek and we didn’t take offense at any rate. Debito, though, was less than impressed.

Putting on fake noses used to be a standard way to play a “foreigner”. It’s a bit like the past practice of “blacking up” if you were meant to play a “non-white” role, though likely less offensive and based on the rather peculiar notion that all white people have large snouts.

Anyway, if you’ve got any complaints, don’t blame ANA. Blame Dentsu.

Update: Not surprisingly, ANA pulled the video from the official YouTube channel.


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  • johnwatanabe January 20, 2014

    kind off like white university dressing as asian in asian themed party

  • holmes January 20, 2014

    bloody Dentsu oild racist farts.

    Actually Dentsu, by controlling the media, are above criticism.

  • James Jaudon January 21, 2014

    I see no problem with the commercial, The only problem is, we no longer have a sense of humor. Everyone wants to be offended. How sad.

  • klll January 21, 2014

    it is racist stop excusing things you dumb faqs,

    60 million people died in ww2 all mostly whites you should be all outraged yet you defend them just because idiotic anime and other nasty pedophile stuff coming from japan.

  • j.b. January 21, 2014

    this is just the first phase of the initiative. the next is using their planes in a sneak attack on foreign soil. tora! tora! tora!

  • atcha January 21, 2014

    it’s not racist, no. it’s japan’s perpetual anxiety in dealing with the outside world, something other supposedly global nations seem to get over much more easily. but we must now assume it will never end in japan, i guess…