“E-Raced?” Nissin Accused of “White-Washing” Naomi Osaka
January 31, 2019 | 1453 Visits
Nissin, a company known for their ramen noodles, found themselves in hot water recently.
The company recently pulled their “Hungry to Win” ad featuring anime versions of tennis stars Naomi Osaka and KeiNishikori. The ad, which is based on the anime The Prince of Tennisby Takeshi Konomi, features Osaka and Nishikori in an epic tennis game.
While featuring the stars in the ads make sense—Nissin sponsors both athletes and Osaka is a brand ambassador—the issue lies in how Nissin lightened Osaka’s hair and skin to make her look almost Caucasian instead of embracing her Haitian-Japanese background. Because of her portrayal as a pale-skinned athlete in the ad, fans of Osaka and the media have accused Nissin of whitewashing.
Once Nissin was called out for their alleged insensitivity, Nissin Foods spokesman Daisuke Okabayashi said the company did not mean to be disrespectful and has since pulled the ads from their website. The videos have also been removed from YouTube at the request of IMG, Osaka’s agency.
“There is no intention of whitewashing,” Okabayashi told CNN. “We accept that we are not sensitive enough and will pay more attention to diversity issues in the future.”
When asked about the issue, Osaka said, “I’ve talked to them and they’ve apologized… I don’t think they did it on purpose to be, like, whitewashing or anything, but I definitely think that next time that they try to portray me or something, I feel they should talk to me about it.”
Osaka also added that she’s “tan. That’s pretty obvious.”
This latest controversy brings up more about the debate of “otherness” in Japan, where people of different ethnicities or mixed race often face issues with acceptance. In Osaka’s case, the debate exists over whether she is Japanese, Haitian, or American, so issues of her background often overshadow her accomplishments on the tennis court.
Whether the ad was intentionally whitewashed or not, it does bring up the debate of how race defines a person. In Osaka’s case, there is a preference to be defined by her character, not her race. Even so, it’s important to portray people as they are instead of some “ideal.”
We’re back with the fifth addition of our popular series! Thanks to your response, we have discovered many more celebrities to include into our database. Back in 2018, 2019, and earlier in 2022, Kcrush published articles about biracial... Read More
Go back and re-listen to this one! The mini-album with the title song, “Blind Love” along with the fashion and dance talent within their music video are worth seeing over and over again. GreatGuys (멋진녀석들) is a South Korean... Read More
From warehouses to computerized realms, K-Pop MVs have an ability to transport us to different worlds. Meanwhile, some of those same settings can instill feelings of longing, romance, and joy when featured in some of our favorite K-Dramas. But, what... Read More
Covid stopped the flow of K-pop artists from going on tour for nearly 2 years. But 2022 was flooded with tours from artists waiting to perform once again. Back-to-back from January to some being announced to the end of this year. So,... Read More
Back in 2018, 2019, and earlier in 2022, Kcrush published two articles about biracial celebrities with Asian backgrounds. We’re revisiting those articles and including more celebrities that have Asian backgrounds. Of course, we encourage our... Read More
Visiting theme parks is a fun hobby for many thrill seekers. Asia has plenty of theme parks beyond Disney parks to offer globetrotters. If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, take the time to check out these parks on your adventures! LEGOLAND... Read More
2012 was one of K-Pop’s stand out years thanks to hits from BIGBANG (“Fantastic Baby”), 2NE1 (“I Love You”), FTIsland (“Severely”), EPIK HIGH (“Don’t Hate Me”), Lee Seung-gi (“Return”), T-ara (“Lovey-Dovey”),... Read More
Back in 2018 and 2019, Kcrush published two articles about biracial celebrities with Asian backgrounds. We’re revisiting those articles and including more celebrities that have Asian backgrounds. Of course, we encourage our readers to share others... Read More
(image from the AT&T website for AAPI Heritage Month https://about.att.com/inside_connections_blog/2021/aapi_heritage_month.html) For those who hadn’t known, May is observed as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month... Read More
With Covid travel restrictions* lifting, many of us may be feeling the nips from the travel bug reminding us that life is short, and we need to go out to see and experience the world. Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s major tourist attractions.... Read More