Japan Nike ad on bullying, racism stirs online debate
January 26, 2022

Japan Nike ad on bullying, racism stirs online debate

TOKYO (JAPAN) – A video ad from Nike Japan against bullying and racism features biracial athletes and other minorities, which includes those of Korean descent, has lead to a sharp online response. Calls to boycott the company was also aimed at by netizens.

Japan has traditionally taken pride in being racially homogeneous, in spite of prominent mixed-race athletes such as tennis star Naomi Osaka posing a challenge to that image.

The commercial, “Keep Moving: Yourself, the Future,” released on Nov 30, shows several teen girls subjected to bullying in school over their race or other differences, but who ultimately manage to find confidence through soccer prowess.

One scene features a girl whose father is Black surrounded by fellow students, talking on top of their voice and pulling her hair.

The video, viewed 14.1 million times on Nike Japan’s Twitter feed by noon (0300 GMT) Wednesday, had garnered 63,000 likes, however there were also a slew of critical comments from many who pledged never to buy Nike products again.

One user named “hira1216” said, “Nowadays, you often see one or two people of different nationalities going to school perfectly peacefully. The one that’s prejudiced is Nike.”

Another asked, “Is it so much fun to blame Japan?”

Nike Japan said on its website it believes in the transformative nature of sports.

“We have long listened to minority voices, supported and spoken for causes that fit our values,” it added.

“We believe sports have the power to show what a better world looks like, to bring people together and encourage action in their respective communities.”

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