Japanese TV show featuring ‘blackface’ actor sparks outrage

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Japanese TV show featuring ‘blackface’ actor sparks outrage

Tokyo, Jan 4 (IANS) A Japanese TV programme has sparked accusations of racism and cultural insensitivity after a comedian painted his face to impersonate Hollywood actor Eddie Murphy, a media report said on Thursday.

The New Year’s Eve show featured celebrity comic Hamada appearing in a “Beverly Hills Cop” skit with his face blacked up, reports the BBC.

Using makeup to lampoon black people, a practice known as blackface, is seen by many to be deeply offensive.

Protest over the show have grown over the past days.

US-born writer and columnist Baye McNeil – who is black and has lived in Japan for 13 years – drew attention to the show on Twitter, arguing that black people were “not a punchline nor a prop”.

“Need a black actor, get a black actor that speaks Japanese,” he urged.

During the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, “Japan naively sends a Blackface doowop group out to pay homage to black athletes.

“What a fiasco that’ll be! So I implore you please #stopblackfaceJapan now,” the BBC quoted McNeil as saying.

Similarly, Japanese advertising campaigns have caused controversy in the past for portraying Westerners with Japanese actors wearing blonde wigs and long plastic noses.

Both Japanese airline ANA and electronics giant Toshiba had to pull their TV ads when viewers took offence at the blatantly stereotypical depiction of foreigners.


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