Japan reacts to champion motorcyclist's %22tribute%22 to Japanese people

Spanish grand prix motorcycle champ, Marc Marquez, showed up to the 2013 Moto GP held in Motegi City, Tochigi Prefecture wearing what he thought was an acceptable design giving a shout-out to his fans in Japan. He posted the picture above on his Twitter with the caption (written in Spanish), “Special helmet and shirt for a special GP in Japan, at home!!! ;) Do you like?” It turns out, many people around the world don’t like it. However, an overwhelming amount of Japanese netizens don’t seem to understand why so many people are getting upset about the design.

Here’s a close-up of the controversial shirt/helmet combo:

Japan reacts to champion motorcyclist's %22tribute%22 to Japanese people2

As you can see, Marquez is wearing a T-shirt depicting himself wearing a Japanese hachimaki and pulling his eyes to the side mimicking Asian facial features. His signature ant-design helmet has also been given a makeover with a red and white color scheme like the flag of Japan. The helmet also features the same image of “Japanese Marquez” on the front. The design received a lot of criticism from English news sources. Obviously Marquez thought his t-shirt design was a great idea, but decided to issue an apology in English after all of the backlash.

Japan reacts to champion motorcyclist's %22tribute%22 to Japanese people3

Surprisingly, Japanese netizens didn’t seem to understand what was wrong with the shirt:

What’s the big deal? Can someone explain it to me?

What’s wrong here? Is it because the design is old fashioned?

Is the illustration that big of a problem?

You shouldn’t make such a big fuss over something like this.

The slanted eye gesture is well-known in Western countries, but not so known in Japan…

So it appears the world is getting offended on behalf of Japanese people everywhere, but it seems many people in Japan aren’t all that offended. What do you think? Is Marc Marquez’s design in bad taste? Should he have issued that apology?
[ Read in Japanese ]