Father is shown doing so little to help around the house some people wonder if he’s even alive.

Before we dive into this commercial from Japanese home construction company Universal Home, you’ll need to know one Japanese phrase: Chotto matte ne. It means “Wait just a minute,” and you’ll hear media personality Miki Fujimoto, the ad’s star, say it several times during the 15-second video.

The first chotto matte comes when Fujimoto is washing dishes, and her character’s energetic young daughter comes running up and says “Mama, let’s play!”

“Chotto matte ne.”

The video then cuts to Fujimoto vacuuming her living room…

“Mama, read me a story.”
“Chotto matte ne.”

…and by the time we get to the harried mom hanging laundry, she doesn’t even have time to let her daughter make her full request.

“Mama –“
“Chotto matte ne.”

But Fujimoto’s life takes a turn for the better at the video’s six-second mark, when the onscreen text tells us she’s moved into a brand-new home (built by Universal Home, of course). The new house is filled with modern creature comforts, such as an automated dishwashing machine (still a relative rarity in Japan). So this time, all Daughter has to say is “Mama…,” and Fujimoto cheerfully reacts with “Let’s play!”, which makes her daughter jump for joy.

Pretty sweet story, right? Except, wait, go back up for a second…Who’s that guy on the couch?

Oh, that’s Dad, who we next see standing next to Fujimoto and observing:

“You don’t have to say ‘Wait just a minute’ anymore, do you?

▼ A line he delivers while she’s still apparently cleaning something.

A number of Japanese viewers who saw the ad were startled by the father’s sudden appearance, and then disappointed at the delayed realization that, as busy as the family’s lifestyle seems to be, he’s never seen lifting a finger to pitch in with the housework. Comments on Twitter have included:

“When he says (You don’t have to say ‘Wait just a minute’ anymore, do you?’, all I can think is ‘Why don’t YOU wash the dishes?’”

“Even if he doesn’t want to wash the dishes, can’t he at least say ‘Mom is busy washing the dishes, so I’ll play with you’ to their daughter? What a jerk.”

“Wait, she had a husband the whole time? Where was he hiding in the other scenes?”

“I’m betting the team that made this commercial are all men.”

“It would have been a lot more modern if they’d shown the dad loading the dishwasher. The atmosphere of the video is outdated.”

Not everyone was so quick to throw Dad under the bus, though. Some theorized that he might be the family’s sole breadwinner, and in the earlier scenes he’s not around because he’s at work. Others mentioned the possibility that he might indeed handle his share of the chores, but that in the one scene he does show up in, it’s Mom’s turn to wash the dishes. And the end of the ad does at least show Mom, Dad, and Daughter all playing together, so it’s not like he’s totally disinterested in family life.

And then there was the commenter who, perhaps based on the husband’s frequent invisibility and ethereally white wardrobe, offered this possible explanation:

“The dad is dead. That’s just his ghost checking in.”

Still, for husbands of the non-dead variety, if your wife and the mother of your children is as busy as Fujimoto is in the video, and you happen to be around the house, helping out is probably a good idea, especially if you don’t want your wife to become murderously frustrated with you.

Sources: YouTube/ユニバーサルホーム公式チャンネル, Twitter
Images: YouTube/ユニバーサルホーム公式チャンネル
[ Read in Japanese ]