Because wearing a kimono will attract a foreign man.

Japan is a country that continues to hold on proudly to its cultural traditions, but according to a controversial poster that resurfaced recently, there are times when the country holds on to some archaic ways of thinking too.

The poster in question actually first appeared in 2016, but after it was shared on Twitter this week, it quickly became a talking point once again. Created to advertise the wares of kimono retailer Ginza Iseyoshi, there are four posters in the series, with several containing controversial messages.

The poster that’s causing the most controversy online is the one that shows a kimono-clad woman crossing an intersection. At the top of the poster is the message: “For those who want to give birth to a haafu child”, with haafu being the Japanese word used to describe a “half-Japanese” biracial person.

The fact that half-Japanese children are being viewed as a hot commodity or accessory has angered people online, and the fact that an advertising campaign would support this kind of thinking has people incensed. The implication of this message also suggests that wearing a kimono will help women to attract a foreign man.

Adding to the anger online is the fact that two other ads in the series also play up to the notion that a woman’s style of dress will open doors for her when it comes to netting a rich man. The poster pictured on the left in the tweet below says, “When you wear kimono, doors become automatic sliding doors”.

And the one below says: “The number of men who hit on you will decrease. The income of those who do hit on you will increase”.

These messages, which focus on dressing to attract a man rather than for one’s own self, had people wondering who was responsible for the copy on the posters. However, people were left reeling when they discovered that the ads were actually written by a female copywriter, who even won a copywriting award for the posters from Tokyo Copywriter’s Club in 2016.

The backlash online was intense, prompting Ginza Iseyoshi to publish a formal apology on their website, which read:

“We have received a number of comments regarding the posters put out by our company in 2016. These posters were intended to attract the attention of people who had no previous interest in kimono, however, we are taking your opinions seriously and will use them as a reference when it comes to future marketing campaigns. We would also like to inform you that we have removed the posters from this page.”

While it’s disappointing that the ads were ever published in the first place, it’s good to see that the company, which was founded in 1879, has chosen to listen to the women of today and change their outdated ways of thinking to align more with the current times. And here’s hoping more people realise that having a biracial child in Japan is far more complicated than simply adding a cool accessory to your wardrobe – after all, as Naomi Osaka will tell you, it’s not easy being half-Japanese.

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: Twitter/@90934384

● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!