"Are You Proud Of This?" – M'sian Sushi Restaurant Slammed For 'Slanted-Eye' Racism In Ad
Nippon Sushi, a halal Malaysian sushi restaurant franchise, recently recruited a local TikTok influencer to do a skit to promote their Penang outlet. The move, however, has been deemed insensitive and offensive.
The one-minute-four-second video starts with the TikToker reading a comment in Japanese, asking him if he has ever tried Japanese food before. To which he responds by saying ware wa toshiba ike ike daikon (random Japanese words).
He then went to a Nippon Sushi branch in Penang, entered the restaurant, and greeted the cashier before looking around the restaurant for something. There, he spotted two men eating sushi and approached them, asking if the sushi was good.
To which one of them responded with, "Oshii".
The frame quickly cuts to the TikToker's face with his eyes pulled back with tape on each side as he grunts
He was then shown to be struggling with using chopsticks to eat sushi and acted dissatisfied and slammed the table, albeit softly, using his fists.
The TikToker then gave up on the chopsticks and picked up a piece of sushi and shoved it in his mouth before giving a grunt of approval.
The video ends with a few shots of sushi from Nippon Sushi that are meant to look delectable.
Aside from the TikToker's account, the video was also posted on Nippon Sushi Malaysia's social media platforms
Following the backlash, however, the video has been deleted.
The TikToker in question is from Malaysia and currently has one million followers on the app.
The comments under the video on Nippon Sushi's Instagram and Twitter posts showed that people were unhappy and disappointed with the company's way of advertising
Many netizens called out Nippon Sushi for being racist and insensitive. Many also went on to say that they would never visit their restaurants ever again.
"So stupid, as if they don't even live in this more and more progressive and inclusive world. I went [to Nippon Sushi] last week for the first time. It looks like we're never returning to your ridiculously tone-deaf team of people. May you not prosper in your foolishness and ignorance," a netizen replied.
Other than the wave of angry responses and calls for a boycott, some also pointed out the audacity of the actors in the video to use the Japanese language incorrectly.
"I mean are the slanted eyes really necessary? It's racist. And why even use Ike Ike? It doesn't even fit the context of serving food. You can actually use Iraisshaimase for a greeting when he comes into the store. I'm sure you know it since you're serving Japanese food," one user wrote.
One user even pointed out that the word Oshii said by one of the actors in the video, actually meant 'regrettable' and that the correct word should be Oishii.
"Did you guys [Nippon Sushi Team] do a roundtable meeting to discuss what ware wa toshiba ike ike daikon (random Japanese words) actually means? I am seriously suffering second-hand embarrassment from this influencer's content.
When contacted by SAYS, Siti Noraini, the owner of Nippon Sushi, issued a statement on the controversial video and took full responsibility
In the statement, Nippon Sushi said that they have taken note of the backlash and how the content used is unsuitable for a multicultural community and their corporate brand.
"I, Siti Noraini, as the owner of Nippon Sushi, take full responsibility for every mistake and error we have made in regards to the video. Nippon Sushi had no intention of making fun of any religion or race in the video production," read the statement.
"Social media is Nippon Sushi's main marketing platform to promote our foods and brand. We have collaborated with many individuals and influencers on Facebook and Instagram throughout the four years of our business."
"This was our first attempt [to promote] via TikTok and our excitement has led us to overlook the issue that has arisen. We admit to our weaknesses and take every comment by netizens and customers seriously," the statement continued.