Japanese Tourism Commercial Taken Down As “Too Sexy”

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Japanese television is known and loved for having some of the oddest shows and commercials. But one particular tourism ad has earned mixed feedback recently, as it was deemed too suggestive.

The commercial was made for the Miyagi Prefecture and starred its official mascot, an anthropomorphized rice ball Musubimaru – we wouldn’t make this up -- alongside model and actress Mitsu Dan.

Dan is known in the entertainment industry for having a sexy aura and sultry voice, which was played out to maximum effect in the commercial.

Members of Miyagi’s Prefectural Assembly and women’s advocacy groups have criticized the commercial for being excessively suggestive, according to Tohoku News via SoraNews24.

In the opening scene, Musubimaru appeared to be bored while lying on the floor. Dan starts to gently stroke the mascot’s head and eventually whispers in a sexy manner “Miyagi, I-cha-u?”

In Japanese pop culture, slowly spelling out the syllables of a word would often connote something sexual. This is further amplified by Dan’s wordplay. “Miyagi ichau” would generally mean “Let’s go to Miyagi.” However, “ichau” also means “to ejaculate” depending on the context.

Musubimaru’s nosebleed reaction (a bleeding rice ball?) to Dan’s whisper also does not help to dissipate the sexual innuendo. A nosebleed in Japanese pop culture often refers to a person having sexual thoughts. There’s more, including a suggestive flying turtle, but you’ve probably heard enough.

Due to the complaints, the Miyagi Regional Promotion Council announced that would take down the video. But you can still watch it here.

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