TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Nike Japan video advertisement drawing attention to bullying and racism in schools has sparked a severe backlash from the Japanese public, with many threatening to boycott the international sports brand.
The two-minute commercial, titled "The Future Isn't Waiting," was released on YouTube last Friday (Nov. 27) and has accumulated more than 10 million views. It features three female Japanese student soccer players of mixed race who are bullied at school for being different.
Although Nike Japan said the video is based on the "real-life experiences of athletes" and that it highlights how people overcome their daily struggles through sports, many Japanese netizens slammed the company for misrepresenting modern Japanese society and being prejudiced.
Meanwhile, others, including Japanese soccer player Shiho Shimoyamada, offered positive comments about the commercial and applauded its "powerful" message. They said the video directly addresses deeply rooted problems in Japanese society, including its push for homogeneity, according to CNA.
Nike is not the first Western brand to be threatened with a boycott for touching on sensitive topics in Asia. Last year, French luxury brand Christian Dior angered Chinese consumers for presenting a correct map of China that did not include Taiwan, which the authoritarian nation unjustifiably claims as its territory.