Updated: June 10, 2020 5:37:18 pm
After facing severe backlash for its depiction of African Americans, Japanese Public Broadcaster NHK has apologised and taken down from its Twitter account a controversial anime video clip which attempted to explain the reasons behind the recent spate of protests in the United States.
The minute-long video clip, which was also aired on NHK’s ‘The World Now’ children’s programme on Sunday, was widely criticised for misleading the public and misrepresenting the Black Lives Matter Movement, The Guardian reported. It featured a tough-looking black man holding up his fists and claiming that protests in the United States were caused due to the wealth gap between black and white Americans.
According to CNN, the video clip failed to mention the custodial killing of unarmed African American George Floyd. Instead, the animated character is heard saying that the unrest was caused due to more black people losing their jobs than white people during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We apologize for our lack of consideration and for making people feel uncomfortable,” NHK tweeted, after taking down the video clip.
While we understand @NHK‘s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video. The caricatures used are offensive and insensitive.
— ジョセフ・M・ヤング 駐日米国臨時代理大使 (@USAmbJapan) June 9, 2020
Reacting to the issue, Joseph M Young, the chargé d’affaires ad interim at the US embassy in Tokyo tweeted: “While we understand @NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video. The caricatures used are offensive and insensitive.”
Several social media users called out the broadcaster for perpetuating stereotypes about the African American community. Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka reacted to the video with a GIF of popular talk show host Steve Harvey on Twitter.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) June 8, 2020
Japan-based African American writer Bay McNeil tweeted, “There is absolutely nothing redeeming about it! If you don’t understand the real issues in the US you should just ask, or do your homework! Not give your viewers nonsense and misinformation while clowning us like this! This is so bad!”
I’m sorry we do not accept your lame excuses anymore. You claim ignorance about blackness and YET you feel empowered to make offensive racist commentary on black issues / #BLM without consulting anyone! If you need help we are here but THIS BS is #UNACCEPTABLE @nhk_sekaima pic.twitter.com/Y43IKcV953
— Baye McNeil (@BayeMcneil) June 8, 2020
NHK took down that awful video, but disappointing boilerplate apology. They say they received from listeners “criticism that the animation did not accurately represent the reality of the situation, etc.” That “etc.” is doing an awful lot of heavy lifting.https://t.co/FVq7ZHtwuJ
— Rochelle Kopp (@JapanIntercult) June 9, 2020
Why racist manga & animation? There’s plenty of video that can be used of what’s actually going on in USA re George Floyd, police brutality, economic inequality, political extremism. Not everything has to cater to kawaii anime/manga tastes. This is racist: https://t.co/PNay9BZKN2
— S Olson (@ThatVDOVault) June 10, 2020
Japan’s NHK have once again shown their foul levels of ignorance. Offensive, racist, uninformed, and not even addressing the heart of the matter: the murder of George Floyd.
— zain (@InzainMembrane) June 10, 2020
An apology is not enough, it is incumbent on NHK to reverse the damage they have done by educating their young audience about why this video is racist.
— John Hernlund (@Hernlund) June 10, 2020
Nowhere in the apology is there an acknowledgement of how racist the caricatures were. There’s no direct apology to black people, no mention of holding the people who created this accountable, and you don’t say how #NHK will #DOBETTER & prevent this from happening again.
— queen daphne. (@daphmeme) June 10, 2020
On Saturday, hundreds of people took to the streets in Tokyo to protest against police brutality as part of the global demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
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