Internet users were snorting in derision after participants on a Fuji TV entertainment show wore T-shirts with a bizarre English slogan incorporating a word that some Caucasians might find offensive.
The shirts read: “No Fun No TV Do Honky.” The overall phrase left viewers baffled, while the word “honky” has racial connotations.
The T-shirts were worn by individuals such as comedians and presenters taking part in a marathon entertainment show that aired Saturday through Sunday.
Fuji TV explained that “honky” was supposed to be a play on the Japanese word “honki,” meaning “serious” or “all-out.”
“We just want to alphabetize the word honki to make it catchy,” the broadcaster said in a statement Tuesday to The Japan Times. There was “no special agenda” behind it, the broadcaster said. “We were aware of the word ‘honky,’ but it didn’t occur to us the word could mean something that serious.”
Fuji TV said “honki” was a motto for this year’s edition of the annual 27-hour-long live entertainment show “FNS 27 Jikan Terebi: MechaMecha Pinchitteru! Honki ni Narenakya Terebija Nai Jan” (“FNS 27-hours-long TV: Getting super panicky! Without getting serious, there will be no TV”).
By Tuesday, some Twitter users were roaring over what they called the broadcaster’s lack of knowledge of English vocabulary and its unprofessional carelessness.
“So they didn’t even check what the word means beforehand? How stupid,” sneered @pegachan.
“LOL. Talk about the lack of English proficiency!” guffawed @TIMEBOMBGEININ.
The misstep is yet another embarrassment for Fuji TV, which last month “accidentally” ran a subtitle that misrepresented what a South Korean speaker was saying. In a sequence quoting the opinions of passers-by on the streets of Seoul, one speaker was portrayed as saying she “hates” Japan — which bore no resemblance to what she was saying in Korean. The program aired a few weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of normalized ties between Japan and South Korea.
The broadcaster said the subtitle was simply the result of human error and denied online speculation it was trying to stoke anti-Korean sentiment among the Japanese public.
Fuji TV was also responsible for airing a show last week in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried rather unsuccessfully to convince viewers of the benefit of his controversial security bills using paper models and cut-out firefighters.
Twitter users erupted in mockery, pointing out that what was supposed to resemble fire looked instead like raw meat and that Abe’s attempt to liken war to a house fire was childish.