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Gifu city’s sexually suggestive tourism promotion sparks Twitter outrage

by

Staff Writer

A controversial flyer featuring an anime character with accentuated breasts has landed a small city tourism agency in hot water, with calls it is tantamount to sexual harassment.

At the center of the furor is the flyer put out by the tourism office in the Gifu city of Minokamo depicting Kocho Yoshida, a fictional teenage girl with a buxom figure.

The promotion, which caused a ruckus on Twitter over the weekend, is being used in a drive to attract anime fans from across the nation.

“This is definitely sexual harassment. To think the flyer is an official project of the city’s tourism agency . . . it’s creepy” said Twitter user @Dakaoda.

“I do think healthy-looking women are beautiful. But this illustration is actually making it difficult for families and couples to go visit the city,” another, @gintatakamatuoda, wrote.

The flyer was taken down Sunday at JR Mino-ota Station in response to the outcry, said Takafumi Kiriyama, an official with the tourism agency. The latest anime promotion was launched in early November.

“We will decide what to do with it after further discussion. We may end up continuing to use the same flyer in the end or redesign it where necessary,” he said.

Kiriyama said officials did not believe the flyer was offensive when it was being designed, adding that the tourism agency, despite the uproar, still does not believe it is demeaning to women.

Kocho Yoshida is the fourth character from the TV anime series “No-rin” — a romantic comedy set in the city’s real-life agricultural high school — that the agency has adopted as a mascot for its promotional flyers.

Past flyers made by the agency, all based on different characters from the series, spurred no such public anger, Kiriyama noted.

Although the agency is in charge of designing the entire flyer, Yoshida’s image itself was borrowed from a production company, he said.

The controversy over the use of sexually-suggestive anime character as a mascot by a city for promotional purposes is not the first.

The city of Shima, Mie Prefecture, which is hosting next year’s Group of Seven summit, scrapped its use of a similarly controversial mascot early last month. The anime character, a 17-year-old aspiring ama diver named Aoshima Megu, sparked the ire of real-life ama divers who said her appearance was overly sexual and that it demeaned their profession.

  • Editor_in_Charge

    LOL …..just watch Coro street,….lot more xleavage then that….LOOOOL and vulgar language.

  • Ron NJ

    “Kiriyama said officials did not believe the flyer was offensive when it was being designed”
    What’s that, a bunch of dirty old men that have been pandered to their entire lives don’t feel that a sexually suggestive and impossibly-endowed representation of a teenage girl is perhaps inappropriate?! Well I never.

  • Hendrix

    Yet another example of the sexism so deeply rooted in Japan, they really don’t think there is anything wrong with objectifying women until a group of people make a complaint and face is lost, then the silly bowing and fake apologies will start.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Yes, truly Japan is ‘A society where women can shine’!*

    *Women who wish to ‘shine’ should be young, have the body of an adult video star, and exist only to satisfy men’s most base desires. Other women need not consider ‘shining’.

  • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

    I saw some comments on Twitter that made a good point. Apparently, there was some award or event show where a man was pretty much nude standing by an elderly woman (I don’t think any mention of that has appeared on Japan Times just yet). They posted a picture of that next to this Gifu flyer and asked “Sexual harassment?”

  • Blair

    Maybe the departments of fertility and tourism got together on this one

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    “Calling all over-sexed single males, please come visit us. We can’t promise you’ll find any girls with cleavage like this here, but, if you bring a full wallet who knows?”

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

    • Blair

      Pop into a local”snack” and forget your troubles for a moment

  • blondein_tokyo

    Good work, Japan. Just in time for the Olympics! Show the whole world what you *really* think of women.

  • Magus

    “Sexual harassment”, right.
    Let’s call this inappropiate and sexist (女性を軽視している), people.

    The overuse of this セクシャルハラスメント word in Japanese banalizes the horrible experiences of women who have really suffered “bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors”, which is the real meaning of these words.

  • Double Cross

    Why is all the conversation about her boob size and not about how she looks utterly terrified? Looking up some other Gifu No-rin posters, the other characters (who are also very busty) are happy in their promo art, but Kocho always seems to be depicted in a state of discomfort… and usually of irritation – not fear.

    (Of course, she’s also had her buttons undone down to the underbust, which doesn’t seem to be the case for any other character or in any of the other artwork for the show…)

    Has that not hit anyone as the reason this one might have received the particular “sexual harassment” criticism?