/

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.

    • Yuki

      Some anime characters have big boobs. Deal with it. The whole point of the advertising campaign is to get otaku to come to that city, since that’s where the series happens. Also, she’s older than the other students I think.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        So, really what you’re saying is ‘This place only wants anime geek visitors, who will be disappointed to find that there is lots of farming, and not a lot of plastic ladies with big chests’. Sounds like a great way to run a tourism campaign! I’m sure that those geeks will go once, and never go back.

      • Yuki

        Washinomiya Shrine still has tons of otaku coming to it, and Lucky Star ended years ago…

        Also, to be honest, who else is gonna come to a farming town? I’m sure it is a beautiful place but most tourists are looking for more bang. They may not have a lot else to offer.

        And I assure you I have zero interest in plastic ladies with big chests haha… maybe some cute farming guys tho.

      • zer0_0zor0

        Sure, and the yakuza that control the sex industry didn’t have any influence on this marketing scheme by city hall…

      • Yuki

        I respectfully doubt that the yakuza spend much time watching anime :P

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        I think the public is “deal”ing with it – providing valuable feedback about good taste.

      • blondein_tokyo

        What you are actually saying is that its okay to sexualize teenage girls to appeal to older men. In other words, if you make some money, promoting pedophilia and the sexual abuse of women is okay.
        You’re a Japanese guy, yes? Do you ever wonder why women from other countries look down on Japanese men and think they are all perverts? Yeah. I think you know. Or maybe you feel proud that Japan has a reputation for sleazy men peeving on young girls, groping on the subway, and child porn.
        Just in time for the Olympics! You go, Japan.

      • Blair

        teenage girls sexualize themselves the world over…it’s the springtime of their lives

      • blondein_tokyo

        I see the concept of “female sexual autonomy” has utterly escaped you.

      • Blair

        I see the concept of “art imitating life” has entirely escaped you

      • blondein_tokyo

        If you mean men drawing overly sexualised, denigrating cartoons of anatomically-impossible women who are utterly compliment being an imitation of real life men who overly sexualise teen girls and denigrate them sexually while wishing they were as compliant as cartoon women, then I couldn’t agree more.

        You’re spot on, there.

      • Blair

        Some prefer a vagina kayak…Hey whatever floats your boat

      • blondein_tokyo

        Ahahahaha!!! You’re so funny……in a sad, sad, way.

        Laughing AT you…not with you.

        Go home, Mr. Trolly troll. You’re drunk.

      • Blair

        I’m perfectly at home here in Japan. Seems you’re not…sad

    • Yuki

      Some anime characters have big boobs. Deal with it. The whole point of the advertising campaign is to get otaku to come to that city, since that’s where the series happens. Also, she’s older than the other students I think.

    • Blair

      I met my wife at 22 when she was 18 and very closely as endowed as this representation…She looked like honey sunshine on the first day of spring. 30 years and 5 children later she still looks that way to me. My youngest daughter is now a 3rd year high school student and has begun expressing her awakening sexuality through dress. The natural rhythm of life is something a farming community understands more than those who “have never”…Perhaps a society that is so repulsed by female sexuality that it forces women to wear a burqa is more suitable for you

  • 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’.

    • Blair

      If Abe’s goal of having women in 30% of management positions and your criteria meet, a job in the civil service would be 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?”

    • Tabula Rasa

      They were tweeting from some planet where women have privilege and not men?

    • blondein_tokyo

      Who are they implying is doing the harassment? It’s usually the men who decide to take off their clothes and flash unsuspecting women.
      But if this elderly lady has herself a kinky Domme/sub relationship with a young man, then good on her!

  • 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.

    • Blair

      the Olympics where women compete in their underwear

      • blondein_tokyo

        This comparison is probably the stupidest thing I’ve read today, and there is a mighty lot of stupid in these comments. I mean, I don’t even feel like I need to articulate why it’s stupid, or point out the logical fallacy you’ve committed by comparing two completely unrelated things.

        Yes…this is the kind of stupid where all we need to do is point and laugh.

      • Blair

        Yuk it up, while “the World” tunes into beach volleyball in record numbers…riveting sport that it is

      • blondein_tokyo

        Um…okay.

      • Blair

        point being…The Olympics will show “the world” what it thinks of women as close ups of derriers permeate the airwaves…and “the world” will respond by tuning in in record numbers

  • 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?

    • Tabula Rasa

      Ummm…I don’t think anyone was looking at her face. Kudos to you, though.

      Maybe some people have just had enough of this or maybe it has something to do with the recent controversy with the mascot for the ama divers.

    • Tabula Rasa

      Ummm…I don’t think anyone was looking at her face. Kudos to you, though.

      Maybe some people have just had enough of this or maybe it has something to do with the recent controversy with the mascot for the ama divers.