Bunny outfit rebuke costs Kanebo


Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. has settled a lawsuit in the Fukuoka High Court with a woman in her 60s who sued the company for forcing her to wear bunny costumes as a form of punishment when she failed to meet her sales target in 2009.

To settle the suit Tuesday, the firm agreed to pay the woman an undisclosed amount of damages, apologized to her and pledged to prevent a recurrence, her representative said.

The resident of Oita Prefecture, who worked at Kanebo Cosmetics Hanbai K.K. in Tokyo, sued the company and her bosses, seeking compensation for emotional distress.

The Oita District Court ruled in the woman’s favor in February, ordering Kanebo to pay ¥220,000 in redress, saying she was forced to wear a costume with a bunny-ear hair band for many hours during a training session at the company’s Oita branch in October 2009 because she did not meet her sales target.

Images of her wearing the rabbit’s outfit were shown at a slide show presentation during another workshop in November, the lower court found.

The woman, dissatisfied with the damages awarded, filed an appeal with the Fukuoka High Court, saying that “the (lower court’s) recognition of emotional distress was not sufficient.”

“(The company) had taken the ruling seriously and was seeking a settlement to resolve the issue,” said an official at Kanebo Cosmetics, the parent of Kanebo Cosmetics Hanbai. “We will take in-house measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”

  • Steven Morris

    You know what? While I feel extremely sorry for the woman who was forced to embarrass herself because of poor sales like that, I also feel very sorry for all of the people in Japan who are forced to BUY their way out of missed sales targets.

    From people I’m close to, I’ve heard plenty of stories about Japanese convenience stores that do this (with New Years platters, etc.) and other retailers including those of makeup companies.

    I would love to see some justice served in regards to those practices as well!

    At any rate, I hope Kanebo (and maybe even some other companies who are watching) learned something from this experience and are sincerely working to prevent future issues.

    • shin shi

      Yeah, both of those things are bad. But you also know what? In the US, there’s a different, potentially worse way of dealing with underperforming people in sales or other positions…

      They’d just fire you.