Miyagi to remove ‘sexist’ tourism video after a month of complaints

Kyodo

The Miyagi Prefectural Government said Monday it will remove an online tourism promotional video that has been criticized as sexually suggestive.

The prefecture plans to withdraw the video after a tourism event scheduled for Saturday in Sendai amid unabated complaints from viewers and female members of the prefectural assembly despite an earlier decision to keep it online.

“We need to be considerate toward those who are unhappy and have negative feelings about it,” Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said.

“But I have no doubt the video played its role of attracting visitors to Miyagi Prefecture,” said Murai, who had earlier defended the video.

As part of a Miyagi tourism campaign running through September, the 150-second video features model and actress Dan Mitsu, known for playing erotic roles, as a guide in a kimono.

The video contains suggestive and provocative lines, while there are repeated close-up images of her parting her lips and rubbing the head of an animated turtle.

Monday’s announcement came a month after female assembly members demanded the video be removed. Murai initially refused, arguing the controversy proved the promotional campaign was a success.

The prefectural government said it received about 380 complaints or negative comments about the video via phone calls, emails and letters.

The video was produced jointly by the Miyagi Prefectural Government, the Sendai Municipal Government and East Japan Railway Co. for ¥23 million, part of which came from a reconstruction fund for the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami that devastated large areas of the Tohoku region.

“The video has already gained a number of views and served its purpose of promotion to a certain degree,” an official in charge of the campaign said without commenting on the association between the latest decision and the criticism.

Saturday’s campaign event in Sendai will feature Mitsu as the main guest.