Friday, December 01, 2006

Just One More, Please?

I realize that the posts of late have been heavy on the pixels and thin on the analysis. However, did anyone else notice the Sheraton advertisement in yesterday's International Herald Tribune?

All I can say is when I saw it, all of my internal fuses blew.

Source: International Herald Tribune. November 30, 2006.

Now I realize that the the advertisement was printed in the Tokyo edition of the IHT...and that not a few of the readers could be members of a family such as the one depicted.

Nevertheless I cannot think of advertisement that presents a multi-ethnic and bi-national (the contrast between the clothes of the mother and daughter and those of the father and the son telegraphs without much mystery which two nations the creators were thinking of) family--with clearly transracial children as the focal point of the image-- in such nonchalant and unmannered pose.

Where the sub-conscious message, if the advertisement is to be at all effective, must be:

" Ideal families like this one stay at our hotels."

Perhaps images like this have passed before my eyes before without registering...but I see a revolutionary transition.

And again, I will admit, the advertisement is focused on a highly select group where such pairings and children are not infrequent.

Nevertheless, that an American corporation (again, admittedly, a multi-national) would shout out, "These are our customers" is stunning.

Think of the bi-nationals peppering Japanese visual advertizing--Miyazawa Rie, the Vivi stable, Tsuchiya Anna, Rinka, the ubiquitous Becky, the nearly-as-ubiquitous Hashimoto Reika--has one ever see them in a family shot with both their parents? (Divorces notwithstanding)

Newscasters Takigawa Crystal or Masai Maya (what a name!) with their parents?

Has anyone ever seen a group shot of Darvish Yū with his parents?

Mayhap that I am an isolated fossil, but what a long trip it seems (shorter in the transnational elite readership of the International Herald Tribune than elsewhere, of course) when multi-ethnicity and multi-nationality moves from the exotic and edgy to a cosmopolitan bourgeouis norm.

OK, so much for the social commentary.

Back to more serious topics, like the Minshutō's canine obsession.

1 comment:

Jun Okumura said...

On the other hand, how often have we seen Daisuke Matsuzaka with his parents? Kiyohara? We do get to see a lot of Miyazato Ai's dad, but that's partly because, as the Japanese version of Richard Williams, he used to provide a lot of shukanshi fodder. Any newscasters? Other celebrities? In fact, parents of athletes and tarentos tend to stay out of sight, (unless you are Wilma McNabb), most likely out of choice.

In any case, that is a world apart from the relatively high-income (like you), predominantly gaijin (I suppose) IHT readership, which I assume also includes a wide swathe of interracial couples. Now a disproportionately large number of long-term gaijin residents that I know here have/had Japanese, or Asian, partners. My guess is that the same holds true for other places in Asia, and it's quite possible that these people do a lot of vacationing. If I'm right, it makes at least some business sense to put an interracial couple in that ad. And of course, Hilton didn't get to be "International" by staying "American", did it?

Incidentally, that ad features an Asian female and a Caucasian male, not the opposite race-gender combination. I'm guessing that's because there are more professional opportunities for men than women, (I hope) not because we Japanese men are intrinsically less attractive than Japanese women.


BTW, I'm having a lot of trouble aligning images on my blog. Do you think that geeky buddy of yours, MTC, could tell me where to find the code that does the trick for you?