Friday Food For Thought: More Tokyo 2021 gaffes and body-shaming in Japan

In the aftermath of Yoshiro Mori’s resignation as the head of the Olympics Committee for his derogatory comments on women, another senior head of the committee has rolled after creative chief Hiroshi Sasaki announced his resignation after suggesting plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe could feature as an “Olympig”. It’s difficult to believe that after Mori’s blunder such thoughtless comments would continue to be made within the committee. Naomi responded maturely to the crude joke stating that she was “surprised” by the suggestion, but that she “happy with her figure“.

Naomi Watanabe (R) said in a press release that she was “happy with her figure”.

Outright body-shaming is not commonly reported upon in Japan, although there are signs that society passively encourages people to address shameful aspects of their bodies, such as mass advertising for diet supplements and hair removal products. One campaign by art student Aoi Murata in Saitama, Tokyo, seeks to address this through targetting companies that show such advertising on their YouTube to change their content. This has seen some companies like razor manufacturer Kai Corp to create atypical advertising of a model proudly displaying her armpit hair, telling consumers that they are the ones who decide what hair is unwanted.

Body-shaming is far from exclusive to Japan, as anyone who read the news during the “Beach Body Ready” advertising fiasco will be aware of. Can you think of other unconventional ways we can change the subtle pressures created by society like Aoi? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits:

“Tokyo 2020” by Koninklijke NKBV is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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