Japanese Video Game Pop Star Called Out for Racism

Illustration for article titled Japanese Video Game Pop Star Called Out for Racism

Singer Reina Tanaka was never a lighting rod for controversy. The twenty year-old is a member of the popular girl group Morning Musume. She has her own anime and a spin-off mobile phone game. That is, until she offended Koreans.

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On the singer's blog, Tanaka posted pictures of herself and fellow Morning Musume members Sayumi Michishige and Eri Kamei in which the girls were "slanting" their eyes.

Tanaka recounted a gag, referring to the images and writing, "Who's this?" The singer continued, adding, "A Korean person."

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Note that in Japan, many Japanese believe that "tsurime" are a physical feature commonly found in South Korea and China.

Illustration for article titled Japanese Video Game Pop Star Called Out for Racism

The idol went on to say that South Korea is in vogue at the moment and Morning Musume members are getting into the South Korean "boom". The images, however, were quickly removed from Tanaka's blog, and the group's agency moved in for damage control. The agency that manages Morning Musume caught heat a few years back when another one of its idol groups nominated Adolf Hitler as a "great person" on network television. The young idols drew pictures of the Nazi dictator and referred to him as "Uncle Hitler".

Many Korean singers have successfully crossed over to the Japanese market with groups like 4Minute and Girls Generation releasing tracks in Japanese.

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According to MTV South Korea, Korean netizens realize the girls were being harmless, but are upset that girls weren't more culturally sensitive.

The three girls apologized for the photos.

Tanaka's mini idol empire was building steam with an anime and a puzzle video game, but in an increasing pan-Asia music industry, ignorance like this doesn't exactly build bridges.

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「韓国人は釣り目のイメージ」騒動で、モー娘が謝罪 [まにあっくすz][Pic]

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DISCUSSION

I think there's a HUGE difference between 'Racism' and 'Racial'

humor.

Racism is thinking one race is better than others. Racial humor is

pointing out the funny or unusual differences between different

cultures and races.

If you ever overheard a converstation between me (white/slavic) and

some of my Asian friends, you would think I was in the Klan and

they were in the... Asian Klan? We go at each other, but it's for

fun.

They are good at math and playing a classical musical intrument,

I'm a drunk, racist, mobster, etc.

We riff on the stereotypes of our race because it's fun. I do the

same with my Indian friends, Hispanic friends, Black friends,

etc.

Of course I dont act that way in front of people who don't know me

well, because in America, we are sooo oversensitive about race

issues. To even mention that there are differences between races

can lead to cries of racism.

I hate the overly politically correct world I have to live in and

take every opportunity to break down those walls with my friends.