In McDonald’s New Japanese Ad Campaign, The Wacky Foreigner Joke’s on Americans

August 19th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Put on your glasses or pop in your contacts and get a good look at the picture below, because this is what karma looks like:


Meet “Mr. James,” new face of a McDonald’s ad campaign in Japan. Mr. James is a Wacky Foreigner in Japan who speaks broken Japanese, wears the archetypal nerd uniform of glasses, a short-sleeved shirt with a tie, and ill-fitting khaki pants, has bad teeth, and–we’re only guessing here–is probably someone who’s never gotten laid. Sound familiar?

Clockwise from top left: Wacky Hiro Nakamura from Heroes, Wacky Engrish-Speaking Kentucky Fried Chicken-Grilled Chicken Lovers, I Survived a Japanese Game Show‘s Wacky Host Rome Kanda, Wacky Engrish-Speaking Six Flags Guy

Oh right. Usually THAT GUY has slanty-eyes.

Interestingly, there are some foreigners and non-natives in Japan riled up about this humiliating depiction of themselves, going so far as to compare Mr. James to Stepin Fetchit. Because there aren’t enough positive depictions of beautiful and sophisticated foreigners selling things to the Japanese, apparently. Arudou Debito, née David Aldwinckle, an American who’s become a naturalized Japanese citizen, writes:

I think a strongly-worded letter from registered NPO FRANCA to McDonald’s USA HQ regarding the issues of stereotyping here would be warranted. Hell, you think McD USA would start putting up a full-body “ching-chong-chinaman” with funny glasses and protruding teeth, saying ‘Me likee McFlied Lice.’ You think that would fly over there? If not, it shouldn’t be allowed over here.”

Guess he hasn’t seen this Six Flags commercial, which began running last year, or this KFC commercial for their new Grilled Chicken, which has been running all summer.

Karma’s one wacky bitch, isn’t it?


[Japan Probe: Mr. James: McDonald's Japan has a gaijin clown]
[Mr. James's Official Blog]

[UPDATE: Japan Probe says we "don't care" about white people. We respond.]

Thanks, Josh!

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