While this might look like an ordinary Toyota commercial heralding the future of automotive technology, there’s something much deeper going on. Because it offers up a rarity in Japanese advertising –a mixed race family.
It might seem a small thing to someone unfamiliar with racial purity pride of East Asia, but as Japan resident Kat Callahan writes in Jalopnik, it’s a welcome move by Toyota.
Yet it has been a struggle to see much representation of those who choose to make Japan their home despite not being native Japanese. And even up to the point when I first arrived over eight years ago, children of such international/interracial unions were often bullied or ignored and struggled with dual identity of being Japanese but being not-Japanese at the same time, especially if their looks trended towards non-Asian phenotypical features.
Callahan additionally notes: “This advertisement is not an overseas advertisement. It is for domestic consumption, and this is incredibly important given the changing face of Japan.”
Toyota’s decision to highlight the diversity of the country (which has one of the lowest birthrates in the world), while at the same time using English in the advertisement, sends a powerful message to domestic audiences.
Nicely done Toyota.