Nike Takes on Racial Discrimination in Japan and Causes a Firestorm

    By Sam Roth - Dec 4, 2020
    Nike Takes on Racial Discrimination in Japan and Causes a Firestorm

    Nike’s newest 2-minute spot, which aims to show the unifying power of sports while highlighting racial discrimination in Japan, has created a stir in the nation famous for shying away from issues like race relations.

    The Wieden+Kennedy created short depicts the ‘real lives’ of bi-racial and minority adolescents in Japan who need to overcome bullying and racism in their everyday lives. While not explicitly stated in the ad, it strongly hints at deep-rooted prejudices in Japanese culture.

    It’s beautifully shot, features some crafty camera work, and has many Japanese up in arms. Morley Robertson, a Japanese-American journalist, told BBC News: “Many Japanese do not like to be told by outside voices to change their ways. But if a foreigner demonstrates a deep understanding of Japanese culture or Japanese rules, then those same Japanese who would otherwise take offense will gush forth with praise.”

    Nike, a brand that is well-accustomed to controversy, issued a statement on their website stating “We have long listened to minority voices, supported and spoken for causes that fit our values.”

    The spot actually ends on a high note, showing the power that sports have to bring people together and initiate change.

    25 million people have viewed it on social media and almost 80,000 have shared it.

    Take a look for yourself and see what you think.

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