Kiko Mizuhara (26) has lived in Japan since her childhood and works as a professional model and an actress. She had her acting debut in internationally known Norwegian Wood in 2010 and has been featured in numerous fashion magazines – she has also been appointed as CHANEL ambassador.
Despite Mizuhara’s success, she has a very controversial image in Japan. She has caused several incidents in past, including some Instagram posts featuring symbols related to Japan’s imperialistic past. This time, however, Mizuhara is bashed for something she can’t do anything to.
Twitter users demanding Suntory to use a Japanese
A few weeks ago, Suntory released a new commercial to advertise one of their beer brands, The Premium Malts.
— ザ・プレミアム・モルツ (@PremiumMalts_jp) 2017年9月7日
In the commercial, you can see Mizuhara enjoying some beef and Suntory’s beer. It’s not really different from Suntory’s earlier commercials – the only real difference is that the lead actress is Mizuhara who has no Japanese roots. Mizuhara was born in Texas, USA to a South-Korean mother and an American father.
After the release of the campaign, the tweet was flooded with racist comments. Many of them included a question: “Why didn’t you use a Japanese person for this commercial?” and many commenting also used a word zainichi (literally meaning a foreigner living in Japan) which has a very racist connotation in Japan.
The racist comments were partially stopped by Twitter Japan’s official account but the conversation continued for days on the social media. While the incident was denounced racist by many Japanese news sites such as Huffington Post Japan, some Twitter users didn’t agree. A few even argued that asking Suntory to use a Japanese person for their commercials is no different from asking a restaurant to use Japanese ingredients for their dishes, and is therefore in no way racist.
Mizuhara also bashed for going braless
Aside from her roots, Mizuhara is also harshly criticized for a completely another matter. Mizuhara appeared on NTV’s famous talk show, Shabekuri 007 yesterday (18th September) where she confessed that she loves going braless. She said that she finds putting on a bra bothersome and stated that she isn’t really fond of the stereotype that women should always wear a bra.
While going braless is no longer that big of a deal in many other countries, it’s still a rather controversial matter in Japan. Mizuhara frequently gets comments on her Instagram about her attire and the matter was discussed in a more or less negative manner on SNS this time as well.
On a famous Japanese message board, Mizuhara’s attire in the above picture was condemned “indecent” and she was called “an exposure maniac”. Some also stated their wish that she should “think about the feelings of the people watching”.
Kiko Mizuhara is currently in the middle of promoting a romantic movie, Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy to Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Girl (A Boy Who Wished to be Okuda Tamio And A Girl Who Drove All Men Crazy) where she is co-starring with Satoshi Tsumabuki.