Wednesday, 16 June 2010

PostHeaderIcon Bad Japan: Lobotomy Posters

I thought I would take advantage of the old bile I felt this morning.  I've been meaning to write about this ever since I saw the woman above in my school office.  I can't explain the irritating anger I felt when I stared at her face every morning.  Look at how absurd she looks.  It's like a 6 year old girl threatening to beat up her teddy bear for not playing nicely.  I have trouble translating the direct meaning of this poster but I think it's some fire safety advice.  I'm guessing that it says that until a fire is extinguished you should keep an eye on the origin of the fire and move away slowly.  Basically, I have no idea.  My bad Japanese isn't the important point here though; I'll get onto it in a minute.  Here is another picture that I took at my nearest store:

The two posters above are of a similar meaning but they are not the only examples I have seen of a lobotomised Japanese girl being exploited in such a manner.  I feel sorry for them.  Look how confused and vacant they look.  It's a possibility that they put a stupid looking girl on the posters to draw attention to the safety advice.  Perhaps it's suggesting to the general population that you should be on your guard because you might need to save some stupid lassie from a fire.  There is also the argument that they're using an attractive young lady because they're easy on the eye.  Indeed, there is no need to put Takeshi the fireman on the poster as it is the strong, alpha males who need to take on these important messages of safety.  I'd say these women are considered attractive in the "girl next door" sort of appeal.  Personally, I think they look exceptionally plain and boring.

It certainly appears to be the case (as in the rest of the world) that young women are used to sell things.  However, the way they are portrayed or expected to act in Japan really makes me annoyed.  If you look at the women in the posters you can see they have similar traits.  Firstly, they need to look young, cute and vulnerable.  The last factor is something that is greatly more apparent in Japan than anywhere else.  When these women are on television playing (overly impressed) second fiddle to an alpha male host they need to act dumb-founded and amazed at everything.  In television dramas the women are constantly type cast as weak and innocent young kittens who need to find comfort in a man (preferably one who grunts his way through chewing the scenery).  However, by far the most annoying thing is the repeated occurrence of the sickly sweet cuteness that oozes out of them.  Look at their stupid, pouting faces.  They're always trying to pull these faces that make them look like a cross between an anime character and Hello Kitty.  It's very popular to pull poses in photographs that make their hands resemble paws or something.  The most annoying thing in the posters above is the pose.  The weak fist clench goes hand in hand with the bastardised English word of fight.  In Japanese, it becomes faaiitooo and is an awful attempt to translate ganbatte.  This basically means to try your best, to persist towards the goal, keep going in the face of adversity and to protect the emperor with all your might from the barbarians.  It can get quite annoying to hear the constant choir of screams at a sports day but it is quite good verb to use.  However, some bastard decided that the English equivalent was 'fight'.  This means that you get Japanese people telling you to ganbatte... before trying their luck at English... waving their arm in your face and saying fffaaaiiiitttoo.  I really wish nobody ever does it to me ever again.


Anonymous said...

How fun that you managed to start from lobotomised girls looking vacant yet gesturing 'ganbatte', to Japanese peoples' use of saying the English word 'fight'. It is a really good point though and hope you mention it to your colleagues. That if students grow up learning this ritual and go abroad and do a fist gesture, pronouncing'fffaaaiiiitttoo' = big trouble. Where will the ALT Craigu be then.

Japanese vacant looking girls Vs Italian humiliated women. Could the real female species ever be

Reikalein said...

During my teen years I ran a few races and triathlons in Japan and opted for running with my disc man (this was before I could afford an iPod) once my tolerance for the repeated warbling of "fai-tttoooooo" reached it's peak. The memory of the nasal, high pitched chant alone piss me off.

aussiehisshou said...

Oh how looks can be deceiving.
I don't know too much about the other girls, but I can tell you the one on the bottom left's name is Shiori Kutsuna and she grew up and was born in Australia and moved here in 2006. She would probably shout at you and tell you to stop putting shit on her job cos it brings in the yens.

Ahoy hoy said...

Well, it doesn't change the fact she looks like a simple cretin. Indeed, I think it's worse that she's doing such a job. Actually, I don't care what they do but I find their faces annoying.

I don't mind hearing the endless ganbattteee because at least it is in their own language. Faito is just lost in a world of awfulness.

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.