Extract from an advertising spot for Japanese DHC cosmetics.

In Japan, the discriminatory remarks of Yoshiaki Yoshida, president and founder of DHC, the Japanese champion of cosmetics and dietetics, towards South Koreans are endlessly controversial. The case dates back to November 2020, when Mr. Yoshida attacks Japanese beverage giant Suntory. “The models hired for Suntory’s commercials are almost all Korean-Japanese mixed race. This is why we make fun of the company on the Internet by using the nickname chontory, he wrote on the company’s website. “Chon” is a word used in Japan to denigrate and insult South Koreans. And Mr. Yoshida to add that DHC models are all “Purely Japanese”.

These comments took a long time to react in Japan. No complaints were filed, but calls were made to boycott DHC products. “I don’t[en] will not buy, as long as its leader makes such blatantly discriminatory remarks “, said Kanako Otsuji, member of the Constitutional Democratic Party (PDC, opposition). And since then, the critics have fired.

“They can return to their country”

With the approach of the Tokyo Olympics, which convey a strong message against discrimination, the Minister of Justice, Yoko Kamikawa, ruled in early April, “Important that companies take the initiative to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including hate speech, and that they act with respect for human rights”.

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“Putting online of these discriminatory words [sur le site Internet de l’entreprise] cannot be ignored by our city, which is committed to respecting human rights ”, said, Tuesday 1er June, Hiroshi Kikuchi, mayor of the city of Shimotsuma, located north of Tokyo. A few hours earlier, DHC had agreed to remove the comments from its site, while specifying that the company would not comment on this choice. In fact, until then, she saw nothing wrong with the positions taken by her boss, which are not new.

In 2016, Mr. Yoshida, 80, lashed out at those “Who become Japanese and say bad things about Japan”, in an allusion to Japanese people of South Korean origin. “We don’t need these pseudo-Japanese, these fake Japanese. They can return to their country. “

Conspiracy theories

DHC, which is based in South Korea, also funds an online television channel, DHC TV. The media conveys conspiracy and Trumpist theories. His showToranomon News » is frequently hosted by far-right figures, such as the writer denying the crimes of Imperial Japan during WWII, Naoki Hyakuta, or the equally denialist political commentator, Genki Fujii. Anti-South Korean comments are not uncommon there. In 2019, South Korean actress Jung Yu-mi gave up her collaboration with DHC Korea following contemptuous comments on DHC TV.

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