Japan’s public broadcaster has taken down an anime video explaining the “Black Lives Matter” movement after receiving criticism that the video was offensive and failed to explain the complex racial issues accurately.
The video, about 80 seconds long, showed a black man talking in rough Japanese about the background of the US protests.
He explained that the underlying causes of the unrest included a growing wealth gap between white and black Americans, and a higher rate of job loss among the black community due to Covid-19.
However, it did not mention the death of George Floyd or police brutality in the US.
Public broadcaster NHK posted the video on Twitter on Sunday but has since deleted it after receiving heavy criticism online.
Joseph M. Young, the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the US Embassy in Tokyo, said Tuesday that the anime was “offensive and insensitive.”
“While we understand NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video,” he said. “Learning about racial justice and equality is a lifelong endeavor. A great place to start is the ‘Talking About Race’ exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”
Naomi Osaka, a Japanese professional tennis player, also responded to the NHK post with a popular gif of “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey expressing bewilderment.
Other people on Twitter have also responded to NHK’s tweet by calling it “a shame” and for spreading “misinformation” about the unrest.
In a statement, NHK said the animation was part of a 26-minute program that explained the US protests, which also discussed the death of Floyd, the handling of the matter by Donald Trump’s administration, and criticism against it, as well as the deep division in American society.
“We at NHK would like to sincerely apologize for a computer animation clip posted on our Twitter account,” it said. “We regret lacking proper consideration in carrying the clip, and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
On Saturday there were street protests in Tokyo against police brutality as part of a wave of global demonstrations following the death of Floyd in Minneapolis.