Ignoring the incredibly stupid catch-phrase, this is offensive. Maybe not so much to you… and honestly, not hugely so to me.
However, I recognise that this is something that’s going to offend one helluva lot of people in Asia.
Pretty much every culture has images that invoke shame, just ask Dave Seanor, the Rising Sun flag is one. Chris Sprow over at Chicago Sports Weekly raises concerns, and at one blog reporting this – On 205th – a commenter questioned,
“how would you feel if the dallas mavericks advertised dirk with a nazi flag?”
Some of the responses declared it ridiculous to equate the Rising Sun to the Swastika. It’s amazing that people with absolutely no idea as to how this would be received in Japan/Asia feel qualified to issue judgment as to how offensive it is.
“…to equate anything with the nazi flag is just an emotional appeal.”
“I would be shocked if anyone besides bloggers are “offended” by this image…”
Well, prepare to be shocked.
The ‘nazi flag’? Actually, that’s a pretty accurate comparison. Most people in Japan hold this particular symbol in the same regard as Germans hold the symbols of nazism.
Just recently, there was somewhat of a furor in the US over the use of a noose on the cover of Golfweek, covering the story over comments made by the incredibly insensitive Kelly Tilghman. Whilst the intentions may not have been to cause anyone to be upset, the reality was that it did indeed offend a great deal of people. The end result is that the editor in charge – Dave Seanor – lost his job, and Golfweek received a lot of damaging press. The similarities between these two promotions are there. Within US culture, that’s a symbol that invokes very, very negative emotions. The Rising Sun flag raises a lot of the same emotions within Asia.
Obviously, the Cubs didn’t do their homework into how this would be received in Asia. China and South Korea will find this very offensive, and in Japan it’s already being received with anger and disgust. Fukudome’s an immensely popular player in Japan, and in particular in Nagoya, a large city that as yet has no particular ties to any baseball team in the Majors.
Tokyo has Matsui, and it’s Tokyo Giants have strong ties to the Yankees.
Hideki Okajima was born near Osaka.
One of Nagoya’s favourite sons is Kousuke Fukudome… and they have… well, they had the Chicago Cubs. At least for a little while.
It’s amazing that Chicago could make a faux pas of this magnitude. Risking alienating a fanbase that you’ve only just attracted… it beggars belief.