A Nike advertisement on racism in Japan divided social media users in the country. The ad prompted some to call for a boycott of the company's products, while others hailed it by calling it "accurate" depiction of Japanese society.
The two-minute-long ad, titled "The Future Isn't Waiting," featured teenaged schoolgirl footballers from different ethnic backgrounds — Japanese, Korean and mixed-race (Japanese mother and black father).
It showed the Japanese girl being pressured by her family to improve her grades, while the mixed-race girl was bullied in school as her schoolmates touched her hair. Similarly, the Korean girl is shown searching for information online about "zainichi situation" — a term used for Koreans who are in minority in Japan.
The video raked up more than 14 million views and nearly 65,000 likes on Twitter. However, what followed was a tirade against Nike.
One Twitter user asked: "Is it so much fun to blame Japan?"
Other user tweeted: "Is Japan really such a country full of discrimination? It feels like you're creating a false impression of Japan."
Another user declared: "I won't buy Nike ever again!"
However, other Twitter users were supportive of the ad's message.
"This is amazing. I feel like I've never seen a commercial that cuts into the issue of living in Japan and minorities in Japanese advertising," said one user.
"This made me cry. It would be wonderful if we could stop young people having thoughts like this," another user wrote.
Japan is a racially homogenous country, however, there have been sportspersons with a different ethnic background who have been celebrated by Japanese. Nike did not address the criticism. However, the company's website states that Nike believed that sports could bring in a change in people's lives.
"We have long listened to minority voices, supported and spoken for causes that fit our values," the website stated. "We believe sports have the power to show what a better world looks like, to bring people together and encourage action in their respective communities."