Lurid Nanjing hoodie riles Chinese
Nordstrom Rack, a subsidiary of the Seattle retail giant Nordstrom Inc, spurred outrage for selling a hoodie showing Japanese soldiers killing Chinese people during the Nanjing Massacre in World War II.
The design on the hooded sweatshirt, labeled HAPPINESS, shows a scene of the pending decapitation of innocent Nanjing civilians taken from the 2009 Chinese film epic Nanking! Nanking! and also distributed in English as City of Life and Death.
Nordstrom Rack received widespread criticism over the weekend for selling the hoodie on its website.
Within hours, it pulled the sweatshirt from its online shelves and offered apologies to those who posted on their Facebook page. The designer of the hoodie also has apologized.
“We are very sorry for this disappointment. This has been shared with our teams, who will be working to remove the item,” Nordstrom replied to a customer complaint on Facebook.
The Nanjing Massacre was a six-week episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese invaders against the residents of Nanjing in December 1937. More than 300,000 people died.
The hoodie’s design also shows the eyes of the soldiers and civilians are overwritten in red. Superimposed on top is an image of a woman on a bench, looking away, and at the top, in scratchy red writing, are the words “Why indifference?”
Outraged shoppers posted messages on Nordstrom’s Facebook and Twitter web pages, demanding apologies.
“It’s completely unacceptable to promote the Nanjing massacre as happiness in your store!” Xie Zhiyong, a senior software engineer, posted on Twitter last Thursday. He also hashtagged “boycott” and “racist”.
“When did Nordstrom hire a Nazi designer?” Jianbin Chen commented last Friday on Facebook.
“How humiliating and base and shameless. Such an imperialist and extremist ignorant business scumbag,” Simon Liu complained on Facebook.
However, no official apology has been issued.
“I’d like to apologize with Chinese community if I may have hurt anyone’s feeling with this post but this picture is actually against war and indifference (“why indifference?” is in fact the title for it),” Andrea Marcaccini, the designer of the hoodie, responded last Friday on Facebook.
“No one ever speaks of that event (China massacre) in the Western world. It is not meant to be offensive in any way, on the contrary it’s a protest against the bigoted and narrow-minded people. This is a demure kind of art, not an insult! This is “Why Indifference?” Of my Lamb of God series. Thanks for ur attention.”
“It’s not ‘IF’ you hurt the Chinese community, you did. By not understanding history and instead profiting from it, I hope no one puts a picture of your ancestors being killed on a shirt called Happiness.” Li Lin commented on Marcaccini’s post.