Fol­low-up: Girl band’s pro­ducer is­sues apol­ogy for Nazi-like cos­tumes

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

SONY Mu­sic and the pro­ducer be­hind a Ja­panese girl band that per­formed in mil­i­tary-style cos­tumes re­sem­bling Nazi uni­forms apol­o­gised on Novem­ber 1 fol­low­ing a protest lodged by the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter.

Teeny-bop­pers Keyak­izaka46 had sparked anger with their black one­piece dresses and capes, com­plete with peaked caps bear­ing a golden bird sym­bol re­sem­bling the Nazi ea­gle above a swastika, donned at a Hal­loween con­cert in Yoko­hama on Oc­to­ber 22.

The Jewish doc­u­men­ta­tion, mon­i­tor­ing and hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tion in a state­ment is­sued Mon­day ex­pressed “dis­gust over the use of Nazi-themed uni­forms donned” by the group.

Rabbi Abra­ham Cooper, the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter’s as­so­ciate dean, said the dis­play was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and deeply of­fen­sive” and called for Sony Mu­sic En­ter­tain­ment – the group’s la­bel – and pro­ducer Ya­sushi Aki­moto to apol­o­gise.

“Watch­ing young teens on the stage and in the au­di­ence danc­ing in Nazi-style uni­forms causes great dis­tress to the vic­tims of the Nazi geno­cide,” Cooper said.

“We ex­pect bet­ter from an in­ter­na­tional brand like Sony which has caused em­bar­rass­ment to Ja­pan.”

Hours af­ter the state­ment was is­sued, Sony Mu­sic apol­o­gised, blam­ing its “lack of knowl­edge in de­sign­ing cos­tumes that re­minded peo­ple of Nazi-style uni­forms”.

“We apol­o­gise from the heart for caus­ing un­pleas­ant feel­ings,” the com­pany said in a Ja­pane­se­lan­guage state­ment on its web­site.

“The cos­tumes will never be used again.”

Pro­ducer Aki­moto also posted an apol­ogy on the girl band’s web­site.

“I am very sorry for fail­ing to over­see mat­ters as the pro­ducer,” he said.

Aki­moto, also a lyri­cist, is the mas­ter­mind be­hind the group and many other sim­i­lar girl bands, most fa­mously AKB48, which con­sists of a 100-strong pool of girls in their teens and early 20s ro­tated in and out of the public eye based on their pop­u­lar­ity.

Keyak­izaka46 have shot to star­dom since be­ing formed in 2015 by Aki­moto, reach­ing num­ber one in Ja­pan with their de­but sin­gle “Silent Ma­jor­ity”.

The he­lium-voiced pop queens are not the first Ja­panese band to cause of­fence.

Retro rock band Kishi­dan an­gered the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter in 2011 when they wore a cos­tume the Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tion said re­sem­bled a Nazi uni­form.

In neigh­bour­ing South Korea, girl band Pritz pro­voked protests two years ago af­ter wear­ing bright red arm­bands strik­ingly sim­i­lar to the ones Nazi of­fi­cers wore.

Cooper will travel to Ja­pan this month for the open­ing of a Holo­caust ex­hi­bi­tion, the state­ment said.

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