‘Eddie Murphy’ blackface on Japanese TV show sparks race row.
Japanese TV has come under fire after one of the country’s most famous comedians donned blackface on nationwide television on New Year’s Eve.
Masatoshi Hamada, one part of comedy duo Downtown, wore blackface for their New Year’s Eve special Gaki No Tsukai Ya Arahende to emulate Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, sparking a wave of outrage through the outside world.
The duo, comprising of Hamada and Hitoshi Matsumoto, are thought of as one of the most influential comedy duos in Japan – doing stand-up and hosting variety shows.
The incident has now restarted conversation around Japan’s history with blackface, with many branding the skit as racist and inappropriate.
While blackface in any context is a problem, some defending Hamada’s use have noted how Japan doesn’t have the same troubled history with race like in the US.
The fact it’s being used as a comedy tool however is still an underlying issue, with Japan’s history with blackface harking back as early as the 1860s.
Japanese resident Baye McNeil took to Twitter to voice his concerns, writing: ‘Blackness is being treated as a tool for comedy, for laughs, and that impacts how I’m perceived and treated on a daily basis here.
‘Do you think these comedians care about that? I doubt it. They should. The quality of my life is affected by them.’
Blackface however is unfortunately still an issue in the rest of the world too, with model Sophie Applegarth recently defending her choice to ‘impersonate’ Serena Williams.
— MattyO (@labluejp) December 31, 2017