Look, I love my adopted country, and I am annoyed by many "weird Japan" posts. It's one trope I am really tired of hearing. However, even I have to admit, sometimes, Japan is weird. Like Japanese commercials. They're totally bizarre. And they've been that way for a long time. Like this 1970s Nissan Skyline commercial.
So, the advertisement opens up with a great profile shot of the vehicle. And wow is it a beauty. Yes. I love Skylines. I love all Skylines. Just about the only Skylines I don't like are the ones that look like Infinitis because they are. But this... This is a nice Skyline. A very typical male narrator informs us, "It's the all new Nissan Skyline." Great, so far. Pretty normal. And then shit just gets weird.
We're treated to this weird back and forth montage between various angles of the Skyline and these two people. The images are largely of the couple going on outdoorsy type adventures. This doesn't make a lot of sense given that the plate says Shinagawa, which is, you know, urban Tokyo. So what's happening here? Who are these people? Why are they totally not Japanese looking? I'm not sure what we're supposed to get from this, but I have some ideas. There's no real narration during the montage, so I'm going to speculate.
First, I think we're supposed to get the idea that the Skyline buyer will have the freedom to go anywhere. To explore. To discover. Not unusual in car commercials at all, but usually there's narration to go with it. Now, why non-Japanese? Well, because white people have a "cool factor" and have since... Oh... 1600 something. But this has especially been true since 1863 and the restoration of the Emperor to political power in the person of Meiji. Likewise, this became more pronounced during and after the post-WWII American occupation.
But what about the dude? He could be really tan, but after reviewing the advertisement a couple more times, I actually think he's Japanese. I noticed there was a period during the 1980s (I'm a 1980s Japanese media buff, ask me about my 1980s idol vinyl collection some time) where some of the most popular male idols, actors, etc, looked surprisingly Western. And given a few other shots, where he seems to be showing his white female companion around shrines and classic Japanese buildings, I think he's playing tour guide. Maybe she's his girlfriend. Maybe he just hopes she will be. Could the silent message here be, "yo, dudes, if you want a white girlfriend, get a Nissan Skyline?" I think so.
But, dude? The Skyline may be cool. Like really cool. Awesomely cool. But nothing will ever make that shirt cool. You're detracting cool points from the Skyline with that shirt. If I were a Netz dealer, I would demand you change shirts before purchasing this car. Despite the dude's clear taste in cars... There's uh... No accounting for taste?
"Ai no Skyline," Love of Skyline. Damn straight.
Screencaps via Nissan/YouTube.