UPDATE: Century 21: 1, Joe’s Ramblings: 0. The picture is real. See base of post for explanation.
In the “IK” (Insan Kaynaklari, Human Resources) section of today’s Hurriyet newspaper I saw an interesting advertisement. If I’m not mistaken, the Century 21 advert promotes a franchising seminar and draws upon the global presence of this real estate company. The sentence on the bottom of the picture roughly translates as:
From America to Japan; France to Turkey, Century 21 is the world’s largest name in real estate with more than 120,000 real estate consultants in 96 countries.
The picture shows a Japanese family and a Century 21 consultant in front of a Century 21 office. Is the picture real or is it a group of Turkish people made to look Japanese according to Turkish stereotypes?
I am not an expert on Japan and have never visited the country. However, I find it hard to believe the picture accurately represents a Japanese family because:
a1) The man is pulling a cart! (Japan is a very high tech country)
a2) A man pulling a cart can afford to use Century 21????
b) They have a large dog (Japan is one of the most crowded countries on earth and very few people have room for a large dog)
c) There are 3 children (Japan is very crowded and expensive smaller families are the norm)
d) How common are those forms of clothing and hairstyles?
Sure, no doubt some families in Japan do share some of the above characteristics, but I doubt many, if any, share all the characteristics.
In my opinion, it is likely the advert was shot in Turkey, because:
a) Some Turkish people do have Asian characteristics and it would take little work to make them look more ‘Asian’.
b) A large proportion, probably a large majority, of Turkish people are not intimate with the different East Asian cultures. I wonder if the cart pulling idea is from China?
c) The female faces seem strained, as if they have to hold a certain look to exaggerate their ‘Asian ness’.
d) The family situation in the photo suits Turkish culture perfectly (it may also suit Japanese culture).
I have yet to ask any Japanese friends whether the photo is from Japan or not and I don’t know what the Japanese writing refers to. I am willing to accept the photo is from Japan if a more knowledgeable person says so.
This is not the first time I have witnessed very questionable, stereotypical media in Turkey. I am certain this kind of stereotyping and fabrication occurs in all countries as well. However, in a country with more exposure to other races, the chances of blatant and obviously stereotyped examples are lower.
See for yourself:
UPDATE [2004/12/09]: As Yutaka, the cool Japanese trainee living in Denizli, has kindly pointed out in the comments section, the picture is for real!
Check the comments for his explanation.
Century 21: 1, Joe’s Ramblings: 0