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January 16, 2015 6:54 AM   Subscribe

 
Well, there's that.
posted by me3dia at 7:00 AM on January 16, 2015


It's more like 100 Japanese maids deliver a pancake.
posted by xingcat at 7:03 AM on January 16, 2015


Ceremonial Anointing of the Reincarnated Avatar of Oolong
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:04 AM on January 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


That pancake's seen some shit
posted by Greg Nog at 7:04 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't even. what.
posted by larthegreat at 7:05 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The ended was quite a bit better than I feared, actually.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:07 AM on January 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


OK, that was internet meme delicious.
posted by caddis at 7:07 AM on January 16, 2015


Would have been better if they had been working for a really rich bunny.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:13 AM on January 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Er, so, am I missing why this isn't hideously sexist and objectifying? The ending is pretty funny?
posted by Mooseli at 7:22 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh Japan, will you never learn?
posted by Phreesh at 7:27 AM on January 16, 2015


Yeah, it was redeemed by the ending.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:29 AM on January 16, 2015


Er, so, am I missing why this isn't hideously sexist and objectifying? The ending is pretty funny?

I think the ending goes a long way to subvert the problematic nature of the rest of it. I mean, I watched the video getting more and more annoyed at the whole little girls in french maid outfits performing for the benefit of a rich old man (while being briefly distracted by how pretty those pans are), but then they dump the hot pancake on his head. Because he doesn't deserve that pancake and the girls know it.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:31 AM on January 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Good job.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:36 AM on January 16, 2015


Yeah, he seems pleased that the pancake wound up on his head, instead of his plate*.

Maybe there's some context we're not getting -- is "Good Job" a pun? Does the Japanese for "pancake" sound like the Japanese for "beret"?

----------------
*Sorry about the spoiler.
posted by notyou at 7:42 AM on January 16, 2015


Never change, Japanese people.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:00 AM on January 16, 2015


I do want one of those frying pans now. I don't even have a kitchen. The system works.
posted by bracems at 8:02 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


It did... kind of leave me thinking that this guy had a very specific fetish, and that, you know, sex work is work, and in reality if 100 women could make a good wage Busby Berkeleying a pancake onto an elderly pancake fetishist's head then more power to 'em...

But in terms of advertising a product, I'm not sure where the aspirational element is.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:27 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know - Gwen Stefani got a ton of flack for objectifying sexy Japanese girls with her Harajuku girls, who would stand behind her, pose, and yet never say a word - they were like human accessories. But this shows that the Japanese are also super awesome at objectifying young nameless, faceless girls. Perhaps the genius of that commercial is that it skirts the edge of creepy (barely). But for all of the acknowledgement that old guy gives his 100 maids - they might as well have been some sort of 200 garter legged human centipede. Perhaps he would have preferred it. "Good Job!" is what I say to my dog when he sits when commanded or when my 3 year old niece zips up her jacket by herself.

I know - it seems like I am coming down pretty hard on a silly commercial. But here's the litmus test for me, would I like it if of any the young girls I know grew up to be in an commercial like that - answer is No.
posted by helmutdog at 8:35 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess the point might be that the ceramic finish doesn't stick? But after the first flip or two, wouldn't you just be flipping a thin layer of cooked bread that'd never stick to anything?

It's a funny weird video, but yeah, it did have kind of a creepy objectification vibe.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:39 AM on January 16, 2015


Isn't there like a big Japanese French maid cultural thing? With like cafes and merchandise and cosplay and stuff? I had a friend that had a French maid outfit and she would dress up sometimes. She was really cool so I figured it was just a thing that some people were into.
posted by grizzly at 8:49 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. How is this objectifying? Because they're dressed as maids? ....??
posted by I-baLL at 9:03 AM on January 16, 2015


Does anyone know if this kind of ad has, from a Japanese perspective / mindset, the weird sexual connotations that Westerners get from it? Or does it mean something else culturally in Japan that just translates that way to us? I understand the US advertising formula that if you are selling beer to bros, you use boobs. In Japan, does it make sense to use May/December french maid kink to sell pans to women (whom I assume are buying the cookware in Japan)? Or am I just misinterpreting the ad entirely?
posted by rtimmel at 9:07 AM on January 16, 2015


It's more like 100 Japanese maids deliver a pancake.--xingcat

No, actually. It starts out uncooked and gets heated a little bit by each pan. They are all cooking it a little.

This takes the Japanese maid fetish and amps it up by...100.

not to mention the classic Hefner old guy in a robe in a mansion filled with young women fetish
posted by eye of newt at 9:10 AM on January 16, 2015


"Does anyone know if this kind of ad has, from a Japanese perspective / mindset, the weird sexual connotations that Westerners get from it?"

I think it's more like schoolgirl outfits. People consider them to be sexy but, at the same time, if you think about it, they're just regular schoolgirl outfits. I think the sexual connotations come not from the outfit itself but the context of who is wearing the outfit and why.

"Or am I just misinterpreting the ad entirely?"

If I remember correctly, in Japan people feel suspect of ads that try to sell them something directly. Thus the advertising companies make abstract ads to get the names of the products out there but rarely directly try to advertise the products themselves (with celebrity endorsements being the exception. Though, they too don't really sell the products directly but just show the celebrity using the product. Or sometimes they're weird too.)
posted by I-baLL at 9:14 AM on January 16, 2015


Don't mean to threadsit but here's another Japanese commercial involving a housekeeper:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImALuNp3PQ8

Unfortunately this housekeeper doesn't have the same moves as these maids but there are other powers involved.
posted by I-baLL at 9:22 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's more like schoolgirl outfits. People consider them to be sexy but, at the same time, if you think about it, they're just regular schoolgirl outfits. I think the sexual connotations come not from the outfit itself but the context of who is wearing the outfit and why.

Ok but no maids on earth who are there for basic toilet-cleaning silver-polishing maid duties actually dress like that, unless the specific selling point of their maid service is to additionally provide visual titillation. Similarly the schoolgirl outfits that are fetishized tend not to be the actual school uniforms of preteen and teenage girls wear to actual school, though people absolutely do often creep on those regardless. Creepers gonna creep.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:34 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is Kawaii?
posted by I-baLL at 9:38 AM on January 16, 2015


"Similarly the schoolgirl outfits that are fetishized tend not to be the actual school uniforms of preteen and teenage girls wear to actual school,"

Actually they usually are the same. The fetish school uniforms tend to be more adult sized though.
posted by I-baLL at 9:41 AM on January 16, 2015


nsfw obviously

what school could someone wear these to?
posted by poffin boffin at 9:45 AM on January 16, 2015


Creepers gonna creep.

But is that what is going on here? If this was an ad selling Mercedes to old guys I can see trying to sell them with a " if you buy our car you too could have scores of sexy young women who will be subservient and slightly humiliating" tag. But I don't understand selling pan to women (again, assuming women are the primary purchasers of housewares in Japan) with "buy our pans and you too could be one of dozens of women subservient to some old dude." Is that something that would resonate in Japan?
posted by rtimmel at 9:45 AM on January 16, 2015


"what school could someone wear these to?"

Apparently I was wrong about them being adult size. Looks like it's the exact same size as what the kids wear!

(get it? Same size on larger bodies? Har har I am funny!)
posted by I-baLL at 9:51 AM on January 16, 2015


rtimmel: Watch the ad I linked to that advertises a cell phone company. Japanese commercials rarely have anything to do with promoting the product other than the name or by showing it.

And I'm going to go eat now. No. Not pancakes.
posted by I-baLL at 9:52 AM on January 16, 2015


Okay, I didn't leave yet. Sorry for posting so much, mods, but one last link!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FcYTprT5QI
posted by I-baLL at 10:01 AM on January 16, 2015


This ad make me go "Whoa!" and also "Wtf!" Lot of laughter and confused...Haha. Wacky Japanese!
posted by todayandtomorrow at 10:43 AM on January 16, 2015


Um, ew.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:59 AM on January 16, 2015


Maybe I'm too generous, but after my initial misgivings (the image of the woman marching in with the camera more focused on the skirts made it seem like the start of some porn shoot), I felt that the ad subverted the stereotype - especially during the more acrobatic sections. The pancake ending up on his head felt supremely disrespectful and I read "good job" as being an approval of the disrespectful act and not some sort of pancake kink.

The way this commercial would have ended 20 years ago would have been for them to dump the pancake on his plate and for the unsmiling old man to take a bite of it and then grunt mild approval.

I don't live in Japan, though, and I'd be curious to hear from somebody who lives there regarding whether this reads as subverting objectification or reinforcing objectification in context of its intended audience.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:21 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Rube Goldberg aspect kinda reminds me of this relaxing NTT Docomo commercial from previously and this Subaru stick bomb ad, previously. I swear I'd seen a commercial done by the PythagoraSwitch people, too, but maybe I made that up.
posted by caaaaaam at 3:50 PM on January 16, 2015


For me, the ending doesn't really wash away all the objectifying.

OH COME ON. Didn't you see the cookware?
posted by glasseyes at 5:14 PM on January 16, 2015


The way this commercial would have ended 20 years ago would have been for them to dump the pancake on his plate and for the unsmiling old man to take a bite of it and then grunt mild approval.

I thought I'd remembered seeing this commercial in Japan a few days ago, but with the old man happily eating the pancake and grunting approval rather than having it dumped on his head -- this making of video shows that ending, so maybe I'm not crazy.

Maid Cafes feature women dressing up like this and devoting attention to male clients for money. This is a fantasy.
posted by Theiform at 7:06 PM on January 16, 2015


Has no one here ever read manga or anime? In Japan these young women would be regarded as more cute than erotic. It's objectification, sure, but hey that's Japan. And there is the entire AKB48 phenomenon... Cute is just a thing in Japa.

On the other hand in the oh-so-enlightened US sexism in advertising is not exactly unheard of.
posted by Nevin at 11:47 PM on January 16, 2015


Well, I think a LOLJapan response would be very poor form - advertising is advertising, and women are used to sell products to both men and women the world over.

That said, I'm not wholly sure that manga/anime makes the case that maids, and maid service and uniforms, are not eroticised/eroticisable in Japan. Looking at the miniskirts and the panty flashing, it struck me as sort of... Gainaxy.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2015


"Well, I think a LOLJapan response would be very poor form - advertising is advertising, and women are used to sell products to both men and women the world over."

Except that Japanese commercials are not about that. They usually go for the wtf angle. And this advertisement is quite kawaii.
posted by I-baLL at 8:44 PM on January 17, 2015


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