DJ Ozma and Tunnels dress up as black women
The image above is taken from the official site of Lotte’s new Splash gum. It shows comedy group Tunnels (the guys behind “human tetris”) and musician DJ Ozma (the “bounce with me” dude) dressed up as Yajima Beauty Salon, a new comedic musical group. Yajima Beauty Salon consists of a three “American” characters, the mother Margaret and her two daughters Strawberry and Naomi. According to the backstory on the group’s homepage on Avex, the Margaret character is a former nude dancer from Las Vegas, and she has brought her daughters to Japan to search for their father, a Japanese beautician named Yajima. The mother apparently has the dancing nickname “black bolt.”
I’ve only seen them in the Lotte commercial so far, so I’m not entirely sure how far they take the fake American comedy act. I did, however, find this YouTube video of them performing:
The song begins with an announcement that they came from Nevada, and the lyrics include phrases such as, “Is Kaminarimon nearby?” (a popular tourist site) and “Where can I meet a samurai?” and “There are no Kabuki theaters in Kabukicho” (Tokyo’s entertainment/red light district). It seems like they are attempting to entertain audiences from a cute faux foreigner’s perspective.
They may not be covering their faces with dark black shoe polish, but some foreigners seeing this will no doubt be reminded of blackface minstrel shows. Its members are likely totally unaware of the fact that their act could offend anyone, and there doesn’t seem to have malicious intent. However, seeing entertainers put on make-up and afro wigs to look like a different race for comedic reasons always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. DJ Ozma and Tunnels have made some really funny stuff in the past, but this act is quite lame.