Sony Apologizes for Keyakizaka46 Idol Group's Nazi-Like Costumes

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Idol group Keyakizaka46 received a lot of backlash online after pictures of the members' Nazi-like costumes gained international attention this week. The group wore military-style black dresses, black silver-buttoned capes, and matching hats with bird insignia for the "Perfect Halloween" concert at Yokohama Arena on October 22.

Sony Music Entertainment issued a statement on the costumes in Japanese and English on Wednesday. Here is Sony's full English version of the apology:

Thank you for your continued support of Keyakizaka46.

We have received inquiries and comments pointing out the similarities between the costumes worn by Keyakizaka46 at a Halloween event on October 22, and Nazi-style uniforms. Although it was not meant to carry any ideological meaning whatsoever, we deeply regret and apologize for the distress it has caused all people concerned. The costumes in question shall not be used again, under any circumstances.

All of the input that we have received will be taken under careful advisement, and we will do our utmost to ensure that no incident of its kind recurs in the future. Once again, we sincerely apologize for this insensitivity.

Keyakizaka46 is a sister idol group of Nogizaka46, which is in turn a spinoff "rival" group of the popular AKB48. The group's producer Yasushi Akimoto is a member of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee executive board. Yahoo News! freelance journalist Rei Shiva commented that culturally insensitive performances by major musical acts could cause problems for the upcoming event.

Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, asked Akimoto and Sony on October 31 to apologize for the apparently Nazi-themed costumes. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the costumes a "deeply offensive presentation" and said “Watching young teens on the stage and in the audience dancing in Nazi-style uniforms causes great distress to the victims of the Nazi genocide.”

People offended by the costumes cite numerous similarities to Nazi uniforms pictured above. However, the eagle insignia used on the costumes does not include the swastika from the Nazi's eagle symbol, and the uniforms are not completely identical to those worn by actual Nazis.

Japanese net users had mixed responses to Sony's apology. Many agreed that the decision to use the costumes was a poor choice lacking forethought. On the other hand, some people responded that the uproar was an undeserved overreaction. Commenters noted that various groups have worn similar military-inspired costumes, and said using this incident to link Sony to Nazism is extreme.

What do you think? Was Sony's apology appropriate? Was the strong international reaction to the costumes unjustified? Tell us in the forum.

[Via Hachima Kikō]

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