Kirin Beverage in Hot Water Over Sexist Tea Girl Ads
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The official Twitter account of the Kirin Beverage company posted four "Afternoon Tea Girl" images on April 26 to promote its line of Gogo no Kōcha (Afternoon Tea) products. The images, drawn by illustrator Yuri Tsubo, depict stereotypical types of young women with the Gogo no Kōcha drink they might buy. Although the illustrations appear to have been intended as amusing and relatable, many people began to harshly criticize the images shortly after they debuted.
The illustrations describe four types of young women: "model wanna-be girl who's full of herself," "loli-like narcissistic girl," "control-freak girl who's going in circles," and "girl dependent on her friends." The descriptions written on the images contain what many online commenters believe are offensive and sexist stereotypes of women. Commenters criticized Kirin Beverage for making fun of its own customers, and some responses even called for a boycott of Kirin.
After the public outcry, Kirin Beverage deleted the tweet with the controversial characters and posted an apology on Tuesday. The company offered its "deep apologies" in the tweet and noted that it had received many comments from customers.
ITmedia's Netlab website contacted Kirin Beverage about the controversy and asked, "What was the aim of the illustrations?" A representative offered a further apology and replied, "The intention was to have familiarity with each of the flavors of Gogo no Kōcha."
Various Kirin brands have collaborated with anime and related projects in the past. Kirin Beverage offered a Dragon Ball campaign that gave fans a chance to win personally designed figures last year.