Friday, October 10, 2008

Callous cash grabs by Japanese stars

by Chris MaGee

Okay, it’s common knowledge that stars like Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman will head to Japan to shoot commercials for everything from energy drinks to cars for big pay cheques. These commercials never get seen in North America (well, maybe on YouTube) and thus won’t hurt their artistic integrity; but Japanese stars aren’t as conflicted as their American counterparts about getting paid for doing some TV ads, in fact it’s expected. Keeping that in mind I searched around on YouTube for some Japanese stars that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought would have shot TV spots, but here’s the proof. Ladies and Gentlemen, (insert drum roll here) let me introduce Callous Cash Grabs by Japanese Stars!

Seijun Suzuki and Jun Togawa for Toto toilets

I like this one. It has two of my favorite things from Japan in it: “Branded to Kill” and “Princess Raccoon” director Seijun Suzuki and toilets. Well, let me clarify; deluxe Toto brand Japanese toilets with heated seats and a built in bidet and lots of buttons and knobs. You’ll never have more fun taking a crap than on a Japanese toilet, I’m tellin’ ya! Also the appearance of avant-garde pop idol Jun Togawa doesn’t hurt either.

Toshiro Mifune for ???

Okay, I have to admit that I’m unsure what this one is advertising. The YouTube post indicated something about construction, but from what I see here Mifune looks like he’s advertising arrows that can reach the moon. I want some! Seriously, if you know what this commercial is for leave a note in the comments. I do have to say that Mifune’s old friend Akira Kurosawa’s Suntory Whiskey commercials had a hell of a lot more class than this 1987 ad.

Rie Miyazawa and Takeshi Kitano for Super Cup Cook Ace

Okay, it’s not news that Miyazawa and Kitano have done and continue to do commercials, but these two 15-second spots for Super Cup Cook Ace instant ramen are priceless. Would someone kick Kitano’s ass? I mean, it looks like he’s knocked up Miyazawa and now he just lies around at home while she survives on instant ramen noodles. What a bum! Well, in the second commercial it does look like someone’s kicked his ass. Good for them!

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