A newly-opened Japanese host club has apologized for its lack of “awareness” after photos of its staff wearing Nazi-themed clothing sparked outrage on social media.
Staffed with male hosts who entertain and pour customers’ drinks, the club, called Unfair, opened on Sunday in the southern prefecture of Osaka. But things quickly went wrong when photos emerged showing the staff posing in uniforms that resembled those of the Nazi German army, with armbands bearing swastikas. Even the champagne bottles had swastika designs.
The parent company of the club, Host X Host, shut down the establishment after it received criticism from “Twitter and various other people,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The use of Nazi symbols has garnered sharp backlash among social media users, although the incident has not received widespread coverage by Japanese news outlets.
Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British nonprofit group, called the club “disgusting.”
Similarly, the global Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “Japanese women are supposed to be attracted to men dressed up as SS Nazi murderers? Vile desecration of the memory of 6 million Jews, Anne Frank, victims of Nazi Holocaust. Where is Japanese outrage?”
Previously, the center also called out a Japanese comedian and director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony for his previous anti-semitic jokes.
In its statement, the host club’s parent company said it “sincerely apologized for our lack of knowledge and awareness.”
“We caused discomfort for a lot of people. We will take your comments seriously and will work to make sure this sort of thing never happens again,” it said.
In 2016, an idol group under the Japanese music company Sony Music Entertainment similarly came under fire for their Nazi-like appearance.
The female idol group wore dresses that looked like military overcoats, black capes, and officer caps with a symbol that resembled the Nazi Eagle. The group’s producer and Sony Music similarly apologized for their “lack of understanding.”