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Japan beauty firm DHC under fire again after CEO’s discriminatory comments

Japanese beauty firm DHC has come under fire once again after its chairman used discriminatory language targeting ethnic Koreans in a recent column on its official website.

CEO Yoshiaki Yoshida claimed the company’s request to place an advertisement in newspapers and air a TV commercial has been rejected by multiple media outlets in Japan. The proposed ad featured names of ethnic Korean celebrities who “deserve to be despised for the benefit of Japan,” according to the post.

“Yoshiaki Yoshida is racist? (It’s) an all-out attack from the ethnically Korean, anti-Japanese media,” the CEO wrote.

He also accused broadcaster NHK and newspaper Asahi Shimbun of “surprisingly” having many staffers who are ethnically Korean. The two local media outlets have covered the controversy surrounding his remarks in the past.

Yoshida also went on to describe the appearance of ethnic Koreans in the post, in which he said “small eyes,” “high cheekbones” and a “flat back of the head” are features to look out for when it comes to spotting them.

In an attempt to play down accusations of racism toward Koreans, he also added he once dated an ”official Miss Korea contestant“ a long time ago.

His remarks come as the beauty firm, famous for its oil cleanser, has faced criticisms in recent months over publishing the series of racially-charged columns, which remain available on the company’s official website.

In November last year, he used the word “chon” -- a racial slur for Koreans in Japan -- in a column criticizing the company’s rival Suntory and accused the firm of starring too many Korean Japanese models.

The comment prompted protests on the street in Tokyo and backlash online with the hashtag #BoycottDHC. Retailers carrying DHC products also faced criticism for their association with the beauty firm.

“By selling DHC products, they are supporting the business of an openly racist company,” Tommy Hasegawa, the leader of a student-led anti-discrimination group Moving Beyond Hate, told The Korea Herald at the time.

Amid backlash, some local governments in Japan including Nankoku City in Kochi Prefecture have decided to either cut ties or are reviewing its relationship with the company, according to BuzzFeed Japan News.

By Yim Hyun-su (