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P.M. Briefing : Japanese Repaint Black Santa

From Times Wire Services

A shopping mall in Hiroshima repainted a huge rooftop Santa Claus it had portrayed as a black man after black residents reportedly complained, a professor said today.

The 18-foot-high black Santa had exaggeratedly fat lips, diamond-studded rings, sunglasses and sneakers.

Such caricatures of blacks are common in Japanese advertising but are becoming less popular because of criticism of racial stereotyping.

The Santa was put up in November on a fake brick chimney above the Sun Mall in Hiroshima, 430 miles southwest of Tokyo.

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Peter Goldsbury, a professor of philosophy at Hiroshima University, put a photo of the Santa on the cover of his local magazine, “Hiroshima Sign Post,” after he heard that black foreigners living in the city were upset by the figure’s exaggerated features.

“I wanted to make people talk,” Goldsbury said. “Hiroshima is supposed to be a center of ‘international peace culture,’ but here was yet another example of undesirable cultural stereotyping.”


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