A resurrected “gay” tv character caused a stir in Japan.
Homoo Homooda was created by the comedy duo Tunnels in the 1980s. Tunnels decided to bring back the character, who’d disappeared from TV screens for 28 years, as a part of their TV special celebrating their 30-year career together. It didn’t go over well.
Fuji TV, the station that broadcasted the special, later received 104 complaints about the character.
What Tunnels may not have realized is that this homophobic caricature is no longer acceptable in Japan’s social climate.
While Japan is still struggling with accepting the existence and rights of LGBTQ people, a character like Homoo Homooda, with a derogatory term as a name, stereotypical black lace fan, exaggerated blue beard and pink cheeks, and being referred to as a homo and a pedophile, is too much even for the everyday citizens of the country.
In addition to the individual complaints, a great number of LGBTQ organizations complained about the inclusion of the character.
One such group was Good Aging Yells
“I can’t believe they’re still showing this sort of thing,” said Gon Matsunaka, the head of the LGBTQ group Good Aging Yells, to The Mainichi.
“When the character first appeared (in the 1980s), it was common for children to use the word ‘homo’ as an insult to boys who were quiet and gentle.”
“I remember feeling uncomfortable at the time, especially as I was of a susceptible age. I wonder how children who are unsure about their gender or sexual orientation felt when they saw this one-off program.”
All the complaints led to Fuji TV apologizing.
“If there are any aspects that have caused discomfort then it is necessary for me to apologize,” said Fuji TV CEO Masayoshi Miyauchi.