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Japanese Comedian Who Used Blackface Comes Under Fire Online

Japanese Comedian Who Used Blackface Comes Under Fire Online

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Masatoshi Hamada Credit Junko Kimura/Getty Images

A Japanese comedian is facing criticism for performing in blackface in a widely viewed television show, a move that has outraged many and highlighted the regular appearance of performers in similar makeup on mainstream media outlets in Japan.

In a show that aired on New Year’s Eve, the Japanese comedian Masatoshi Hamada appeared in a Detroit Lions football jacket, a curly wig and dark makeup, an attempt at imitating the actor Eddie Murphy’s character from the 1984 movie “Beverly Hills Cop.”

Mr. Hamada is half of the comedy duo Downtown. They host the popular comedy show “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!” — “Downtown’s This Ain’t a Kid’s Errand” — that many Japanese watched to ring in the New Year.

A Twitter user shared a clip from the show, calling the depiction “unacceptable and racist.”

Baye McNeil, a black columnist who was born in Brooklyn and has lived in Japan for 13 years, shared pictures of Mr. Hamada’s performance on New Year’s Eve and denounced it as offensive.

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