Japan should be called “Land of the Forgotten Commercials” starring Western actors looking for some easy money and international fans outside of their famous roles.
The former California governator, Arnold Scwarzenegger, made many Japanese commercials in his younger days for Nissin’s Cup of Noodles, Arinamin C Drink, and Direct TV. In the commercial above, he stars as a foreigner gambling with Japanese middle-aged men. In superhero fashion, he dashes away to pull out a Japanese energy drink while saying, “Good!”
Leonardo DiCaprio (Great Gatsby remake) in Japanese commercials mean that regular items like whiskey are going to be promoted as cool, premium items–even if those products will be sold for 800 yen ($9) at the local supermarket. Here’s Leo in a recent Cool Bourbon Jim Beam commercial.
Although Bruce Willis (Die Hard) tries hard to say his Japanese lines in these Daihatsu commercials with the disapproval of the director, he still looks very awkward and dubbed in every scene. I think taking the same measure as his Hollywood pals and saying very little (or nothing at all) would help.
The actor who takes the cake–er, the coffee–is acting veteran Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black series). He didn’t just star in commercials for different products. Even to now, he’s a face for the canned coffee brand, BOSS. Everywhere in Japan, his wrinkled face adorns BOSS vending machines and ads.