Japan Trip - Softbank Commercials

>> Monday, April 19, 2010

My favorite series of ads in Japan are for Softbank, a mobile phone company, and feature Otosan, the dog above in the hat. He's often seen wearing a scarf too, which doubles as his collar. At first, I cracked up at the way the dog would sort of randomly show up near the end of Softbank commercials, sitting up at a table or at a bar, and deliver the last lines of the commercial. It was only after I did a bit more investigating on YouTube that I discovered what a star he is in Japan, and just how funny these commercials are if you know what he's saying. Check it out:

"Oto-san" means, essentially, "Mr. Father," or just "Father" with an honorific attached. The idea is that the dog is the dad in this weird family with a Japanese mom and daughter, and a black son. Ota-san kind of grouchy and a bit selfish, but everyone still defers to him:

Woman's intuition.

The mystery of the missing cakes.

Too many cakes, perhaps? Shut up and run!

Ota-san hopes to find love on a journey, and finds the women's bath by mistake.

The softer, more contemplative side of Oto-san.

The end of Ota-san!? Watch the next sequel, true believers:

He's okay, folks! Whew. And still snippy, even covered in rubble. There's a follow-up to this, where he's in the hospital covered with bandages, but I can only find it without subtitles.

In real life, Ota-san's name is Kaikan. He's a Hokkaido dog, from the snowy north. He's so popular, there is a series of books featuring him walking around Tokyo:

They also sell toys of him at Softbank cell phone stores:

Squeeze Ota-san, and he repeats pithy lines from his commercials. He says:

1. "Oyaji! Gunmo!" (Old man! Ganmo!) Ganmodoki is fried tofu fritter, popular ingredient of oden. It's translated in the commercial above as "steak" though. I don't know why. So Westerners wouldn't be as confused?

2. "Seishun wa Matte Kurenai zo!" (The time of your life won't wait!) which is said in response to girls who cry out "Matte!" (Wait!) in one commercial.

3. "Omae ni Bekken nado Nai!" (You don't have any other business!), said to his son, who arrives late and gives the excuse that he was on the phone for business.

4. "Ishi ga Yowai!" (Don't you have a backbone!?)

5. And "Boys be ambitious!", which is said to players from the Softbank Hawks baseball team, whom he meets at a noodle shop.


tanita davis April 19, 2010 at 8:07 AM  

Ahhh! Kawaii overload!!!

Those are just surreally adorable.

Alan Gratz April 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

I think my favorite is the one where he's playing the piano at the window. It's very subtle. I like when the shooting star goes by, and he just says, "Oh--"

David T. Macknet April 21, 2010 at 2:38 PM  


Makin me wanna have to back to my Bleach downloads.

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