Japanese Artist Candy Foxx Infuriates India – But Why?

The latest music video from the controversial group Candy Foxx sparked a diplomatic row with India.

May 26, 2021

Legendary circus owner Phineas T. Barnum famously once said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, the members of the new group Studio Candy Foxx (aka “Candy Foxx”) have taken this advice to heart to become one of the hottest new acts in Japan with dreams of global dominance.

What is Candy Foxx?

Candy Foxx is a five-member group from Fukuoka of self-proclaimed “DJs” that seems to thrive on chaos.  Consisting of former members of the YouTuber group Repezen Chikyu (“repezen” (レペゼン) stands for “representative” and “chikyu” (地球) means “earth” in Japanese), which was disbanded at the end of December, Candy Foxx has been using unconventional tactics to capture a huge following on the internet.

After undergoing an extreme make-over Candy Foxx has steadily been growing its fanbase to become one of the most popular—and controversial—new groups in Japan.

The five members of Candy Foxx are known for wearing masks of ame kitsune (飴狐) or “candy fox,” Image Sourced from Rik Blog

Throughout the New Year’s holiday, they must have been in a lot of pain, as each member now has several new tattoos, which they overtly show in their music videos.  Like everything else associated with Candy Foxx, this was a ballsy move, as a public display of tattoos in Japan is considered taboo.

Although the derivation of the name Candy Foxx is unclear and remains a mystery, it seems to correspond to the Japanese term ame kitsune (飴狐), which translates to “candy fox” in Japanese.  According to traditional folklore, foxes are supposed to be particularly intelligent creatures with paranormal capabilities.  They can shape-shift into human form and are often considered to be devious and even malicious.  Perhaps these traits are why the members of Candy Foxx chose their classic imagery.  Kitsune masks are also commonly employed in anime whenever a character needs a convenient disguise.

In yet another bizarre move, Candy Foxx is actually registered as a limited liability company called “Studio Candy Foxx Co., Ltd.”  This choice is curiously unusual.  Their company tagline is “We are (a) Japanese chaos company.”  Well, they are certainly causing a lot of chaos and gathering lots of attention along the way.

25 year old DJ Ginta (DJ銀太) is proving to be particularly popular and has gained a large following on Instagram.

DJ Ginta (DJ銀太) pictured under the train tracks of Shibuya Station in Tokyo; His main tattoos mean “love” and “free people” (愛 自由人)
Image Sourced from Instagram

On Instagram, his profession is simply listed as “artist.”  The concise profile says, “I have a big dream that everyone will laugh at.”  While DJ Ginta’s dream may come true, for the time being, it is Candy Foxx that is laughing all the way to the bank.

YouTube Music Videos Going Viral

Since precisely at 9 pm on January 1st, Candy Foxx released the first of a series of creative, high-quality productions which feature an unusual cast of famous Japanese actors and actresses. Candy Foxx seems to be adhering to a strict schedule of releasing one video per month at the beginning of each month.

Their debut single was “GOSHI GOSHI.” This onomatopoeic phrase means “to scrub vigorously” in Japanese.

“GOSHI GOSHI” features actress Hisako Okata, who often plays a stereotypical Japanese grandma on television. She is, apparently, very particular about what she eats.

To date, this music video has racked up almost 42 million views since its release at the beginning of the year.  It features 81-year-old Hisako Ogata, a well-known Japanese actress who plays a “grannie” who rejects foreign food in favor of sushi—a common theme throughout the videos released thus far.

After dancing to an intense EDM beat, this seemingly sweet grandma takes a drink of an unidentified liquor (presumably sake) and transforms into a monster.  The video continues until a machine gun battle among yakuza (Japanese mafia) ensues.  In the end, everyone dances while a background chorus chants “brush your teeth” in English.  Presumably, the lyricist (DJ Shacho, the group leader) must have had a grandmother remembered for ordering her grandchildren to brush their teeth.

Building upon the initial success of “GOSHI GOSHI,” in February Candy Fox went on to release their biggest hit yet, “SUSHI YAKUZA.”

“SUSHI YAKUZA” stars the former pro-wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara, who often has the role of a stereotypical crime boss in various dramas and movies.

It now has almost 50 million views.  The video tells the story in English of the value of high-priced sushi.

It features 71-year-old Yoshiaki Fujiwara, a former pro-wrestler who is frequently cast as a mob boss in movies about the Japanese underworld.  He leads his gang in a rooftop fight against a rival group of Indian curry chefs, a precursor to the international incident that Candy Foxx caused with a subsequent video.

Toward the end of this video, there is another fight scene that includes the main character from their third release, “Last Lost SAMURAI,” which appeared on March 3.  This age-restricted video already has more than 23 million views.

“Last Lost SAMURAI” features Candy Foxx’s own DJ Foy in some compromising positions.

You just have to see this one for yourself.  Perhaps it features a female fish as a symbol of fertility and rebirth.

The fourth single, “YOGA MONK,” came out right on schedule at the beginning of April.

Buddhist imagery abounds in YOGA MONK.

It now already has more than 13 million views and counting.

Everything was going smoothly for Candy Foxx until they released their fifth video at the beginning of May.

Recent International Squabble with India

Candy Foxx’s fifth music video, “Namaste!  CURRY POLICE,” was released on May 5.  It quickly became engulfed in a storm of controversy, as it was immediately deemed insulting toward Indians.

Scene from the controversial music video “Namaste! CURRY POLICE,” which was subsequently taken down, Image Sourced from Lyrical Nonsense

Although Candy Foxx maintains that it was meant to be a comedy, it did not take long to draw the ire of Indians in Japan and worldwide.  The government of India issued a formal, diplomatic response, and the video was taken down only three days after the original release.

The video made it seem like most Indians still wear stereotypical clothing–which they don’t. The hate piled in, and it did not take long before “Namaste! Curry Police” got taken down by the internet police, Image Sourced from Twitter

Based upon comments in Twitter, it seems as though Indians were particularly upset for the following five reasons:

  • Disparagement of Hinduism: Perhaps the most serious point of disrespect concerns how the elephant-headed Hindu god of beginnings, Ganesha, appears in the hand of a man who was holding a container for curry which looks like Aladdin’s lamp. Many Indians interpreted this portrayal as a mockery of Ganesha.
  • Stereotypical Clothing: Indians were stereotyped based on the clothing featured in the video. It was akin to depicting modern-day Japanese by dressing them up in kimonos and having them carry swords.
  • Only Curry: The video made it seem as though Indians persist only on a diet of curry when there is, naturally, much more variety in Indian cuisine.
  • Other Hurtful Images: The video included a variety of other offensive references, including showing a man hugging the stomach of a pregnant woman who had just gorged on curry, a man using naan bread as a ticket to the airport before being stopped by security, and a group of revelers who danced naked on top of each other while proclaiming, “If you eat anything other than curry, I’ll dance!”
  • Timing: As the whole world is well aware, since the beginning of May, at precisely the time when this video was released, people throughout India started to struggle to contain the deadly fourth wave of the coronavirus. Thus, the timing of “Namaste! CURRY POLICE” seems literally to have added insult to injury.
Many Indians perceived this particular scene as a mockery of the god Ganesha.

Candy Foxx subsequently provided a formal apology, although there have been questions about whether this atonement was, in fact, sincere.

Member of Candy Foxx formally apologizing for the controversial video “Namaste! CURRY POLICE,” which was subsequently taken down, Image Sourced from Gadget Tsushin News

Snipets from the “Namaste!  CURRY POLICE” still appear, however, as part of montage imagery in their other videos.

Fan Reaction

Candy Foxx’s fanbase in Japan remains loyal, but they received a lot of negative feedback online from people throughout India.

Animesh Jha summed up the feelings of many of his fellow countrymen by tweeting,

The vitriol toward the Candy Foxx’s lyricist Kohei was particuarly sharp. PSY wrote,

While Candy Foxx seems keen on building their base of fans outside Japan, it is fair to say that they have, essentially, written off the entire subcontinent.

What to Expect in the Future?

Who knows?

The group has, apparently, recently re-located to a yet unnamed country with the intention of brushing up on their English skills and global dominance.

While Candy Foxx is likely to surprise everyone with yet another unusual theme, the one thing that we do know is that, at the very least, it is highly likely that their next video will be released at the beginning of June.

The Japanese text reads, “Original Repezen Earth Candy Fox ‘Yabai (やばい),’” This term means “awful” in Japanese, The character for uta (歌) or “song” appears on the forehead of the mask, Image Sourced from YouTube

Unless they cause another international incident, we can look forward to more videos at the beginning of each month. In the meantime Candy Foxx will keep us guessing.

Links to Japanese Sources: https://neetola.com/candyfoxx/, https://gyouzayasan.blog/candy-foxx/, https://getnews.jp/archives/3007067, https://greenwaves.jp/candy_foxx/, and https://kimonootasuke.net/reopezenn/.

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy is a native of Chicago who has spent more than 20 years living, studying, and working in Japan. By day he is Country Head - Business Development, Nexdigm - Japan but becomes a writer after work. Mark is a lifelong student of the Japanese language and culture. He loves to travel throughout the country. Mark also is the author behind the "Real Gaijin" Substack, countryroadsjapan.com, as well as the Country Roads Japan and Coastal Sailing Japan YouTube channels. Photo supplied courtesy of the author who had stopped to check out the free-roaming horses and cows about half-way up to the summit of Mt. Aso, an active volcano in the center of Kyushu.

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