Nazi-themed bar in backlash over WWII uniforms and swastika champagne bottles

A Nazi themed bar where staff dress in SS uniforms and serve from swastika-emblazoned champagne bottles has opened in Japan, according to reports.

The bar, called Unfair, has reportedly opened in Osaka, a modern city known for its nightlife around 500km south east of the capital Tokyo, on the island of Honshu.

Unfair is located in Minami, Osaka's shopping, dining and nightlife centre, and one Reddit user spotted a truck adorned with advertising for the bar driving nearby, apparently in a bid to promote the club.

But, perhaps inevitably, the idea has suffered from a backlash and bar management appears to have attempted to cull any trace of it from online host sites.

Unfair’s listing was posted on host sites Star Guys and Host x Host, and included photos of the hosts in full Nazi outfits and a video of good-looking staff posing and acting up to the camera.

One listing read: “Get intoxicated with this new style host club!”

Host bars, where attractive young men in uniform entertain paying customers, are popular. Upon entering the club, the client receives a "menu" with photos of the "hosts," from which they choose someone, Polish media reported.

A Twitter user, Mike Dezaki, also shared images of what he said was the inside of the establishment. The pictures showed what appears to be a young staff member clutching several swastika-emblazoned champagne bottles with an even larger symbol fixed to the wall behind him.

"Every other year in Japan there’s a story like this, and more often than not ignorance (“who cares about some old war, everyone likes men in uniforms”) is used to hide actual neo Nazis. There are no social consequences here for being a neo-Nazi, it’s 'just an opinion'," tweeted user @sina_lana.

"I know the Japanese Nazi experience was a little different…but still factual discoverable history demonstrates how inappropriate this is,” said Twitter user @_john92_.

"On a serious note: In East Asia, particularly in Hong Kong and Japan, Nazi imagery is considered fashionable. It’s just an aesthetic to them, nothing more," tweeted user @HornyNord.

In late 2020, local media reported that Keiichi Morishita, the 69-year-old founder and chairman of the Morishita Group, threw a Nazi-themed party in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, for his employees in 2017.

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The party featured Nazi flags, papier-mache tanks and aircraft, DW reported.

Abraham Cooper, associate dean of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an anti-Semitism NGO, told DW that he was "not particularly shocked" at this latest case because of a series of similar incidents in Japan in recent years that appeared to glorify elements of Nazism.

Company insiders told Flash magazine that as well as a papier-mache tank, a replica of a Stuka dive bomber had also been constructed as part of the decorations.

A tweet from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said it "slanders memory of Nazism's victims, including 6 million Jews."

In another instance of apparent Nazi glorification, an all-girl pop group called Keyakizaka46 made headlines around the world after they took to the stage in uniforms reminiscent of those worn by SS troops, at a Halloween event in 2016. Their label, Sony, apologised for a "lack of understanding".

"I think the biggest issue is the ignorance among young people about Nazi Germany and the issue of the Jews before and during the war," Hiromi Murakami, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, told DW.

Magdalena Osumi, a Polish journalist working for The Japan Times and living in Yokohama, said the curriculum in Japan is the problem.

"I think it is partly the responsibility of the Japanese curriculum, in which the subject of wars and what happened in Europe, in particular, is neglected.

"Unfortunately, the subject of the Holocaust is often not even discussed at all. One of the reasons is that it would require a discussion of Japan's role in World War II, which is not a convenient topic due to its ties to Nazi Germany at that time," she told O2 in Poland.

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