While most of these advertisements never aired in the United States, you’re not out of luck: most of the commercials featuring celebrities in Asian ads have been archived in the deepest corners of the Internet. And not without reason. We’re not shocked that celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron might not want to flaunt the fact that they appeared in Japanese advertising. Why? Because their advertisements are simply odd.
Celebs in Asian ads have done it all: they sing, play piano, flirt with triplets, and so on. From Jim Beam to Lux, Honda to Edwin Jeans, it appears that Hollywood superstars have been requested to do it all in Japanese advertisements.
#1 Bruce Willis and Eneos
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According to the Eneos Card, it will “move you.” Or perhaps Bruce Willis will? We’re not sure what’s going on in this commercial video provided by Perez Hilton, but it appears that Eneos is a gasoline firm, so it makes logical that using the company’s credit card can “move you.”
#2 Charlize Theron and Lux
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“Bizarre doesn’t even begin to explain the premise of” the Lux adverts with Charlize Theron in 2002, according to Japander. The adverts, it appears, feature ugly puppets attempting to flirt with Theron. In 2003 and 2004, Charlize starred in a lot of Honda commercials.
#3 Ben Stiller and Kirin
Ben Stiller appears to have taken over for Harrison Ford in the Kirin Beer commercials. During the shooting, the actor “speaks Japanese, is frozen in ice, plays with cheerleaders, and is tackled by football players,” according to Beervlog.
#4 Lucy Liu and Suntory
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Lucy Liu, according to Japander, was the face of Suntory Diet Beer. That’s the same Suntory made famous by Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation.
#5 Kyle MacLachlan and Georgia Coffee
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“In 1993, David Lynch directed a series of Japanese coffee shops that piggybacked on the success of 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me in Asia,” according to io9. The ads for Georgia, a Japanese canned coffee brand, were set in Twin Peaks and included several cast members, including Kyle MacLachlan.
#6 Tommy Lee Jones and Boss Coffee
Kotaku reports that “Tommy Lee Jones has starred in a series of Boss coffee commercials since 2006. Boss is a canned hot coffee brand sold by Suntory (hot or cold). Jones appears in the advertising as an alien visiting Japan.” Jones, on the other hand, is not a foreigner in the country. He adores his nation so much that, “Jones appeared in a commercial with a slew of Japanese superstars following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. All of them, including Jones, appeared in the commercial for free in order to lift the country’s spirits. Jones, on the other hand, was the lone foreigner.”
#7 Francis Ford Coppola and Fuji
Francis Ford Coppola loved Fuji cassettes so much that he starred in a Japanese commercial for them. The commercial depicts “the director having some kind of personal? sensual? encounter with a tape,” according to Indiewire.
#8 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cup Noodles, and Energy Drinks
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Arnold has appeared in so many Japanese commercials that he has earned the moniker “Schwa-chan.” According to Kotaku, “Schwarzenegger appeared in numerous cup noodle and energy drink advertisements during the 1980s and early 1990s. His catchphrase was ‘daijou-V,’ a wordplay on ‘daijoubu’ (‘okay’ in Japanese) and the ‘V’ in the energy drink he was advertising, Alinamin V. He was known as ‘Schwa-chan.'”
#9 Gwyneth Paltrow and Bean Pole
When Gwyneth Paltrow meets Daniel Henney in a Bean Pole commercial in 2005, it’s pure “mirror magic.” Daniel mimics every action made by the leggy actress. Bean Pole is a Korean apparel line, according to lynaqt, the YouTuber who submitted the commercial. And, as the commercial implies, the apparel brand makes you irresistible to blonde Hollywood actresses.
#10 Jodie Foster and Caffe Latte
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Jodie Foster has appeared in several Japanese advertisements, including three for the coffee business Caffe Latte. The most bizarre may be the Caffe Latte commercial, in which she creepily sings “Eeny, meeny, miney, mo” into the camera. Thanks to YouTuber Frank-62 for releasing the advertising video.
#11 Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Beam
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Leonardo DiCaprio has a variety of skills, including the ability to make the ideal ice for his Jim Beam. According to Business Insider, “after he shapes ice into a ball and then crumbles it through telekinesis, DiCaprio says ‘Cool bourbon’ over a video game-like soundtrack” in the commercial. It appears that Leo will never be able to escape the ice…
#12 John Travolta and Takara Shuzo
Takara Shuzo, a Japanese firm, requested John Travolta to assist boost sochu sales. The New York Times reports that “When the business introduced Chu-Hi the nickname Tokyo Drink – in English, because Japanese commercialism still relies on English oddities – and put John Travolta on television at his supple best, sales skyrocketed. Mr. Travolta bumps here and there, holds up a Chu-Hi can and says, ‘Tokyo Drink,’ which is as near to speaking Japanese as he gets.”
#13 Harrison Ford and Kirin Beer
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In the 1990s, Harrison Ford appeared in a number of Kirin Beer ads. According to Gaijin Tonic, “Harrison is portrayed in the commercials as an erratic drinker roving the streets of Japan, demanding everyone he meets for ‘Kirin Lager Beer, please.’ Because of the severity of his dipsomania, he has been dubbed ‘Mr. Beer.'” “Kirin Lager Beer” may be the only Japanese words Ford understands, but we’re quite sure “Kirin Lager Beer” translates to “$$$.”
#14 Dennis Hopper and Tsumara Medical Company
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We can witness how awful it would have been to have a bath with the late Dennis Hopper thanks to YouTuber twinkiepatissier, who posted a YouTube video of Dennis Hopper’s ad for Tsumara Medical Company. Perhaps it’s because we have no idea what’s going on… or perhaps it’s because Dennis Hopper is surrounded by rubber duckies that makes this commercial so strange. Tsumara is a medical company, but we’re not sure what the rubber duckies have to do with it.
#15 Nicolas Cage and Sankyo
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Check out Nicolas Cage’s Sankyo commercials on Funny or Die to see some of the weirdest commercials you’ve ever seen. From playing the piano to flirting with triplets, it’s clear that Cage has a “fever” for pachinko and Sankyo. Sankyo is a Japanese pachinko manufacturer, and pachinko is a “wildly popular pinball game in which small silver balls can be swapped for money,” according to DailyOnigiri.