Using the power of good for bad is a narrative that has repeated itself all throughout history, both in reality and fiction, and the latest case of that cycle is pretty evident in this bizarre promotional video for ili, a wearable translation device.


Source: LogBar

LogBar, a wearable technology company (which is Japanese btw), is introducing a new instant translation device called ili that translates speech between English, Chinese, and Japanese. With the Tokyo Olympics approaching, and a new boom in promoting international tourism in Japan, interest in such devices (such as translation megaphones at airports) have surged and the benefit can clearly be appreciated by Japanese and non-Japanese alike. So it's a fantastic concept with many practical applications.

The problem is that the promotional video for the device is a venture into the world of creepiness, as it features a guy using the device by walking around Tokyo and trying to convince girls to kiss him. While there may be some harmless origins of the intention to try and make this a funny prankster/troll video, it leads to him grabbing at girls and chasing after them.

In being totally honest with ourselves, we have no doubt that people who eventually pick up this device (as well as those who have put in honest effort and hard work into learning a language), will inevitably use it for a similar purpose--but we hope that wouldn't include harassing innocent women and forcing yourself into their day just because you want some loving. Take a look below to judge for yourself.

“I’m gonna try and kiss girls I’ve never met before using this translation device, ili.”

Bold strategy, Cotton--let's see if it pays off for him.


Source: YouTube

"Very normal in the U.K."--really?


Source: YouTube

It's also not a theme park for creeps


Source: YouTube

Just a sec--let me harass you some more!


Source: YouTube

Who needs translation when you can just grab unsuspecting women?


Source: YouTube

“Let’s try. No one’s looking.” Just the camera. And internet.


Source: YouTube

While several girls laugh things off and even entertain his pursuits, it's a bit cringe-worthy to watch the women who are made uncomfortable and forced to flee. While this would be pretty bold behavior anywhere, it's especially intrusive in Japan, where social etiquette regarding public intimacy is rather conservative. It also doesn't help that this promotional video is pretty harmful for the image of foreigners in Japan.

It's definitely an awesome concept, and although the translation is not quite perfect, it would no doubt help a lot of people in sticky situations abroad--but if ili's purpose is to "Say goodbye to all language barriers" as the site's tagline claims, then maybe a promotional video that treats foreign women as targets, and not humans, is not the best tactic.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.