San Diego JACL Urges Business Owner to Stop Using Racial Slur in Advertising

SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego Japanese American Citizens League (SDJACL) calls on the owner of “Japanese Authentic Palate in a Box” to discontinue use of the racially derogatory term “JAP” in the advertising of his business.

“Japanese Authentic Palate in a Box” is a food truck operating in San Diego. Michael Kurima, SDJACL Board President, explains that this term “is a derogatory and disparaging slur for many Japanese Americans” and is therefore not appropriate for use in marketing any business. This term is tied to a history of racism, humiliation, and the unconstitutional deprivation of civil rights and liberties of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent. It remains offensive to the Japanese American community and most other communities in America. The term is not accepted on California license plates, and the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution in 1986 barring the use of the term as “racially derogatory and offensive.”

The use of the term is not “cool” or “catchy”. The term is no more acceptable than any other racially derogatory slur with regard to other Asian cultures and communities. The use of the term also does not become acceptable just because it is used by a person of Japanese descent. The effect of this insensitive marketing is already normalizing the slur. One public review of the business states, “You got to love the name.” To be clear, use of the term “JAP” is neither normal nor acceptable, and the use of this racial slur should not be permitted to become normalized.

In the spirit of community and respect for all cultures and people, the SDJACL has appealed to the business owner multiple times over the past year and a half to reconsider the marketing of his business. The SDJACL asked the owner to simply use the full name of “Japanese Authentic Palate in a Box” and refrain from using the racially derogatory slur. SDJACL supports local businesses but cannot support those that participate in perpetuating the use of racial slurs – of any kind – to market their businesses.

We call on the community and friends of the SDJACL to support our efforts to convince the owner to refrain from using this racially derogatory term in any and all advertising. The SDJACL also asks members of the community and other local businesses to re-consider their patronage of this business as long as it insists on marketing with racially derogatory language and to consider providing feedback to the owner in writing or by phone.


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