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If you are ethnically Japanese, looking to meet ethnically Japanese singles, there is Japanese Cupid.If you are ethnically Chinese and looking for other ethnic Chinese, there's Two Red Beans.I'd originally asked for a visit, because I wanted to know who was behind the "That's not Racist" billboard and why, but I quickly learned that the billboard was just one corner of a peculiar and inscrutable (at least to me) branding universe. I asked East Meet East's CEO Mariko Tokioka about the "That's not Racist" billboard and she and Kenji Yamazaki, her cofounder, explained that it was meant to be a response to their online critics, whom they described as non-Asians who call the app racist, for catering exclusively to Asians.From their tidy desks, the team, almost all of whom identify as Asian-American, had long been deploying social media memes that riff off of a range of Asian-American stereotypes. When I showed that last image to an informal range of non-Asian-American friends, many of them mirrored my shock and bemusement. Yamazaki added that the feedback was especially aggressive when Asian women were featured in their advertisements.As we chatted about the app, she let me poke around her personal profile, which she had created recently after going through a breakup.
"Absolutely," I nodded in agreement—Asian women are —before catching myself.
Over 4.3 billion men and women live in Asia, making up 60% of the world’s population, and Asian-Americans account for 5.6% of the American population.
It probably goes without saying, but that’s a lot of people, not to mention a lot of potential singles.
I asked if the boundary-pushing memes were also part of this vision for reaching a greater community, and Yamazaki, who handles marketing, explained that their strategy was just to make a splash in order to reach Asian-Americans, even if they risked appearing offensive.
"Advertising that evokes emotions is the most effective," he said, blithely.