Every now and again some famous celebrity sells their soul to Japan for a few million handfuls of yen. In the past, they did not need to worry much about their soul selling escapades being viewed by a western audience. However, thanks to the internet and all of its unholy magicks, now we can all enjoy the hilarity that is their humiliation. Have you ever been serenaded by Hulk Hogan and a baby? I didn’t think so. Prepare yourself, things are about to get crazy.

25. Rick Astley

[yframe url=’’]
Rick Rolled! From Japan! Bam!

Oh, Rick Astley – anything you touch turns to pure gold. And also becomes instantly hilarious. Mitsuya Cider is a popular soft drink in Japan and tastes kind of like a cross between lemon-lime soda and ginger ale. It’s pretty good and also comes in a variety of flavors other than the traditional “white cider.” There’s also candies manufactured to taste like the flavors of Mitsuya Cider. Those are pretty tasty too.

24. Britney Spears

[yframe url=’’]
G, G, Tea? Tea doesn’t start with a G!

I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing Go Go Tea, but if it makes you look and dance around like this, I don’t want it. Also, how does this song go with the commercial at all? Anyway, Goo Goo Go Go Tea is a tea that is also a soda. Like I said, I’ve not had it before so I can’t comment on what it tastes like – but I’d actually be willing to give it a try. But not because of this commercial. It’s no good I tell you.

23. Michael Jackson

[yframe url=’’]
People usually wink with one eye, Michael, ONE EYE.

This one’s not too silly until the very end. Was he supposed to wink with both eyes? Is that part of the script? I don’t get it. It’s pretty clear that he’s advertising a scooter, and he’s advertising it with love. So naturally he does what he does best: dancing. Not a particularly thrilling commercial, but it’s certainly unexpected. Plus he’s a better dancer than Britney.

22. Ringo Starr

[yframe url=’’]
Ringo whaaat?

This commercial plays on the oh so clever pun involving Ringo Starr’s first name. In Japanese, ringo means apple. Hence the confusion. I’ve never had this apple beverage, so I can’t comment on the taste, but if it’s good enough to have a musician named after it – it must be pretty darn good.

21. Harrison Ford

[yframe url=’’]
Learn how to order beer with Harrison Ford!

Harrison Ford’s Japanese commercials for Kirin Beer are definitely some of the most respectable in my opinion. Harrison is a classy guy and he even speaks his own Japanese lines in these commercials. Not bad, Harry. Not bad. You should check out some of his other ones too- they’re pretty solid. And Kirin Beer isn’t too bad either, you can find it in most restaurants and markets in the States, too!

20. Charlie Sheen

[yframe url=’’]

The end is my favorite part. Other than that the commercial is pretty blasé. But I mean, it’s the Sheen. Auto-funny. So, in the other units of the apartment, the couples are fighting over the temperature being too hot or too cold, but with the advertized gas unit, everything is just right. Other than the fact that Charlie Sheen is there. Oops.

19. Quentin Tarantino

[yframe url=’′]
Tara-chan: he’s a looney.

Quentin Tarantino is kind of a goofball if you haven’t noticed. He’s always been very influenced by Japan and it shows though in many of his movies. I guess this is his way of “showing his thanks to Japan.” Softbank is a Japanese telecommunications and media corporation and the product being advertised here is a portable speaker shaped like a dog. There are a handful of other commercials in this same vein with the talking dog and all, but this one is definitely the goofiest.

18. Bruce Willis

[yframe url=’’]

No really, someone explain this to me. WHAT IS GOING ON. Eneos is a brand of motor oil, and then something to do with a credit card… and too many telephones.. and.. then… an electrocuted gas pump (or is that a hot glue gun from the future? I CAN’T TELL). Bruce Willis in a nightcap is pretty normal though, but the rest of this commercial just doesn’t add up!

17. Jean Claude Van Damme

[yframe url=’’]
Black Black, it’s crack!

A bulky action star advertising something tiny like chewing gum doesn’t really compute for me, but hey – money’s money. Black Black is a caffeinated chewing gum. I don’t really care for it all that much, and there’s some side effects. Withdrawal from it can cause visions of girls in swimsuits, too many clothespins, and even explosions. And as we all know, once you go Black Black, you never go back back.

16. Ben Stiller

[yframe url=’’]

This would have been a lot more impressive if Ben had actually spoke Japanese instead of having it all dubbed over. He does speak a bit of his own though at the end when he slurs うますぎだよ all into one word (disdericious!) Kirin Chu-Hi (like other chu-hai) is a flavored alcoholic beverage that is delicious and really needs no advertising at all because it is so amazing. Seriously, why haven’t they brought these to the states? They’d sell like crazy!

15. Tommy Lee Jones

[yframe url=’’]
Quiet! QUIET!!

This one really isn’t all that wonky except for his face near the end, but it cracks me up every time. Tommy Lee Jones is one cool dude, and also he’s an alien. He’s advertising BOSS Coffee because he himself is a Boss (with a capital B). There are a series of these commercials and he’s somber and Boss-like in almost every one of them. You too can be somber and Boss-like if you consume BOSS Coffee! And BOSS is one of the top canned coffee brands in Japan, so yeah, it’s pretty good.

14. Rowan Atkinson

[yframe url=’’]
The name’s Bean. Mr. Bean.

I love Mr. Bean. How I managed to miss the fact that he did a handful of Japanese TV spots is beyond me. But here you are, Mr. Bean advertising the Nissan Almera Tino. He doesn’t even have to say anything to be funny, but his saying the name of the vehicle at the end is just icing on the bean cake. I also stumbled upon this little gem while digging this up. You’re welcome.

13. Andy Warhol

[yframe url=’!’]
Kill Day E? What did Day E ever do to you, Andy? Huh? Huh!?

Ok, so Andy Warhol’s Japanese accent is pretty bad, and all he’s doing is naming colors. It’s just the way he says it though – with his eyes closed, like he’s in some sort of Japanese color trance, and then he opens his eyes into a cold stare urging the audience to kill Day E. The advert is for TDK color video tapes, and it makes sense since Andy Warhol is an artist, and artists use colors when they do art and stuff. You would have thought they’d take a different approach in the commercial though. Andy’s presentation doesn’t really get me all that excited about video tapes.

12. Michael J. Fox

[yframe url=’’]
And a good afternoon to you as well, Mr. Fox.

My favorite part of this commercial is the scream in the middle. Like Michael J. Fox is afraid of some silly old maid. Please. The product he’s advertising is called afternoon tea. It is forbidden to drink this tea before noon, or after 5pm. There are laws. People have died. I’ve had this drink and its variants before and it’s just fine for a tea – if you’re into that sort of thing.

11. Hulk Hogan

[yframe url=’’]
Who knew Hulk Hogan could be so delightful? Also, why is there a baby?

Why would anyone choose Hulk Hogan for this commercial? If you had to be serenaded by someone, would your first choice be a pro wrestler? Yeah, probably. So he’s advertising an air conditioning unit that works every day of the week. Hence the silly song? But what sort of respectable machine doesn’t work every day of the week? Machines don’t get weekends and holidays off! Come on!

10. Kiefer Sutherland

[yframe url=’’]

In this commercial for CalorieMate, Kiefer Sutherland does what he is known around the world for. Yelling? At Japanese school girls? Wait a minute… Well anyway, CalorieMate is a variety of energy supplements ranging from the traditional energy block (bar) to gelatin energy from the future (the future tastes like apples!) And I’ve never tried it before, but they do have the delicious canned flavor of corn soup. Yum.

9. Sylvester Stallone

[yframe url=’’]
I like Byron!

This one’s just silly. Stallone’s accent when he says the product name sure doesn’t help either. But hey, sausages! Not much to say here about the product itself – they’re sausages, from Japan, and Sylvester Stallone likes them. But only when they’re prepared by Byron. And what do sausages have to do with bicycles?

8. Eddie Murphy

[yframe url=’’]
Supa supa stylin~!

I’ve the feeling that Eddie Murphy would make a great car salesman in real life. He really sells you that Celica (it’s supa supa!) My favorite part is when he throws in the random Japanese asking if the audience understands (wakatta!?). And you really know how much he loves that car when he kisses it. When’s the last time you saw a car salesman kiss the car they were trying to sell you? Never. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy a Celica, brb.

7. Nicolas Cage

[yframe url=’’]

Yep. Nicolas cage really will do anything for money. There’s a series of these commercials and in pretty much every one, Nicolas Cage is his usual ridiculous self, and also bat-crazy for pachinko. Sankyo makes pachinko machines. The commercial makes perfect sense. Triplets? Three in a row like a slot machine? There we go, it all comes together, see? I’m not a big fan of pachinko myself, but that could also be due to the fact that I had close to no idea what was going on when I played.

6. Arnold Schwarzenegger

[yframe url=’’]

Arnie just by himself is pretty funny as it is. But seeing the governator in this goofy commercial for V is priceless. You gotta give the man credit though – he really gets into it. The product he is advertising is called V. V is one of those fancy energy/vitamin drinks that come in teeny tiny bottles. Who better to advertise such a product than the Terminator himself? V tastes about how you would expect though. Pretty average.

5. John Travolta

[yframe url=’’]
Tokyo Drink – the drink from Tokyo! God, I want a Chu-Hi.

Have you had a chu-hai before? If so, then you know it pretty much makes you feel like these commercials. And that feeling is totally awesome. Seriously, drink one can and everything in these commercials will happen to you all at the same time. It’s fantastic.

4. The Simpsons

[yframe url=’’]

Drinking C.C. Lemon makes your clothes come off. Or so this commercial and the Japanese Simpsons would have you believe. (Perhaps C.C. Lemon should be served at college frat parties instead of alcohol?) The Simpsons speaking Japanese in itself is enough to make me chortle, but having them naked in the kitchen as well? Too much. C.C. Lemon is a soda that tastes like lemons (who woulda thunk?) It’s actually quite good though, and was also a popular choice among the other Americans when we studied abroad in Japan. In addition, it’s another beverage that can be easily found in many Japanese markets in the States. So get out there and git yer kimochi on!

3. Sean Connery

[yframe url=’’]
Bio bio bio guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu~

Okay, so maybe Sean Connery’s standards were a little lower back in the day, but who else can make yogurt look so frickin awesome? No one. The man is truly capable of playing any role and making it credible. Who else has that sort of power? Have you seen Zardoz? Well, neither have I, but it looks trippy as hell. Anyway, in the commercial, Sean Connery takes a leisurely drive through the countryside accompanied by his trusty demon bunny before arriving at his humble abode, which also happens to be a ginormous carton of yoguuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu *ahem* yogurt. Sorry.

2. Brad Pitt

[yframe url=’′]

Ohhhh man. This commercial is just too much. And I bet he’s pretty proud of these commercials too – they really show off his acting chops. In one of his other commercials, he urges you to, “Please. Please, check out my ASS!” Believe it or not though, little Brad here is still advertising Edwin jeans to this day. Gotta give him and his ass credit for sticking with it, right? I actually own two pairs of Edwin jeans – they were the only ones I could find that fit right.

1. Bob Sapp

[yframe url=’’]
It’s Super Italian!

[yframe url=’′]
It’s delicious, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?!!?!?

[yframe url=’′]
wtf Bob Sapp. srsly. wtf.

Robert Malcolm “Bob” Sapp is a kickboxer, mixed martial artist, professional wrestler, actor, and former professional football player. You may not have heard of him before, but he is super well known and popular in Japan. He appears in countless commercials, television shows, and has even released his own CD. But these commercials pretty much speak for themselves. I don’t think I need to explain why he takes the number one spot on this list.

Honorable Mention

Touch de Pon Lady

[yframe url=’’]

Ok, so this girl’s not a famous actor, but her acting should definitely be famous. There’s a handful of commercials featuring her and her atrocious butchering of the Japanese language skittered across the internet. Is her god-awful pronunciation part of the appeal? Why did they do this? Either way it’s a good example of what speakers of Japanese should not sound like. She’s advertising Bold by P&G. It makes your clothes smell like rainbows and cupcakes every time you touch them. Remember, touch them and they will pon.

So, what are your favorite Japanese commercials featuring famous westerners or otherwise? Any commercials you think deserve a spot on this list? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

P.S. Gonna link these vids to all your pals? Like us on Facebook.
P.P.S. Wish we had more commercials like this in America? Follow us on Twitter.

[Header Image]

  • mSamyel

    kenka yokunai yo
    sushi oishii yo, umai yo :D

  • mSamyel
  • Melanie Wilson

    Duran Duran had a couple of Suntory whiskey commercials in the 80s that I enjoy, but mostly because I love Duran Duran.  The band look like bobbleheads, and there are some creepy dolls.
    Fun fact, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran co-owns SYN, a music production and entertainment company in Tokyo:

  • Callisto

    “Yo RO shih koo deyss!”
    Omg that was glorious. And I totally want my clothes to pon now.

  • Mistress Catgirl

    These are so awesomely bad. I love them.  I especially LOVE Quentin Tarantino. He’s so awesome and goofy. He’s one of the people I’d like to meet before I die.

  • Jahgoreds

    Hilarious article :P…btw I am thinking of pursuing Japanese in college…How heavy is the workload John? Specifically at [The] OSU because I live close to Columbus…(I have to pick up my sister there all the time from school -.-).

  • Momo

    Hey John! You should post a video about yourself, with you speaking Japanese! 

    [Have you done one already?]

  • John

    The workload’s not bad at all, especially if you enjoy the language. The toughest part is just the fact that you have to (have to) study pretty much every day. There’s always something new in the next class that demands at least some attention before the bell rings. It’s not like other classes where you get an assignment and you can pretty much ignore it until the night before. You actually have to study and do work every day xD — But yeah like I said, the workload isn’t bad at all especially if you’re having fun with it. (SPEAC is a different story though, lol – look into it if you haven’t already. I did it for first year and I think it was worth it, but it was pretty much like having Japanese as a full time job)

  • John

    Nope! Haven’t done one of those!

  • Jahgoreds

    Thanks, i’ll look into it.

  • Arrowofdarkness

    there is a new tommy lee jones commercial in japan. i dont remember what its about though

  • John

    Do you remember if it’s still for BOSS Coffee though? I can’t imagine him doing anything else, lol.

  • Snivvs

    this post was awesome! thanks John! ^_^

  • Ángel López
    what about Angelina Jolie announcing shiseido… with spanish music. WTF? xd

  • Hailey

    I thought the last commerical was about her boobs…lol

    Oh, and the Bob Sapp pizza commercial is one of my favorite Japanese commercials of all time. I laugh every time.

  • Gabe

    Take it away! TAKE IT AWAYYY!

  • Future Dr. Arguelles


  • bb

    #15 Tommy lee jones is saying “kora!” which means “cool it!” or “stop it!” (usually just said to kids)… he’s not saying “quiet!”