“The hell with sound judgement” says Red Bull in ad, but Japanese people don’t seem to agree

Energy drink maker gets edgy in Coming of Age Day message, but some people think they need to grow up.

Monday was Coming of Age Day in Japan, a national holiday when people who turned or will be turning 20 during the academic year celebrate the start of their legal adulthood. To say congratulations to all the new grownups and soon-to-be-grownups, energy drink Red Bull took out an ad in the day’s edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun, and also sent out a copy through its official Japanese Twitter account,

The image shows a picture of (ironically) a blue bull, and begins the message with extra-large-font characters announcing “The hell with sound judgement.”

【本日の読売新聞朝刊に掲載】

まっすぐ、愚直に、大きくいこう。#成人の日 pic.twitter.com/WWEWgEcYVs

— Red Bull Japan (@redbulljapan) January 10, 2021

Actually, you wouldn’t be wrong to go even a little harsher on the meaning of kutabare, the first word in the ad. Here, for example, is how online Japanese-English dictionary Weblio translates it.

▼ In this case Weblio is a Japanese-to-English-and-also-Spanish dictionary.

But whether you render kutabare as “drop dead,” “f*** off,” or something in between, it’s pretty clear that Red Bull doesn’t think highly of conventional wisdom, and it doubles down on that with the rest of the ad, which reads:

“The excessive correctness of this world is trying to smooth out your beautiful edges. Nothing can be created from excessive correctness. When you layer common sense on top of common sense, in the end you don’t get anything other than common sense. Protect your own sensitivities. Protect your own impulses. Protect your inner idiot. Do what your instincts tell you will be fun. Let’s move straight ahead in life, and live it stupidly honest and large.”

And, naturally, …continue reading