Two South African men are finding themselves in an uncomfortable spotlight now that the name of their new restaurant has been made public. The men, who are both white, are opening an Asian eatery in the city of Melville, a suburb of Johannesburg.
The pair have opted to name the establishment "Misohawni."
We will admit, at first glance we thought it was a play on miso soup. So we checked a few different resources and from what we could find the restaurant will be serving ramen, hot pot, Korean BBQ, poke, and izakaya... and about halfway through this search we said the name out loud.
The name is a play on the scene from the classic film Full Metal Jacket. The movie is about the experience of American soldiers in the Vietnam war. One scene features a Vietnamese prostitute propositioning the soldiers, who refer to her as a "go*k wh*re." In it, she uses phrases that have become somewhat ingrained in cultural lexicon since then.
In broken English and with a heavy accent she tells the soldiers:
"Me so horny. Me love you long time."
A new 'Asian' restaurant opening in Joburg, owned by non Asians. It covers 3 different cultures: 1.ramen (Japanese), 2.poke (Hawaiian) & 3.Korean BBQ. As an Asian woman, I really hate the name. It might seem funny but when men say it while they sexually harass you it's not. pic.twitter.com/gAVDiSKFah— Ming Chows 林明巧 (@mingcheau) November 14, 2017
When you put this on your sign, your menu, you celebrate your power over me. Your power to make me feel like shit just seeing it exists.— Dakota Kim (@dakotakim1) November 14, 2017
not to mention, it's not in a real Asian language but a mock-up amalgation of "Asian sounds" that white ppl have used to hurt me & ppl who look like me for centuries— 💛SAD CHINA💛 (@svnnyc) November 14, 2017
I can just imagine the conversation now:— Tommy705 (@Tomm705) November 14, 2017
"Hey bro know what'd be funny bro? Naming the restaurant Misohawni, bro"
"Yeah bro, that'd be hilarious, bro, let's do it, bro.
If you're still not sure why this is offensive to so many, go ahead and watch the scene. We're not going to embed it, but we assure you it's available on YouTube.
Since the controversy has blown up, the restaurant has removed their Facebook page, but their Twitter is still up and running. People are hoping the purposefully-offensive eatery opts for a name change (or to just go away.)
They probably want to capitalise off the controversy .. They are very aware of what they're doing.— Nontando Nikelo (@low_lo) November 14, 2017