Naked Nazi escapes Hong Kong fury

October 25, 2005

The controversial cover that has not provoked media outrage
Akasi, a quarterly publication for the discerning Nipponophile, has become the latest convert in Hong Kong's love affair with Nazi Germany.

The October issue of the top-shelf glossy is dominated by pictures of an attractive young lady partially dressed as a tank commander and cavorting with wartime general Heinz Guderian.

But unlike every other local business that naively or cynically cashes in on Nazi notoriety, Akasi has yet to generate a single raised eyebrow.

Until a reporter spotted a copy on the top shelf in a Causeway Bay 7-11 last week.

In Hong Kong's English language media, there are few subjects more likely to generate an outraged print campaign than the use of Nazi memorabilia as a marketing gimmick.

To many Hong Kongers, Nazis represent the epitome of desirability. Their tanks were made by Mercedes and Porsche; their uniforms were original Hugo Boss.

Twenty years after the last British skinhead tired of the joke, it's still not unusual to see a Hong Kong teen in an Adolph Hitler European Tour t-shirt.

And whether it be a karaoke den with photos of Germans executing prisoners (a strange choice of decoration, admittedly), a fashion store decorated with swastikas, a TV station describing its ad breaks as "the final solution" or a coffee shop picking Hitler for its daily quote, German wartime symbolism is never far from the editor's outrage button.

Yet somehow, Akasi's efforts have slipped below the radar. It's hard to imagine how this could be, since Hong Kong 7-11's are apparently full of penniless gweilos looking for love these days, and from our experience, at least some of them are likely to be journalists.

More importantly, the magazine pulled out all the stops to ensure someone would be offended: They've put the girl on the front and back covers, dressed her in death's heads, seig-heiling on a swastika backdrop. And just in case anybody missed the connection between the uniform, the tank the swastika and the jackbooted nipple tweaking love interest, the magazine even has a centrespread article about Guderian's life and works.

Guderian is often credited as an architect of the Blitzkrieg and a vocal proponent of the destruction of Warsaw. He rose to become Hitler's army chief of staff before conveniently falling out with him a few days before the war ended.

As Guderian has been dead for fifty years, getting him to pose for Akasi would have proved difficult. But the magazine found a cunning way around that little difficulty: They popped down to the shops and bought a plastic replica.

And they did the same thing with the tank.

With poses like this, it's hard to imagine Asak's publishers were not aiming to offend
But we're digressing. If it was news notoriety Akasi was after, something went badly awry. The directors of the Calvin Group, which publishes Akasi, must be kicking themselves over the acres of scandalised newsprint they've failed to inspire. This cynical attempt at media manipulation should have generated a maelstrom of outraged Sunday front pages and inside page follow-ups.

But it hasn't. All they've managed to do so far is inspire this one solitary Web report. How could they have so misjudged the media?

It could be that the strip is simply too silly to horrify anyone. Anyone who can pose a topless babe alongside an Action Man with a moustache must surely possess a sense of humour. And you'd have to be either a satirist or a very disturbed tank nerd to think of Photoshopping topless triplets into a Tamiya Tiger tank.

Or it could just be that the girl is just too cute to cause offence.

At the time of going to press, Asian Sex Gazette had been unsuccessful in contacting Akasi, so we have no informed opinion on the publisher's motives. All we can offer is speculation.

We also noted that the printer's name is Flying Wind. If that's not significant, we don't know what is.








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