Taipei EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡) yesterday evening scrambled to recall its “Angel” version of two cards intended for a set featuring Yui Hatano, an actress in the Japanese adult video industry, after netizens reported that the image had been used on one of Hatano’s productions.
The company said Hatano came to Taiwan for a photography shoot, but due to a lack of appropriate pictures, it used a photograph provided by a Japanese company, without knowing it had been used elsewhere.
All of the cards in the series are to be retrieved and a redesign done, the company said.
Photo courtesy of the EasyCard Corp
The planned limited-edition series has drawn mixed reviews.
According to sources within the company, the decision was made after employee suggestions met with the approval of EasyCard chairman Tai Chi-chuan (戴季全).
However, the move has drawn criticism from educators and parents, who said the images would be detrimental to children.
As there would be no age restrictions on the purchase of the cards and they would be available at all four major convenience store chains, an education organization called for the company to put an age limit on sales and restrict the cards to certain channels.
Humanistic Education Foundation deputy executive director Hsieh Shu-mei (謝淑美) said that despite the availability of “sensory stimulating” pictures on the Internet, using an image of an actress in the adult video industry on EasyCards would exceed the appropriate level of knowledge that should be made available to children.
The company should take into account its social responsibility and limit the channels and groups able to purchase such cards, Hsieh said.
University of Taipei Department of Early Childhood Education associate professor Lin Pei-jung (林佩蓉) said that putting an image of the actress on EasyCards could affect the mindset of children and make them think that the commercialization of women is normal.
According to local media, parents held differing views on the issue, with some saying the availability of EasyCards would make it a strange platform for such pictures and suggested a seal to cover the picture, while others said that the picture on the cards would be acceptable as it was not overtly revealing and it was simply a marketing strategy targeting a certain group.
Others said the company might be breaching its own rules that customized cards must not involve violent, sexual or any content that might disturb “public order and culture.”
The company yesterday said that there would not be any nudity on the cards and called on the public to view the products with a healthy mindset.
The cards would hold great value as a collector’s item and would go on sale on Tuesday next week, the company said, adding that there would be 15,000 sets, with each set containing two cards,.
All proceeds from the sales of the limited-edition cards would go to charity, it said.
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who appointed Tai in March last year, appeared surprised when reporters raised the issue while he was attending a meeting of community officials.
Ko said he told Tai to increase EasyCard Corp’s business by 100 percent and left the details up to him, but he expressed doubt that the special cards would help, especially with women accounting for 65 to 75 percent of EasyCard users.
The touch-and-go IC ticket can be used for the Taipei MRT, bus services, designated car parks and some stores, and the company also issues special-edition cards featuring cartoon figures popular among collectors.
The Taipei City Government, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank and 12 bus companies in Taipei are major shareholders of EasyCard Corp, while the chairman is appointed by the city’s mayor.
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