2

From http://www.takingontobacco.org/intro/funny.html, a list of marketing "lost in translation" incidents:

Foreign companies have similar problems when they enter English speaking markets. Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it expanded to English-speaking countries and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of the Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name. The company didn't change the name of all its divisions though. Visitors to Japan still have the opportunity to take a ride on the Kinki Nippon Railway.

Did "Kinki Nippon Tourist Company" change its name?

5

The English language Wikipedia article on Kintetsu states that "Kinki Nippon Tourist Travel Agency" is a subsidiary of Kintetsu Corporation.

http://www.knt.co.jp/kokusai/ itself states that it is Kinki Nippon Tourist Company

Copyright(c)2008. All rights reserved by Kinki Nippon Tourist Co.,Ltd.

However, some renaming did go on.

Kintetsu Corporation used to be called Kinki Nippon Railway Co., Ltd. Apparently, you can't ride the Kinki Nippon Railway any more.

Also, a renaming with a stated motivation to avoid "Kinki" in English has since happened in an unrelated organisation. Kinki University has announced it'll change its official English name to "Kindai University" in April 2016. "Kindai" is a contraction of "Kinki", a region of Japan, and "Daigaku", the Japanese word for university.

There was some information in Japanese that I'm not certain about its reliability, or what it means. I'm just leaving it here as a potential lead for more information. The Japanese language article on the Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd

1963年以降に進出した海外では、現地の子会社が旅行客に対して到着地での各種サービスの提供、航空券や旅行商品の販売、再保険引受事業などを行っている。海外の子会社の社名は“Kinki Nippon Tourist 〜”ではなく、“Kintetsu International Express (〜) Inc.”となっている。これは Kinkiという単語が英語圏ではKinky (変態)に語感が似ているためである。なお、国内の会社の英語社名は“Kinki Nippon Tourist 〜”である。

Google translate gives the following

Overseas you have advanced to the 1963 or later, we are a subsidiary of local provision of various services at the place of arrival for tourists, sales of travel products and airline tickets, such as re-insurance underwriting business. Instead of "Kinki Nippon Tourist ~" name of the foreign subsidiaries, has become a "(~) Inc. Kintetsu International Express". This is because the sense of language is similar to the (transformation) Kinky in English-speaking word Kinki. It should be noted, is a "Kinki Nippon Tourist ~" The English name of the company in the country.

  • 2
    Yep - no more "Kinki U" shirts. Next on the list will be the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Oddly, the more "interesting" short-stay hotels are in the Kinki / Osaka region. Like the Hello Kitty Bondage Room. – paul May 29 '14 at 8:41

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