When Carlos Ghosn was released on bail last Monday, it wasn’t the ¥1 billion ($8.9 million) bail amount making the rounds on Twitter, nor his lengthy 108-day detention period. Rather, it was the ridiculous workman outfit he was wearing when leaving the detention center.
Lawyer sorry for embarrassing Ghosn by planning workman disguise https://t.co/EzQ98X7opl
— TokyoReporter (@tokyoreporter) March 8, 2019
All Ghosn wrong
The former Nissan CEO was released in Tokyo after being arrested on three counts of financial misconduct. He was first arrested on November 19 over charges of false accounting, and again on December 21 for shifting his personal financial losses to Nissan. He denies all charges.
According to a BBC article posted on March 8, a member of Ghosn’s legal team named Takashi Takano took responsibility for the “amateur plan” that was Ghosn’s ineffective workman disguise. Last Friday, he wrote on his blog, “I feel sorry about that… due to my amateur plan, the fame he has built over a lifetime was tainted.”
Still, we can’t place all the blame on Takano. It was always going to be a tall order to disguise such a famous face from the paparazzi, who almost immediately recognized Ghosn behind his cap and face mask. In fact, Ghosn is so famous in Japan that he inspired a manga series about his leadership at Nissan called The True Life of Carlos Ghosn which became a bestseller in the early 2000s.
Although Ghosn’s legal team might be regretting the failed attempt at disguise, it has become marvelous ネタ (neta), or joke material, for Japan’s Twitter users poking fun at the half-baked idea.
1. Ghosn vs Baikinman
One side-splitting neta was comparing Ghosn’s disguise to similarly pathetic disguises in Japanese cartoons, such as Baikinman from popular children’s anime Anpanman:
— ジョー (@JyoDQ) March 6, 2019
@JyoDQ quipped, “Ghosn’s disguise is as weak as Baikinman’s.”
2. Ghosn 13
Another on-point anime comparison was made to the titular character from Golgo 13:
— ラテおじさん (@usaginorate) March 6, 2019
Twitter user @usaginorate chimed in by teasing, “His disguise is as crappy as Golgo 13’s from the Golgo 13 manga.”
3. It’s Morphin Time!
Carlos Ghosn’s outfit also inspired an artist on Twitter to redesign The Power Rangers around his new look:
— ジーコマロ@名古屋 (@tabisitegomen) March 6, 2019
@tabisitegomen dubbed them “The Ghosn Rangers.”
4. Halloween 2019
Another funny joke making the rounds involved Twitter users wanting Ghosn’s disguise to become a huge hit for Halloween costumes this year, sharing similar costumes they found on Amazon.
カルロス・ゴーン コスプレセットAmazonで5,584円 pic.twitter.com/57MbXeFfx7
— アスカ弐号機 (@asukanigoki) March 6, 2019
@asukanigoki posted screenshots of this particularly strong candidate for a Ghosn-inspired costume and wrote, “Here’s a Carlos Ghosn cosplay set on Amazon for ¥5,584 ($50).”
Ghosn could have learned a lot from this toy poodle’s pawfect disguise:
— 野田ゆ (@hachinosukekun) March 17, 2019
6. Mr Bean!
Or maybe Ghosn should have taken @Jugem_T’s advice on how to make a more subtle escape?
They suggested, “He might have avoided the paparazzi if he rode on top of a yellow Rover Mini wearing a suit rather than going through all the effort of the workman disguise and riding a Suzuki car. Then they would have said, ‘Oh, it’s just Mr. Bean.’”
7. Eyebrow twinning
They weren’t the only one commenting how similar Ghosn and Mr. Bean look (it’s gotta be those eyebrows…).
— さっしー4101 (@4101y) March 6, 2019
@4101y jested, “I wish that Ghosn had gotten out on bail disguised like this.”
8. Fists of Futility
Mr. Bean wasn’t the only celebrity that Ghosn’s silly disguise was compared to. Another Twitter user pointed out this surprising resemblance to Ghosn in disguise:
— ベイビー佐々木 (@babysasaki) March 8, 2019
@babysasaki wrote, “In which I can only see the disgraced and bailed-out suspect Carlos Ghosn as disguising himself as Bruce Lee from Fists of Fury, lol.” And honestly, if you just add a mask to Bruce Lee then it’s the exact same look.
9. Carlos Gong
Another ネタ (neta) that had people talking was how Ghosn’s name sounds like a gong sound in Japanese:
@bigmama_da described hitting the gong for each of Ghosn’s sins, commenting on how the bell sounds like his name: “Ghooooosn~.”
10. Pole Position
Twitter users also suggested that Ghosn could have taken a lead out of one famous actor’s book.
— Bun太 (@Bunt06184687) March 8, 2019
@Bunt06184687 tweeted, “Carlos Ghosn’s disguise has become a hot topic, but please take a look at how actor Dustin Hoffman avoids the paparazzi.” With many people on Twitter discussing how Ghosn’s disguise just makes him look more guilty, perhaps the above really would have been a better way for Ghosn to leave the detention center.
While media outlets poke fun at his failed attempt at disguise, Ghosn will have to remain in Tokyo until his trial begins in autumn this year. With him keeping a low profile until then, the bigger issues of Japan’s long detention periods and high conviction rate might become the main focus of this case rather than Ghosn’s bizarre fashion choices.