'Shirato Family' star alongside Tommy Lee Jones in Boss-SoftBank crossover commercials

Tommy Lee Jones appears in a TV commercial for Softbank Mobile with Kanako Higuchi, Dante Carver and Oto-san. SOFTBANK MOBILE


The popular cast of characters known as the “Shirato Family” in SoftBank Mobile’s ads are appearing alongside American actor Tommy Lee Jones’ Suntory Boss character in a series of collaborative commercials that have been made to coincide with the drink manufacturer’s 20th anniversary campaign.

Jones, who turns 66 next month, is reportedly a big fan of Japanese culture and a regular visitor to the country. He has starred as a host of deadpan comedy characters in 36 Boss canned coffee commercials since 2006. The Shirato Family, which includes a mother played by Kanako Higuchi, 53, a father played by a single 8-year-old Hokkaido breed dog, a son played by American actor Dante Carver, 35, and a daughter played by Aya Ueto, 26, have made 136 commercials in the last five years. “It feels like we make a new one every week,” says Higuchi.

One of the new ads takes its inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The commercial sees Jones orbiting a CGI Earth in a spacesuit and enjoying the peace and quiet, to a soundtrack of “Also sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss. His reverie is interrupted by the appearance of a space shuttle from which the Shirato Family’s canine father, also in a spacesuit, emerges to confront him.

In another commercial, Jones plays a family man who wears an apron while busying himself around the house. Higuchi said of Jones, “He really suits that apron. He would make a great househusband. I’d love for him to become a permanent member of the Shirato household.”

Japan Today

  • 6


    I wonder what per cent of Mr. Jones's income is from Japan.

  • -8


    White dog that says something? Do not like this commercial.

  • 2


    Jones rocks, I love his BOSS commercials. The otoosan commercials are starting to get boring.

  • -5

    Mirai Hayashi

    Tommy Lee Jones is awesome. I wish he wasn't doing j-commercials because they are totally wasting his acting talents on stupid laughs.

  • 1


    Most people do not realize this but white dog is an encrypted message to ojisans Japanese.

    Never forget who's son Massayoshi.

  • -7


    136 commercials in the last five years. "It feels like we make a new one every week," says Higuchi.

    Yeah. They were entertaining in the beginning too.

    I wish he wasn't doing j-commercials because they are totally wasting his acting talents

    I think he is more than fairly compensated for his time, which he no doubt enjoyed anyway.

  • 1


    Mr. Jones would not do such Japanese commercials if he does not like them at all. I think his decision whatever.

  • 0


    An excellent idea from whoever at the ad agency dreamed this up. Hope he gets a promotion.

  • 2

    Dennis Bauer

    i find Tommy Lee Jones Boss commercials hillarious. The one where they finish the tunnel "Banzai!, Banzai!, Banzai!) :P

  • 1


    iyo iyo, go Mr.Lee Jones! You rule.

  • 0


    36 commercials? That is a lot.

  • 0


    aurite dante, keep it up man. proud of you. i remember the day you called me when you got that gig back in 06

  • 0


    I am looking foward to seeing these.

  • 0


    I saw one of the boss commercials where he is an alien substitute teacher. Funny stuff.

  • 0


    I wish he wasn't doing j-commercials because they are totally wasting his acting talents on stupid laughs.

    As a Japanophile, he probably enjoys these commercials more than he does the movies he performs in. They fly him to a country he is fond of, he spends only a day or two on the commercial shoot, then gets to go sightsee for a while before returning to the States. Except for the jet lag, it's a dream gig for someone like him.

  • 0


    Yes, no, and what? to many of the comments above. What did surprise me is that TLJones looks a wee bit rough for the tender age of 66. An awesome actor he is, but he looks like he's been on the Keith Richards party schedule/diet.

  • 0

    Andrew Diseker

    When I was over there in 2007, I remember (and have pictures of) the huge posters of Tommy Lee Jones glaring down at you from train stations, from Suntory vending machines, and even on the advertisements hanging down in the train cars! Kind of felt like "1984", which may have been the idea! I got to see a couple of the commercials then, too, really funny even if I didn't understand the language!

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