One of the many amusing things about Japan is seeing hip Hollywood actors doing commercials that they could never get away with in the US. Andre Agassi's famous "image is everything" definitely has a different meaning here. Especially considering the huge sums of money that Hollywood A-Lister's get for promotions and appearances in Japan.
In 2006 I was living in Tokyo. There were enormous, two-story tall posters all over the city of Richard Gere promoting a men's product. I mean who does he think he is? Baseball great, Hideki Matsui?
Here is Nicolas Cage in funny ads promoting Pachinko, a slot machine-like gambling game:
In my wife's hometown - and we'll assume everywhere else in Japan - former heartthrob and Oscar nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio is selling Ecopia's "environmentally friendly" tires at gas service stations.
In the US would his image survive being plastered on gas stations nationwide, even if related to an eco-product? And would anyone want to buy a tire from the star of Titanic?