Members of Britain's Japanese community have accused HSBC and its agency 141 Worldwide of darkening the actor's skintone and using make-up to make his eyes appear narrow. He is also wearing a Japanese-style wig and a traditional mawashi belt.
A spokesman for HSBC said that only standard photography make-up was used in the shoot and that it was not intended to alter the model's ethnic appearance.
The controversy follows a public outcry after the Spanish Olympic basketball team appeared in a newspaper ad making "slant-eyed" gestures.
A few days later, photographs of the Argentinian women's football team pulling the same pose also appeared on the internet.