It's not that the Japanese people are racist, necessarily, but sometimes they're just clueless when it comes to what is socially appropriate. Walk into any music shop in Japan and you'll find a section called 'Black Music' comprised of, well, you get it.
Starting back in the mid-1970s and coming into fame in the 80s, the Chanels (シャネルズ) is a Do Wop group that performs in black face (!) -- but not all of them: there's one member who is the 'white' one and doesn't have any make-up on. Oof!
If it's any consolation, their make-up isn't as dark as it once was. Perhaps this change coincided with the Chanel Corporation demanding that they change their name. Currently the Chanels are known as ラッツ&スター (RATS & STAR). And, no, I don't get it either.
The video I wanted to embed has been disabled by YouTube, but fortunately the link still works. Unbelievable...
Update: So my wife informs me that RATS & STAR's member Tashiro Masashi (田代まさし たしろ まさし), a tenor singer in the group, has a colorful criminal history.
Doing some research online I've found that Tashiro is a very colorful character whose illegal activities have included: peeping into woman's restrooms, the illegal possession of a controlled substances (most likely speed) and a weapon in violation of the firearms law. Other rumored illegal activity (which I can't seem to find information on) include alleged chikan (pervert) incidents involving teenage school girls. Whadda guy!