You are here: Home » Sports » Sports News » News
Business Standard

US Open: Japan celebrates Osaka but sponsors cautious about her activism

Japan is celebrating Naomi Osaka's victory at the US Open, especially her array of corporate sponsors

Topics
US Open | Naomi Osaka | Tennis

AP  |  Tokyo 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka

Japan is celebrating Naomi Osaka's victory at the U.S. Open, especially her array of corporate sponsors.

But like much of Japan, they are more muted in backing or understanding her campaign against racial injustice in the United States. Unlike the U.S., Japan has relatively few immigrants and has a generally lower level of awareness about racism even at home.

Osaka was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, but moved to the United States at 3 and was raised there.

Before each of her seven U.S. Open matches, she wore a mask with the names of Black Americans who died as the victims of violence.

Osaka is expected to compete for Japan in next year's Olympics and, like many athletes, may want to use that stage to deliver her message; in Osaka's case, the campaign for Black Lives Matter.

The International Olympic Committee prohibits displays of political, religious or racial propaganda on the Olympic medal podium under its so-called Rule 50. But many athletes are pushing for more rights to speak out at upcoming Olympics.

Some people lobbying for change have said anti-racist speech is not political speech.

Associated Press contacted several of Osaka's sponsors. Forbes magazine listed her last year as the world's richest female athlete with earnings of $37.4 in the previous 12 months.

The reaction of Japanese wristwatch-maker Citizen Watch Co. was typical of the responses. The company declined to comment on the masks, but expressed delight in an official statement that the star was wearing one of its products a watch with a yellow band during the U.S. Open.

Sports equipment manufacturer Yonex Co. expressed support for Osaka's feelings, while also stressed that she won her third Grand Slam using one of its rackets.

Nissin Foods the instant noodle maker said Osaka's third Grand Slam win underlined the spirit behind the company's Hungry to win slogan, and looked forward to her participation in the Olympics.

But when asked about the masks and Osaka's campaign against racial injustice, the spokesman declined comment calling it her personal matter.

Automaker Nissan Motor Co. said it planned no statement.

Some response on Japanese social media has been negative, lashing out at Osaka. Of course, there has also been ample praise.

Negative outbursts against people who stand out can be common in Japan, where conformity and teamwork are valued, and individualism is often seen as selfish and unbecoming.

The statement from the Japanese Prime Minister's Office made no reference to Osaka's masks or any mention about racial injustice, saying on Twitter: Congratulations. It was a full-set comeback from behind, and you never gave up till the end. Thanks for inspiring us.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, September 14 2020. 14:34 IST