Nike Japan: Naomi Osaka – QUESTION / RETURN

Naomi Osaka released this commercial with Nike Japan that perfectly captures (I think) the oscillations of her being Japanese when it’s convenient, and her being not Japanese when she’s not (at least according to a former chairman of Twitter I met at a private dinner in Hong Kong earlier this year).

Osaka’s had a rough year with the Japanese media. Nissin decided to make her look white in anime form, journalists keep trying to make her say things in Japanese, and her skin is the butt of a comedic duo’s joke. But what has stayed constant is how classy Osaka is.

Indeed, as Serena Williams said to Osaka after their US Open together last year:

“I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love and your fan, Serena.”