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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View This Issue
ASIA / PACIFIC
September 17, 2018
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 5
Osaka charms Japan with her manners — and broken Japanese
EARNING ACCEPTANCE. Sports and tabloid
newspapers reporting on Naomi Osaka’s victory in
the U.S. Open tennis finals are seen at a newsstand
in Tokyo. Two days after becoming the first Japanese
player to win a Grand Slam tennis title, Osaka was still
filling the front pages of the country’s three major daily
newspapers. Her halting Japanese, her manners —
she bowed and apologized after beating Serena Wil-
liams in the U.S. Open final — and her simple charm
have swelled national pride in Japan and eclipsed
many questions about her mixed-race parentage in
a famously insular country. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
By Stephen Wade and Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press
OKYO — Naomi Osaka’s halting
Japanese, her manners — she
bowed and apologized after beating
Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final —
and her simple charm have swelled
national pride in Japan and eclipsed many
questions about her mixed-race parentage
in a famously insular country.
Two days after becoming the first
Japanese player to win a Grand Slam
tennis title, Osaka was still filling the
front pages of the country’s three major
daily newspapers and led discussions on
The perspective from Japan a day after
her win: Osaka is being embraced as
Japanese despite her mixed background.
National pride — at least for now — is
overriding questions of cultural identity
and what it means to be Japanese.
Williams’ dramatic behavior during a
chaotic final, a hot topic in the United
States and around the world, has been
largely brushed aside in Japan with the
focus on Osaka’s poise under pressure.
Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri,
called Osaka a “new heroine that Japan is
proud of” and characterized her appeal as
“the contrast between her strength on the
court and her innocent character off the
Yomiuri centered Osaka’s photograph
holding the U.S. Open trophy at the top of
its front page — as did the two other large
dailies. In a headline inside the paper,
Yomiuri called her an “Overnight Queen
— Powerful and Stable.”
The Asahi newspaper also called her the
“New Queen,” picking up on her mix of
“strength and gentleness.”
None of the main-line newspapers
dwelled too much on her background,
which has been well reported. She was
born in Japan to a Japanese mother and
Haitian father, moved to the United States
when she was three years old, and now
lives in Florida where she has trained for
more than a decade.
In an interview from New York on
Japan’s TBS television, she was asked
what she wants to do now. She replied in
Japanese: “Have curried rice topped with a
pork cutlet.” Then she slipped into English
and said: “I am very honored. I don’t know
how to say that in Japanese.”
She gave some of the same answers in a
similar interview with Japan’s NTV
“She is such a lovable character,” said
Seiji Miyane, the NTV talk show host.
She smiled through the media pressure,
which several newspapers have called a
Japanese trait. Her broken Japanese
works as an asset, apologizing occasionally
for getting the wrong word — or not
knowing the Japanese word at all.
“She is not the type of person who
asserts herself boldly, but she is shy and
humble and that makes her look more like
a Japanese,” Junko Okamoto, a
communications specialist, wrote in the
weekly magazine Toyokeizai.
Okamoto also said Osaka could become a
face of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, leading to
big sponsorship deals.
Forbes magazine has reported that
Williams is the highest earning female
athlete with an income of $18 million per
year, almost all from endorsements. The
Evening Fuji tabloid newspaper, citing
Forbes, speculated wildly about Osaka’s
potential lifetime earnings. Its headline
suggested she could earn $100 million.
The Mainichi, one of the top three
general circulation newspapers, noted
that Osaka was wearing a dress at a
victory celebration from a well-known
Osaka’s 73-year-old grandfather, Tetsuo
Osaka, surfaced in several interviews from
Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido,
where he heads a fishing cooperative.
Their relationship seems solid now, but
The New York Times reported that for
more than a decade, Naomi’s mother,
Tamaki, had little contact with her family
Roland Kirishima, a photographer who
is half Japanese and Scottish, criticized
some internet comments questioning if
Osaka is really Japanese, because of her
darker skin color.
“Look at the French soccer team that
won the World Cup,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Half of the players are immigrants’ sons
or multiracial. I’m surprised many people
in Japan are still obsessed with racial
purity. It’s 21st century already. Please
overcome this type of insular prejudice.”
It looks like Japan has taken at least a
As temperatures rise, farmers plant crops in S. Korean
Continued from page 2
measure variables such as
light, carbon dioxide, and
maintain an optimized
environment for each crop.
The crops will cost less
than conventionally grown
organic vegetables, Suh
The farm will begin
supplying vegetables to a
major food retailer and a
leading bakery chain soon,
Next up: more tiers of
crops in the remaining
two-thirds of the tunnel to
grow high-value fruits and
Suh said the medicinal
TUNNEL VISION. Bright blue doors cover the entrance of the tunnel
that holds the NextOn farm in Okcheon, South Korea. Operators of the
high-tech facility say it is the world’s first indoor vertical farm built in a
tunnel. It’s also the largest such farm in the country and one of the big-
gest in the world, with a floor area of 25,000 square feet, nearly half the
size of an American football field. (AP Photo/Han Myung Oh)
plant market is currently
dominated by a few
countries and regions. “Our
goal is to achieve disruptive
innovation of this market
by realizing stable mass
premium crops,” he said.
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