After the defeat against Marketa Vondrousova in the women’s singles tournament in Tokyo 2021, many Japanese journalists claimed on live TV or in their print and online newspapers, that Naomi Osaka is not a real Japanese, and that she ignores what a Shokunin is: the dedication of the Japanese for the work.
Many others, Japanese journalists, media and insiders have questioned the legitimacy of a hafu to represent the country. In short, an entire country that has unjustly judged and criticized Naomi Osaka, loser at the Olympics, where she had arrived after a troubled period.
She, who was the last torchbearer to light the Olympic brazier in Tokyo. An honor that she already knew she had for some time: at the beginning of the Olympics she said that she had known since last March that she had been chosen as the last torchbearer.
Japanese unhappy with Naomi Osaka, but they are wrong
Japan seems to have said to Osaka, Japanese only on the mother’s side and who speaks English and not the language of their country: “You will be the last torchbearer and light the Olympic brazier, in exchange you will win a medal,” metaphorically speaking.
Naomi is going through a dark period: At the Roland Garros 2021 she revealed the existence of a mental illness that often borders on depression. A problem that forced her to miss the whole grass-season. And now, after Tokyo, she will also not play the Rohers Cup in Montreal. This season she already won the Australian Open, the 4th Slam of a young and amazing career (she won 2 times the Australian Open and 2 times the US Open). How can they criticize her?
But Naomi right now is not to be tolerated, or endured, but supported and included, and to hell with her origins, language and all. Naomi has done so much for Japan, and she deserves to be respected, both when she wins and when she loses, and above all – and this applies to all athletes – she must be supported in times of difficulty. Too easy to say she is Japanese when she wins, she is hafu when she loses.