Sapporo Snow Festival opens with Naomi Osaka sculpture among drawcards


The annual Sapporo Snow Festival began in Hokkaido on Monday with about 190 snow and ice sculptures on display.

The festival, being held for the 70th time, is expected to draw about two million visitors through Feb 11, according to organizers.

One of the most popular sculptures on Monday was that of U.S. Open and Australian Open tennis champion Naomi Osaka, Fuji TV reported. Other drawcards include sculptures of TV, movie ("Star Wars") and smartphone game characters, historical figures, virtual pop singer Hatsune Miku and Chiko-chan, the half-CG 5-year-old girl from the NHK variety program "Chiko-chan ni shikarareru!” (Getting Told Off by Chiko-chan!).

One of the biggest sculptures is the Helsinki Cathedral, which was made by a team from the Ground Self Defense Force. It commemorates the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Finland.

The festival is being held at three venues — the main Odori park site, Tsudome (where it began on Jan 31) and Susukino. The sculptures at Odori and Susukino will be lit up each night.

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Will there be complaints of whitewashing?

12 ( +23 / -11 )

A rather frosty expression.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Why did they have to make her look white?

Oh yeah. Never mind.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

I remember the first Snow Festival I ever attended in Sapporo. I was studying abroad in Asia and came to Japan for the first time on vacation. The annual snow festival in Sapporo is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Hokkaido in the winter is absolutely beautiful. If you have never gone, you should put it on your list. The sculptures they make are amazing.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

So the girl on the right is at snow festival and just happened to be carrying around a tennis racket? That's normal.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

that sculpture is not very lifelike, I don't think she smiled that much since since I started watching her.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No Japanese tennis players?

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

Well she is Haitian, American, Japanese, so I'm guessing that as snow is white, what can you do? If it was coal then a new can of worms. She is a popular icon at the moment and god knows internationally for Japan few or far between. Grab what you can while you can.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@USNinJapan2 That's a snow shoe. She's still wearing the other one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Will there be complaints of whitewashing?

look pretty stupid trying spray paint snow brown / black, takes about 5 seconds to change a color or shade on animation software at least the snow sculptures did one better and got her hair style right

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Man, you guys are taking Jimizo's comment way too seriously. He was obviously punning on current topics of racism as well as Naomi's sponsor making her white in a commercial. No one is seriously suggesting that someone make a snow sculpture the actual color of someone's skin. Sheesh.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

 No one is seriously suggesting that someone make a snow sculpture the actual color of someone's skin. Sheesh. exactly why I replied with the stupidity comment, add to that its very easy and certainly not stupid to do just that in a drawing or annime, afterall the color of a person skin is kind of importanat when your trying to represent a persons image .

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I think it's nice they celebrated Naomi with a sculpture. Like they say: A Tennis pro is like a dominatrix. To be really good, you have to smack a lot of balls.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sheesh, white again... cue the racial trigger maniacs

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Why are so many comments on here so laser-focused on race? Although the article has got nothing to do with that issue?

If race is the first thing (or one of the very first things) that come to your mind when reacting to something like this, then maybe it's time for a mind adjustment.

It's a wonderful snow-image of a famous tennis player at the Sapporo snow festival, which I have attended several times and is one of the most magnificent things I've ever seen.

What has it got to do with race? Nothing!

I'm getting tired of racial stuff being injected into just about everything these day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

JenniSchiebel ~  It is only the first thing that comes to people's minds because a few days ago there was a news article about a Nishin ad where Naomi's face had been made white and westernised to make her more appealing to Japanese consumers.  There was an outcry and the ad was withdrawn.  Obviously as the snow sculpture also gives Naomi a white face, it is too tempting to pass up commenting that people will be offended that they have used white snow to deliberately whiten her face again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Reckless... not always.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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