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Tennis fans in Japan, Abe hail Naomi Osaka

By Miwa Suzuki

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© 2019 AFP

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The rankings are BS but Osaka is not. Two in a row is fantastic. I’m sure this one means more to her than the first but that’s a different story. 

Go for three, the sport needs you.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Naomi Osaka is bilingual, you know. She speaks VERY VERY fluent English and Japanese.

-20 ( +5 / -25 )

Next is the French Open and Wimbledon, how are her play on clay and grass courts?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Naomi Osaka is bilingual, you know. She speaks VERY VERY fluent English and Japanese.

Are you being sarcastic? If not read the last paragraph of the article.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

how do you get dual citizenship?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Congratulations Osaka-san! Grand slam ahead!

@yoshisan88 how are her play on clay and grass courts?

I don't know, but according to this article from 2012 the type of surface matters less these days.


2 ( +2 / -0 )


Thanks, mate. If she can win the next 2 grand slams then she will be holding all 4 at the same time. This will make her a legend!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sad this fandom is based on race, not just sports enjoyment

10 ( +12 / -2 )

You get dual citizenship by being born into it. You keep it by playing the rules, as Japan allows it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not correct. She will have to choose her nationality by October 16th of this year--according to Japanese law. The U.S. doesn't care if she has dual citizenship.

No, she'll have to declare her intent to give up her American citizenship. She doesn't actually have to give it up.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Congrats Naomi! Now that the U.S.'s IRS is back open,,, they'll be interested in getting a nice percentage of her winnings. The IRS taxes all Americans regardless of where the money was made. She probably will not have to pay tax in Japan on her winnings since Japan does not have that law.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That was a tough game.

I'm surprised at the amount of unforced errors both players had. The world number one, if she wants to retain it, will have to cut down on that.

Also, Osaka doesn't run down balls that might be reachable but lets them go. Either that's a good strategy to expend less energy or she's just lazy.

'm curious to find out which citizenship she's going to keep later this year.

I'm stoked for Osaka. She's good and a real cutie, especially during interviews.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

According to the law, she has to choose her nationality by 22.

No, according to the law, she must state her intention to give up her American citizenship. That's all the law says.

It's not really enforced in Japan

There is nothing to enforced. There is no law that requires her to actually give up the citizenship, nor any law that follows up on whether she has.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

While it says this on that page:

A person who possesses Japanese and a foreign nationality (a person of dual nationality) shall choose one nationality before he or she reaches twenty two years of age (or within two years after the day when he or she acquired the second nationality if he or she acquired such nationality after the day when he or she reached twenty years of age). If he or she fails to choose his or her nationalities, he or she may lose Japanese nationality. So, please don't forget choosing your nationality.

There is no law in place to actually remove the nationality. The 'may lose Japanese nationality' is their way of getting people to do what the law cannot make them do.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There is no law in place to actually remove the nationality. The 'may lose Japanese nationality' is their way of getting people to do what the law cannot make them do.


Most people still believe that they MUST choose, but Japan cannot force a dual citizen to renounce their non-Japanese citizenship, just declare an intent to do so if they wish to retain their Japanese citizenship.

And they have never forcibly revoked Japanese citizenship for a dual citizen individual. Not that I am aware of.

What will be interesting is if Osaka retains her dual citizenship beyond the stipulated date for making a choice and the Japanese government does not do anything, it will set a very public precedent that then can be used by all of us with dual nationality children!!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I guarantee you there is a legal mechanism available for the government to strip you of your Japanese citizenship.

There's not.

This is Japan. Legal loopholes are part of the law here.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

You know this as a fact?

Of course not. It's impossible to know something doesn't exist as a fact - non-existence cannot be proven. Only existence can be proven. I do know that lawyers who have dug down into the matter have made the statements that I made. Maybe they were wrong - if someone can show me a law that proves otherwise, I'm open to it.

You really believe that if the Japanese government were inclined to strip Osaka of her Japanese citizenship, they would not legally be able to do it?

Yes, I do believe that. The legal opinion is that there is no Japanese law that allows for that to happen. And it has been confirmed with the Japanese government that they have never done it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Many countries do not recognize dual citizenship. However, almost no one enforces it. America also doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. I am an individual that has 3 citizenships being born in the UK from a mother that is American and Caribbean and having a father from the UK. UK recognizes dual citizenship and America doesn’t. America will not remove your citizenship because of it. I have renewed all three of my passports consistently.

Sadly my children cannot become UK citizens because it only applies to one generation. But they still have 3 citizenships.

Japan and America do not recognize dual citizenship but they also do not enforce it that rule.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Her citizenship issue will be interesting. I think Japan needs her more than she needs Japan. She wasn’t fully accepted as Japanese by the country (or her Japanese grandparents) until she became a tennis star.

Last year, she became the biggest female athlete in JAPAN. This year, she’s the biggest female athlete in the WORLD. She can easily trade in the NISSIN and ANA sponsorships for McDonalds and Coke which are global brands. Also, with the olympics coming up, she could represnt USA and have her face broadcast around the world. Representing Japan would limit her promotion to Japan. With Serena Williams’ career winding down, this is her chance to take over.

1 ( +5 / -4 )


ANA and Nissin are also considered global brands. Their values are simply on different scales.

As for her childhood. It’s hard to say she wasn’t accepted when she moved away at 3 years old.

Her grandparents have been following her career and supporting her since she was a teenager.

The only potential truth in your statement is that her earning potential can be more limited in Japan than the USA. That is a true since American companies are more willing to pay their sponsored. Also, the population size she has the ability to reach will be much bigger giving her more marketability.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Naomi’s father stated long ago, that his girls would be raised in the Japanese way, and would consider themselves to be playing for Japan. Even declining offers from the top US training facilities. (Not happy with how they were treated} Look at how Naomi behaves on the court! Says tons about how she was raised. And why she should be playing under Japan. But I hope she embraces her tri-Nationalities. She is part of 3 cultures. Which in her case, shows positive parts of each culture!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

why do they have to play for a country? Because money makes the world go round and there is huge money in marketing and the ability to draw or influence future top prospects.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Regarding Japanese law as it pertains to dual citizenship. One politician said it best. “Not really a law, more of a guideline.” My wife looked into it, They use wishy washy terms, that translate into, “might or maybe could, lose Japanese citizenship.”

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Well, believe whatever you want.

@Strangerland is absolutely correct. Many years ago, before I got married, I dug into this for my sister, whose children were dual nationality, Japanese and non-Japanese. They were not living in Japan at the time, so she asked me to look into this for her.

I was working in Tokyo at the time and dealt with a number of Japanese law firms for business. Through them, I was referred to a leading bengoshi who specialized in immigration / citizenship related matters. He was well versed in the subject, but he thoroughly documented it for me.

And it is exactly as @Strangerland has stated. The Immigration Bureau and MOJ strongly pressure dual citizen individuals to choose a citizenship with the threat that their Japanese citizenship will be revoked if they don't. But they cannot force them to renounce their non-Japanese citizenship and they cannot force someone to give up their Japanese citizenship. So, they rely on pressure and misinformation to "force" a dual citizen to choose.

And they have never actually gone through the process of trying to revoke Japanese citizenship for a dual nationality individual and there is no clear legal basis to do so.

So, if they actually go down that route now, it would be unprecedented and would likely require them to amend the law to explicitly permit this to be done.

Which, of course, is possible, but, again, highly unlikely.

And, if Osaka does maintain dual citizen status and the Japanese government does nothing, then it will strengthen the case of anyone the MOJ goes after in the future, should they ever do so.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Japan also counts many U.S. Nobel prize winners who were born in Japan but have or had U.S. citizenship as Japanese. There is an air in the states, people appreciate scientists' abilities rightly and they do not want to come back to Japan. Authoritative Today have not produced many Nobel prize winners.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@JJ Jetplane

ANA and NISSIN are leaders in their respective categories in Japan, but are not global leaders. It goes without saying that ANA does not compare to American, Delta, or United. NISSIN pioneered instant noodles, but are currently a distant #2 to Maruchan in the US and Mexico. NISSIN recently showed that they have a long way to go with their global marketing strategy when they released a failed anime commercial with a character depicting her as having extra pale skin: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/01/24/japanese-company-acknowledges-whitewashing-naomi-osaka-ads/

My point regarding acceptance as Japanese relates to how she went from “Haitian-Japanese” to “Japanese” right around the time that she won the US Open. Her Wikipedia page was also edited to align with the current status as “Japanese.” During interviews, she has corrected reporters on multiple occasions that she is not just the first Japanese to become #1, she’s also the first Haitian #1 player

Regarding her grandparents, there are reports that her parents’ marriage was not approved. Admittedly, it does look like this may not have extended to her: https://www.thedailybeast.com/japan-needs-foreigner-blood-like-naomi-osakas?ref=scroll

The population of the US vs Japan is not the only reason why her earning potential is higher in the US. I can count all of the internationally famous Japanese athletes on one hand. They are mostly baseball players who are currently playing for US teams. There are countless internationally famous athletes in the US.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@kobe white bar owner,

you could be dual cutizenship up to 22 yrs. old. She has a big decision to make next year.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@JJ Jetplane,

America also doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.

Actually, Japan and the U.S. are different.

In Japan, if you have dual citizenship at birth (as opposed to becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen as an adult), Japan actually does take a view on dual citizenship when you reach the specified age (22 yo). They insist that you must choose one citizenship. But, it is not stipulated in the law that they can strip you of your Japanese citizenship if they find that you maintain another citizenship beyond 22 yo.

In the U.S., if you have U.S. citizenship at birth and either are a dual citizen at birth or obtain another citizenship after birth, the U.S. does not care. The second (or third) citizenship is not a problem and is not even really acknowledged. The only time the U.S. cares about non-U.S. citizenship is if you are applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizens. Under this scenario, the U.S. requires you to renounce any other citizenship you possess in order to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Naomi Osaka is bilingual, you know. She speaks VERY VERY fluent English and Japanese.

So? Ichiro is bilingual too and he answers English questions through an interpreter.

It's her choice!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Osaka-san does not choose Japanese nationality at 22, my guess is it will run into a problem to obtain a Japanese passport. However, this is really a personal issue isn't it?

This is what I'm curious about. If I recall correctly the Japanese passport application asks if you have any other citizenship. If you tick yes and are 22 or older, will they deny the passport?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She is a great player, it does not matter what nation she represents or is a citizen of. Congratulations on the victory!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

For reference, see the attached, which is largely accurate:



This is what I'm curious about. If I recall correctly the Japanese passport application asks if you have any other citizenship. If you tick yes and are 22 or older, will they deny the passport?

You are correct, there is this tick-box. And, it is a very good question. This is where it gets a little grey and is not cut and dry, in terms of how you approach it. Part of it depends on where you apply for a Japanese passport / passport renewal.

It seems that Japanese embassies / consulates outside of Japan finesse this very well, even if they know you hold a second nationality.

However, the guiding principle, per those who have given legal advice, is that you say "No", for the purposes of the passport renewal. You are Japanese, renewing a Japanese passport. Whatever other nationalities are attached to you passively, through no proactive action of yourself, are irrelevant.

Again, as with much in Japan, there is some grey in this, but that is what my lawyers have told me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Readers, this ends discussion on Osaka's citizenship. Please discuss Naomi Osaka the tennis player.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad she had a championship moment that wasn’t ruined by Serena Williams.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Naomi is the real deal and will dominate ladies tennis for the next 10 years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Great player and person.I hope she enjoys many years of success.Full credit to her parents as well for producing such an awesome person.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led his nation's congratulations, hailing an "impressive victory in a very tight game".

Game? Never heard the phase, game, set, match?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The only thing I maintain is that the Japanese government, should they choose to do so, could strip a dual national of their Japanese citizenship if that person was in violation of the Nationality Law.

Again, they can't. There is no law in place that would allow them to do so.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Naomi is such a sweetie. If you listen to her post-match speech, not once did she mention about her victory. All I heard was how honored she was to have played Kvitova and that it's just too bad that the first ever match between them, had to be in a final. She also mentioned how she is bad at public speaking, and how she had notes, but forgot what she wanted to say. She then went on thanking all those people in her life that made it possible to reach this day. Please stay the same, Naomi.

Also, it was so good to watch a match without any annoying grunting going on, like so many other tennis matches I watch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I said it three years ago when there were a LOT of deniers here (in Japan), she is going to be (and now is) a major force to be reckoned with. Followed the play by play on Sports Navi during a shinnenkai last night at a place with no TV. Led to a bit of a discussion on nationality there, too, but we all agreed she is wonderful and if she helps encourage debate on the issue and change opinions of some who question what is Japanese and who is included, then all the better. Well... until the discussion ended with me saying once again, "She's amazing," and then the old guy next to me, who once denied she's Japanese, said, "Thank you!" Fortunately it wasn't me who had to point out that he had nothing to do with it and I wasn't praising HIM. haha.

I just hope that the new fans stick with her, thick and thin, and that this encourages both young women and men alike to pick up a racket and start playing, and talking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Naomi Osaka is bilingual, you know. She speaks VERY VERY fluent English and Japanese.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha You can't be serious? Good job! I can see you "TOTALLY" read the whole article!

She has dual Japanese-American citizenship and often replies to questions from Japan's media in English, apologizing for not knowing the appropriate word when she speaks Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My son who is half Japanese and born in Japan, went to the Japanese embassy in London. We had all relevant documents from his father in Japan. He wanted to renew his Japanese passport which had expired when he was younger. They refused and told him he is not entitled to get a Japanese passport. He was 19 years old. This was last year 2018. So they do and can enforce it. I suspect this happens but it doesn’t get publicised. I don’t know whether to follow this up with a lawyer. It will be very interesting to see how they deal with Naomi Osaka’s case. It is extremely upsetting to be refused a part of your identity. It would seem that japan is happy to claim certain people because of their achievements!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I said it three years ago when there were a LOT of deniers here (in Japan), she is going to be (and now is) a major force to be reckoned with.

I too remember hearing her name about two - three years ago and thought she would be good. At that time, only Japanese TV broadcasting was showing games with her and propping her up to be the next big thing. I even remember some announcers mentioning that even though she is ranked outside the top 100, she has a powerful serve and could be a winner for Japan someday. Maybe even winning the first Grand Slam for a Japanese person. I remember mentioning to my American and Canadian friends back in the States and Canada, and none of them even heard her name. They thought it was a city in Japan. At that time, only Japanese companies would give her any attention and money to support her, thus it ended up being one of the reasons for choosing to represent Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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