Naomi Osaka is a firmly established name in the world of tennis, with her 2018 victory at the U.S. Open against Serena Williams catapulting her into the spotlight and immediately sparking all manner of debate about nationality and the Japanese definition of race.
Despite her dramatic arrival on the scene, Osaka has demonstrated herself again and again to be not just a great tennis player, but a conscientious one: she’s used her platform on multiple occasions to support charitable causes and lend awareness to injustices.
So Osaka’s fans were excited to learn that she and her older sister, Mari, had teamed up to design a cloth mask. Proceeds from mask sales would go towards UNICEF to aid COVID-19 relief, while the mask itself has an adorable, dewy-eyed panda-face design that will keep you cheery and limit your risk of spreading any viruses to other people.
The idea was popular. So popular, in fact, that the masks sold out in an instant.
The masks were sold through the online vendor Print Rock, a Japanese website. While the store did provide information and history about the mask in English, it came after the Japanese text, meaning many fans clicked the link and were too overwhelmed with kanji to attempt ordering their own mask. Osaka’s follow-up tweet above reassures her English-speaking fanbase that the next release of the masks will cater to international fans (or, in Osaka’s own words, “everyone outside Japan”).
The Osaka sisters said they wanted to bring bright and stylish designs to the table so that people will see wearing them as more of a fashion statement than a political one… though Osaka herself is no stranger to political statements, of course.
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