tennis

Osaka charms Japan with her manners — and broken Japanese

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By Stephen Wade and Mari Yamaguchi

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Ahhhh ok, she's polite and humble because she's Japanese. Got it.

Its a nice idea, but I doubt anyone who doesn't look Japanese will be as accepted as being Japanese by Japanese.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Better to be a fluent English speaker-fluent Japanese is not needed on the international tennis circuit........

19 ( +21 / -2 )

"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."

Sadly, when the Emperor admitted that he had "Korean blood" in a speech to mark his 68th. birthday in 2001 it was ignored by the Japanese media with the exception of the Asahi Shimbum.

"The emperor's comments induced dramatically different reactions from the two nations. In Japan, the story proved hard to stomach. It was covered in detail only by the Asahi Shimbum. Other major newspapers either mentioned the Korean ancestry issue only in passing or ignored the statement altogether."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/dec/28/japan.worlddispatch

Let's hope that the young Japanese/Haitian/American tennis player can succeed in raising the profile of "mixed blood" people in Japan. There's still a long way to go, though:

"Nao Hibino, a 23-year-old Japanese player who has been ranked as high as 56, appreciates all the attention Osaka has brought to women’s tennis in Japan. But she still finds it hard to conceptualize her as a Japanese player. “To be honest, we feel a bit of distance from her because she is so physically different, she grew up in a different place and doesn’t speak as much Japanese,” says Hibino, who first played Osaka when she was an unpolished 16-year-old. “It’s not like Kei, who is a pure Japanese player.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/magazine/naomi-osakas-breakthrough-game.html

11 ( +15 / -4 )

moved to the United States when she was 3

I assumed she was American, regardless of her passport. That doesn't mean she shouldn't show great pride in having both Haitian AND Japanese blood.

And beating either Williams is an amazing feat!

It is a trait for most humans not to speak much when they don't know or understand the local language, unless a professional translator is provided. That isn't a Japanese only trait.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

You can tell what people think by the way they ask about someone’s looks and features, “are you Japanese or are you a half?” 日本人ですか…ハーフ? This implies you’re not really Japanese unless of course you win a Grand Slam tournament.

Even if you your looks are acknowledged like Ariana Miyamoto, the first mutiracial to win Miss Japan, people don’t consider her Japanese and were disapproving of her win.

JT and GaijinBlog featured the hafu2hafu project once:

https://blog.gaijinpot.com/hafu2hafu-project-creator-answers-questions-half-japanese-identity/

Exactly as the title in The NY Times article, Naomi pushes Japan to redefine Japanese in US Open victory.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/asia/japan-naomi-osaka-us-open.html

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I wonder if the Japanese govt will try to push her to renounce her American citizenship, now that she is nearing the official deadline (22). I am guessing that given an ultimatum, she would choose the country where she has lived most of her life....

Or perhaps Japan, facing the loss of its only grand slam winner, might consider allowing dual nationalities?? We can only hope...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

One of my good friends is a first generation Japanese-American, who moved to Japan as an adult. He's been there a little over 20 years now, and while he's considered different, due to being foreign, he's also considered Japanese, due to being Japanese.

So many posters here try to boil the Japanese down to a single trait; the Japanese would never consider her to be Japanese if she lost. The fact is, some Japanese people won't accept her as Japanese whether she wins or loses, and other Japanese people would accept her as Japanese even if she didn't play. Just like all humans everywhere, people in Japan have individual thoughts, that span a wide range of opinions.

Now, some will point out how the media is focused on her and happy about her, only because she won. Do these people think the news would be reporting some variation of well she's not really Japanese anyways? Of course not.

I think for some of us who have been here for 20, 30, 40 years, we can hold our images of Japan in the past tight to our chests, without accepting that Japan is evolving around us, just as the rest of the world evolve without us. Twenty years ago, thirty years ago, there would have been more people with the attitude of 'half-caste' or some variation of that. But with the greater influx of both tourists and non-Japanese residents, Japanese people have grown more accustomed to seeing a wider range of humanity, and in particular seeing kids whose features may be non-Japanese, and yet still are just as Japanese as other kids. I've walked into combinis multiple times myself and seen people with a non-Japanese name tag, who are clearly biracial, but are obviously Japanese. Japanese people will often have seen this as well.

Of course some Japanese people will and do react negatively to seeing this 'dilution' of the Japanese 'purity'. And those people are more likely to get on the internet and be more vocal about it - just like negative people everywhere on any topic. But there are plenty who are open to humanity, and accept someone as Japanese based on their person, not on their genetic makeup.

So let's drop the childish reductionist logic that tries to paint all Japanese as one way or the other.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Leave it to the world media to fixate not on the many Japanese citizens that are proud of Naomi and her accomplishments, but on the negative few that have a less than favorable opinion on her. in order to fit their narrative of Japanese society. The citizens of many countries have both favorable and not so favorable views of those considered of mixed racial background. But, somehow, Japan is held to a ridiculous double standard where the negative opinions of a few far outweigh the overwhelmingly positive opinions of the majority.

Guaranteed, in the coming weeks, the world media will focus only on whether Japan 'accepts' Naomi as a Japanese citizen, and not on her accomplishments and the pride she instills in many Japanese. It happened just a few years ago where two mixed race Japanese women were chosen to be Miss Japan. Instead of the celebrating the Japanese judges who chose these women, and the Japanese citizens who embraced them, the world media only cared about highlighting how 'racist' Japanese society was towards these women.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Oh, and even if Naomi had chosen to represent USA we'd see her making headlines here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Youve got to love the casual racism endemic in japan. Mixed people are not halves of anything. They're mixed. Period. It's the 21st century and we are STILL fixated on pigmentation. SMH.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Some interesting insights here.

I don't think it is really appropriate to be upset at Japanese for being conscious of foreign heritage, they didn't grow up in the multicultural societies that we did. Things are changing though thanks to Naomi and others who attract attention to the topic.

I have two haafu daughters, the oldest in middle school, and they are very well accepted by their peers for who they are. Soon these young peers will become the majority of the population and heritage will no longer be a hot topic.

And congrats Naomi!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"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

Some people are shy and humble, and some are not. Naomi Osaka grew up in the U.S., so it's odd to attribute her personality traits to ethnicity. Unless this "communications specialist" is implying that being humble is a genetic characteristic of the Yamato race.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why "broken" Japanese?  How about "developing" or "in process"?  "Broken" sounds so negative, and she is trying.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The Japanese government does not force people to choose citizenship; dual citizenship was abolished here some time ago.

First sentence incorrect, second sentence correct. By abolishing dual-citizenship the government is indeed forcing young people to choose.

Was discussing this with the missus in the car over the weekend. Would be interesting to know how many countries still do not accept dual citizenship.?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Japanese government does not force people to choose citizenship; dual citizenship was abolished here some time ago.

First sentence incorrect, second sentence correct. By abolishing dual-citizenship the government is indeed forcing young people to choose.

In theory, yes. In practice, not at all. A good friend of mine was born in the US where his father had been sent on business. He's now in his mid 40s, lives her FT and continues to maintain two passports. He goes back and forth to the US on business several times a year, Japanese immigration authorities are completely aware of this that he's using both passports, as well as how old he is, and they do nothing about it. No one comes calling when you hit 20 or 22 with a form saying you must choose or renounce your citizenship to one or another nation. You can voluntarily do so, if you choose though unless you're into political protests that seems silly. Basically, if you or your kids are dual citizens continue to re-up your passports forever.

What'd be really cool is if Osaka were willing highlight this silly outdated law. That yes I'm Japanese and American and I plan to continue to be both, not hafu this or that, a citizen of one country or another--unless you, the Japanese authorities aren't forward looking enough to see what the rest of the world has been doing for some time. What seems more likely is the media won't say boo about it, pretending she's not a dual citizen. And of course one can't blame her if she's unwilling to jeopardize literally 100s of millions of yen in endorsement money.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

TTD, I have a kid as well and believe me this is of some concern to me. Totally agree that exercising caution is wise. My basic philosophy is that any country asking you to renounce citizenship is not the place you'd want to choose.

"And our children can never show both passports when travelling."

In the US, you certainly can no matter how old you are. In Japan, if you're older, probably not a good idea to advertise the fact. But let's be clear--dual citizens use both passports when traveling between their two countries and thus immigration officials are aware which passport has/hasn't been stamped. The question why is simply never asked. That could change though one hopes for the better. It's annoying that our kids' futures occupy that grey area.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Interesting discussion both here and other places.

If such a discussion is to be had, what appears to be missing in all of this is any mention of her Haitian ethnicity.

Perhaps her "smile" her "demeanour" is a result of her Haitian-ness?

She spent the first 5 years of her life in the US in NY living with her Haitian grandparents.

Her Japanese grandparents had essentially ostracized and abandoned the family ( which was a big reason for the move).

Her parents have been closely connected to Haiti for years and have opened a school(s?) there. Naomi has visited many times. She is loved there.

In Haiti right now the whole country is celebrating from the president down. In a country so torn with strife and poverty, she is a beacon to all.

I can imagine their pride in "their Naomi" is possibly far more real than the media hoopla imposed "pride" going on here.

The real story of Naomi from birth til now is a fascinating story - but you won't get much of the bones'n all version in the local media.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

TL;DR: People are being way too hard on the Japanese here (surprise, surprise)

The Özil comparison is not a good one – he was born and raised in Germany and is as German as he wants to be. Which makes the discrimination he suffered all the worse.

Naomi, on the other hand, left Japan as an infant and grew up in an entirely different culture. She is culturally American; however, it was decided that she would represent Japan, rather than the country in which she grew up in, which she is of course perfectly entitled to do.

We live in a world in which we are conditioned, by the government and media, to cheer for people who happen to have been born in the same country as ourselves, as if their success elevates us in some way. Living vicariously through others is made easier if the person shares, at the very least, a common cultural background and language with you. To a lesser extent, depending on the level of ethnic diversity of the country, similarity in appearance may also help.

I’ve read many Japanese comments about Naomi, and her being half Japanese has rarely been mentioned in a negative way. Many are simply struggling to cheer for her as a “Japanese” tennis star, simply because American is clearly her dominant culture and her Japanese language ability is no better than that of your average eikaiwa teacher. That does not make them half-hating racists.

Conversely, claiming her as an exclusively Japanese player would be to deny her dominant American side.

One commenter put it best – he said it would be weird to go crazy for Kazuo Ishiguro (who is ethnically 100% Japanese) and his Nobel Prize win, claiming his success as a triumph for Japan, when he is British through and through.

If an American player had left the US as a baby, lived 90% of her life overseas in a non-English-speaking, non-Western country, then came back to represent the US, won a major tournament, but then gave interviews in a foreign language with the help of an interpreter (although she was making efforts to learn English), I have a hard time believing that American fans would be cheering her on, whooping and chanting “USA, USA”.

Naomi has many fans in Japan, who admire her tenacity on the court and her humility off it. Norika Fujiwara may misguidedly try to claim these qualities as Japanese spirit, but others simply appreciate her for the talented player that she is, with the Japanese side of her ethnicity being an added bonus.

Had her father opted for her to represent the US, which she may well do in future, this would not even be an issue.

This is a very interesting case that raises issues of nationality, and nationalism, in sport – two things about which I have always been indifferent.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Vernon Watts

The Japanese government does not force people to choose citizenship; dual citizenship was abolished here some time ago. 

Can you explain this statement? My daughter has two nationalities, one of which is Japanese, since she was born here. My understanding is that this is allowed until she turns 22 at which point she is obligated to either renounce her Japanese citizenship, or the foreign one. However nobody really enforces this obligation, and many people continue to have dual nationalities well past that, until they stuff up at the airport, or get investigated for whatever reason.

However since Naomi is so high profile, my guess is that it would be hard for her to slip under the radar having both nationalities intact past her 22nd birthday (which is just before the 2020 olympics!)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Guaranteed, in the coming weeks, the world media will focus only on whether Japan 'accepts' Naomi as a Japanese citizen, and not on her accomplishments and the pride she instills in many Japanese.

Excellent point! I too feel that the foreign media like to incite strong emotions and controversy when there was none to be had in the first place. Yes, there are a few Japanese people who may view Naomi Osaka as not really Japanese, but there were so many who did accept her from way back when she did begin playing as a pro. Thus it is why Japanese sponsors, like Nissin and WOWOW, signed her to lucrative deals as far back as 2016 when she was just being considered as an up-and-coming pro tennis player. Back then, even though she lived in America, American companies didn't even took her seriously.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Everybody loves a winner.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've lived in Japan for 23 years longer than Osaka ever has, but I'll forever be a gaijin. I'll die here a gaijin, despite the immense amount of taxes I pay and the volunteer work I contribute to my community, while those with a bit of Japanese blood but no real ties to the country are immediately accepted as "Japanese" - think of Peru's disgraced president Fujimori.

For immigrants, it's just something that must be dealt with. The small-mindedness of most Japanese is not Osaka's fault; she's handled her situation admirably. Think about it too deeply, though, and you'll go crazy. For those born in this country with no other real home - particularly Korean-Japanese - it must be devastating.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Agree with both of you. My question is about taxes/employment. I know how that works as a long time US expat here, plus about social security totalization agreement, blah blah blah. But how do they handle that for a grey-zone dual citizen, even one as prominent and newly affluent like Osaka. I'm sure they have a team of lawyers and accountants on it as we type.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My question is about taxes/employment. I know how that works as a long time US expat here, plus about social security totalization agreement, blah blah blah. But how do they handle that for a grey-zone dual citizen

She resides in America, so she probably has to pay taxes there. Japan doesn't claim taxes on overseas citizens, so she should be fine here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Peeping Tom, how do you think Osaka and her family would react to that comment?

"Yeah, you're right PT, any redeeming characteristics I possess are 100% attributable to my mom's blood. Anything negative I do, now or in the future, is on the lowlife Americans I'm forced to pal around with or the degenerate Haitians who contributed 50% of my DNA."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Afanofjapan:

Anyone know anything about her relationship with her dad? He is never mentioned, except in passing. And in her post match interview she said something like "My dad doesnt watch my matches physically, but he walks around, i will let him know when i see him"... It was a weird statement, is he a homeless vagrant or something?

As far as I know, isn't the Williams' father like that too? Too nervous to watch the matches live, so he's not there? Both fathers also knew next to nothing about tennis, but somehow managed to get their children to win Grand Slams.

I was reading about Osaka's family and apparently, her mother was ostracized from the rest of her family because her father (Osaka's grandfather) blew his top when he found out about her relationship with a black man, just as browny1 above says. As a result, there was no communication for well over a decade, and a meeting with the family when Osaka was 13 didn't really go that well. Home-schooling and playing tennis was like wasting her life away.

Cut forward to Sept 2018, and the grandfather is full of joy, appearing in front of the media, saying how proud he was, blah blah blah. Wow, like, just wow. It's like, when you win the lottery, and suddenly, you have so many friends.

browny1:

They often (always???) have to show their other passport, but it's just to confirm that they can legally enter their destination place.

I have PR in another country and I would never use my (only) passport to enter - I always use my PR card. I mean, why wouldn't you, if you've got it? Oh well, I'm sure she has her reasons. If she does renounce her US citizenship at 22, I hope it will be worth it. I remember the Reed sister of the figure skating siblings. I believe she renounced her US citizenship. But then she retired not long afterwards!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@afanofjapan: The Japanese government does not force people to choose citizenship; dual citizenship was abolished here some time ago. Actually, many years ago the parents were choosing the child's citizenship (in the case of international marriages) which lead to many problems when the children came of age and did not want to have the citizenship chosen by their parents when they were infants.

Due to income tax laws, if she chooses Japanese citizenship only about $95,000 of her US would be exempt from US income tax; so she will have to file a US tax return (and pay income tax on all earnings over said $95K) and in addition she will be taxed on all her income by the Japanese government. Its a no-brainer; she will choose US citizenship.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately jc, keeping both passports is only an administrative grey-zone, it is not officially recognised. Officially when my children will have to complete certain forms as young adults, they can only state Japanese or British as their nationality. The grey-zone non check of dual passports is only because neither jurisdiction has a checking procedure. Yes they can continue to renew both passports, but they can never let either jurisdiction know. And our children can never show both passports when travelling.

Officially my children will be informed that they have to choose one citizenship as young adults and I certainly wouldn't follow your recommendation of being so open about keeping both passports in front of Japanese immigration - by law they CAN get involved especially if you are flouting the fact. Only the big gap in checking procedures allows the practice of keeping both.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

jc, my concern is that it goes the other way and Japanese immigration start enforcing the one citizenship rule.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good on her. Kept her cool and deserved the win.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I love how Naomi Osaka seems to feel comfortable on the court and able to move back and forth between cultures. She certainly is a great role model for Japan's youth and that is extremely important in a country without a lot of creative role models for youth! It opens up the discussions too for the people in Japan to think more about what constitutes being Japanese. Physical characteristics or values? Also who created the rules and why can't they be changed.

I walked to the station today and saw nothing but men wearing white shirts. Is being Japanese mean you need to wear white shirts too?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rola is mixed Japanese but we see her as Japanese

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Osaka's mother and grandparents are Japanese, she is essentially Japanese.

Osakas father and grandparents are Haitian, she is essentially Haitian with American citenzenship also

fact is she Japanese Haitian and American not just one. Japanese is a nationality not a race can be changed like most nationalities

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pukey2 said "....I do find it strange that she enters Japan using her US passport...."

I find it very strange too.

My children - dual natiionality - must use their Japanese passport when leaving & arriving in Japan. No questions about it. In Japan they're Japanese.

They use their other passport (must) when arriving / departing from oz.

They often (always???) have to show their other passport, but it's just to confirm that they can legally enter their destination place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

peepintom - thanks for your reply.

Yes - you're astute and picked up that I must have been using wry humour. Good on you.

And blanket statements like "the truth is inescapable" is so full of holes one doesn't know where to start.

I guess you must personally know her father, her Haitian grandparents, her US friends, coaches, in fact everyone who has contributed to her upbringing to say it's a "truth" she smiles and is polite etc because of her mother only.

And rather than join the rant - I merely pointed out that her Haitian-ness is being conveniently left out of the broader discussion - it seems about everywhere except Haiti.

Stereotyping ethnicities is not the definitive truth.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

browny1:

"wow - she got ¥400,000,000". Says a lot about him imo.

Ha ha ha, I didn't hear that! If I were interviewing grandpa, I'd ask him, 'So what made you suddenly become so proud of your millionaire granddaughter?'

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And do you think this only happens in Japan?!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44915730

"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil said."

And it's the same in Britain and almost everywhere!

1 ( +13 / -12 )

 I doubt anyone who doesn't look Japanese will be as accepted as being Japanese by Japanese.

Many do and many more will do because of people like her.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Osaka's mother and grandparents are Japanese, she is essentially Japanese. The only item is her Japanese language ability but I don't like the way NHK had to highlight this point last week.

The bigger issue is the temper tantrum that Williams threw, ruining a lifetime achievement for a 20 year old. This article is getting too hung up on nationality and language, the Williams fit needs to be addressed.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I tend to side with Oldman and afewtoomany. There are always going to a few knuckle-dragging haters out there. I'm a huge baseball fan and last year one of my favorite players, Adam Jones, was subjected to disgusting racial taunts in Boston. Now, I could hate all Boston people or all white people or all American people for that matter. But when I calmed down I came to the obvious conclusion, that there are stupid, hateful people everywhere and mistaking their views for norms is just silly. Of course, this is much harder to do online.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Calm down Smith, there is no race hatred going on here.

Back home in the UK immigrants get attacked. The same in Italy and the same in Germany etc. We don't get attacked here. Being patronised is not really a big issue.

The worst thing that does happen here is that Japanese companies rarely employ foreigners who are fluent and legitimate to live here. But there are plenty of mixed heritage tv celebrities and sports stars who are chosen over pure Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I understand it, no Japanese-born person has ever had their Japanese citizenship revoked. So while it most definitely is a grey zone, it seems to be a fairly established one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@VernonWatts

Unless your children plan on living in Japan for their entire lives, it makes no sense to choose Japanese citizenship. 

That depends on the individual. For those who would like to retain their dual national status as adults, choosing Japanese nationality is effectively the only way to achieve it . Filing the declaration of choice (a legal requirement) in favour of Japanese settles the question, and no further steps are necessary; that's one nationality taken care of. The other nationality is outside Japan's jurisdiction. The authorities cannot influence it in any way at all.

Perhaps the best way to describe what the system here is actually doing is that on becoming adults dual nationals are offered the opportunity to lose their Japanese nationality.

This is dressed up as a legal step by which dual nationals are required to switch to single nationality, but in reality, they can't be compelled to do that.

It does seem that finally a lot of people have seen through this, and are not taking that temptingly dangled opportunity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone know anything about her relationship with her dad? He is never mentioned, except in passing. And in her post match interview she said something like "My dad doesnt watch my matches physically, but he walks around, i will let him know when i see him"... It was a weird statement, is he a homeless vagrant or something?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's strange how most of the half black Japanese who are famous are famous because of their own achievements (mostly in sports), rather than being picked to be tarentos. Even that Miss Japan from a few years back (there was also a half-Indian one too), received a lot of hateful comments. I'd love to see the reactions of the right-wing politicians (like Aso, Mori and the half dead Ishihara) at the achievements of these biracial Japanese.

Osaka has achieved something that ALL sports(wo)men aim to do - to get to the top of their game. Good for her. I do wonder what will happen when she reaches 22 concerning her nationality. I do find it strange that she enters Japan using her US passport. I wonder why she does that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pukey2 - thanks for the comments.

And yes - I can't believe the "proud grandfather" BS. Proud now that the media are milling. And in particular when interviewed on Asahi ( I think), his first comment was to the effect of "wow - she got ¥400,000,000". Says a lot about him imo.

Re showing their Oz passports in Japan, I believe it was necessary at check-in to confirm they could enter Aust as no visas (electronic or otherwise at that time) were presented. Also now they're adults so I don't know, but when they were minors, perhaps it was part of the security check.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wonder if they consider Naomi's older sister and fellow tennis player, Mari Osaka, Japanese too - even though she's not as good (ranked around the 300s)

Mari even speaks fluent Japanese and lived in Japan a year more than Naomi

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have been watching her play tennis for at least 2 years and never heard anyone around me talk about her but now she is all the rage. They just want to soak up some sunshine but she will never be accepted like a "real" Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well done, Naomi.

Williams should publicly apologise for her petulant behaviour.  Reminiscent of McEnroe's tantrums we were all up in arms about at the time.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Laguna, I'm not here as long as you but 15 years is long enough. I have no issues with looking non-Japanese and being non-Japanese. Like I said earlier, I have never been physically attacked here as opposed to the attacks that happen in my country (except for the bloke on the Chiyoda-sen years ago but he never actually threw a punch and soon did one when he realised I wasn't going anywhere).

The Korean-Japanese issue is slightly different. Most Korean-Japanese look no different to Japanese, most Korean-Japanese speak Japanese as their native language, and most if not all were born and raised in Japan. Their issue is racial discrimination because they are Japanese and should be treated as such. Naomi Osaka nor myself cannot make such claims because we were not raised here and our Japanese is not native.

I would swap small-mindedness any day instead of racist violence.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

afewtoomany: "I don't think it is really appropriate to be upset at Japanese for being conscious of foreign heritage, they didn't grow up in the multicultural societies that we did."

I agree, but you either embrace it or you don't; you don't embrace it when it suits you and toss it to the curb when it doesn't. How many of these people acknowledged her heritage when she started a few years back? Almost none. They were focussed on Golden Boy Nishikori (whom they've dropped). My point is that they are not embracing her, they are just taking credit for her victory where they would not be acknowledging her at all had she not won.

TigersTokyoDome: "Calm down Smith, there is no race hatred going on here."

Didn't say there was hatred (or at least not all), I said there are double standards and a lack of actual acceptance, with the usual "S/he is Japanese because s/he won". Come on.... do you honestly deny it? I bet out of all the people celebrating her win, less than 1% have supported her since she started, and claimed her to be Japanese. Even now they fail to use inclusive language, saying, "She's like a Japanese", or, "she is like us" meaning, not us.

"The worst thing that does happen here is that Japanese companies rarely employ foreigners who are fluent and legitimate to live here. But there are plenty of mixed heritage tv celebrities and sports stars who are chosen over pure Japanese."

I'm not arguing discrimination for jobs or rights or what have you, I'm talking about the mentality of what constitutes Japanese and this idea of "purity" as all-important, which is still very pervasive. I have no doubt that if Osaka came here she could do whatever she wanted, but people would look at her and say, "Wow! You use chopsticks well! Just like a Japanese person!" while picking up her trophy and saying, "We did it!".

"Their issue is racial discrimination because they are Japanese and should be treated as such. Naomi Osaka nor myself cannot make such claims because we were not raised here and our Japanese is not native."

So, you agree that you, or she, will never be considered Japanese. That's my point. So why all the people claiming she is all of a sudden when she won? THAT is the problem.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And do you think this only happens in Japan?

"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil said." And it's the same in Britain and almost everywhere!

Very much agree with peeping tom, TTD and a few others. Happens everywhere and it's a bit of a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation anyway. When locals 'adopt' foreign-born athletes (presumably too quickly?) naysayers accuse them of taking all the credit but if they don't and say 'well tbh she/he isn't really one of us' they're being racist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I guess many "experts" are unfamiliar with the debate around the "plastic Brits".

Or Ben Johnson, Canadian when he won, Xaymacan when caught cheating!!!

Experts! Who needs them, hein?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

now that she is nearing the official deadline (22). I am guessing that given an ultimatum, she would choose the country where she has lived most of her life....

After this US Open win, she will have all kinds of money thrown at her from Japanese sponsors and TV shows. Being booed like crazy from American fans didn't win the U.S. any points.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

many people continue to have dual nationalities well past that, until they stuff up at the airport, or get investigated for whatever reason.

Renouncing nationality is completely voluntary. A Japanese national cannot be compelled by Japanese officials to renounce their Japanese nationality. It is technically possible to strip a Japanese national of their nationality if they hold another nationality, but this is not a law that can be casually applied, it can't be done by low level officials, and more importantly, there are no known cases of someone being stripped of Japanese citizenship on the grounds of holding a foreign nationality.

The main ways to "stuff up" at the airport would be to enter or leave on the wrong passport (in other words, a Japanese national should leave or enter Japan on a Japanese passport rather than a foreign passport - if this is not an outright rule, it is definitely expected), or, which is worse, to be caught out in a lie about nationalities. The likely scenario is that of a dual national being asked by a Japan immigration officer if they hold nationality of another country, asking if they have a passport of that country (not a foregone conclusion), and requesting to see it.

As a matter of common sense, if nothing is asked, it's not necessary to mention dual nationality or to display the passports of two countries. If actually asked, though, tell the truth. Dual nationality isn't illegal, and lying about your status at an immigration desk is extremely foolish and asking for trouble.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese is a nationality not a race can be changed like most nationalities

"Japanese" is a language, a nationality, and an ethnicity.

The nationality can be changed, the nationality can be changed, but the ethnicity cannot be changed. Acceptance of one as Japanese usually comes down to whether or not that person is ethnically Japanese. That's why white people who take citizenship are technically Japanese, but rarely taken at face value as such, even if they speak the language really well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

browny1:

They often (always???) have to show their other passport, but it's just to confirm that they can legally enter their destination place.

Do you mean show their Australian passports in Japan??? Why would they have to? Japanese citizens don't need a visa to enter Australia if it's for a vacation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am Caucasian/Hawaiian/Japanese.

Born here, but spent my teens and young adult life all over the world.

In general people laugh when I tell them my name and that I am Japanese, but I am cool with that.

The dark side is that I am an acceptable hafu. If you are Japanese + other Asian, many times the response is not as nice at all.

I have always have to fight for my rights, my place, and for respect. It’s been good though, and I’m perfectly comfortable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Peeping tom - thanks again.

My "claim" as you call it was already addressed by my admission of "humour". Didn't you get it.

And I re-iterate stereo-typing qualities due to ethnicity is fraught with problems.

This discussion was based on the appropriation of Naomi's sweetness by the Japanese media (and others) as an example of "that's a unique Japanese trait".

And it IS interesting that little has been mentioned here of her Haitian father and Haitian connections. That's all. No lurking agenda - just strange. In fact little has been mentioned in depth of the 17 years she spent growing up in NY & Florida.

It's as if she is totally the way she is because she was born in Japan and spent her baby / toddler years here.

And I'm having trouble deciphering your term - "very Japanese; a black one though.

What does that mean?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My experience is that most Japanese say one thing, but do another. My son is US/Japanese and in Japan doors of opportunity open for him. He is in a great university, his part-time job boss loves him, he easily has 100 friends which is 95 more than I had in high school and university, and girls are practically banging down our front door. Certainly never happened to me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

peterl: "Yes, there are a few Japanese people who may view Naomi Osaka as not really Japanese, but there were so many who did accept her from way back when she did begin playing as a pro."

Then why this: "charms Japan" and "Japan can be proud of her" nonsense. And comments like, ""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,"

But she will never BE Japanese, she will just look it, or at most, be "hafu" with the Japanese claiming entitlement when she does well, or treating her like Miss Universe Japan a couple years back, or worse, like Chris and Cathy Reed, who may know far more about Japan and Japanese culture and how to act than someone simply born here, but I bet you even scoff at the comparison.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Smithinjapan:

The quotes you mentioned (one from Yomiuri Shinbun and another from Toyokeizai) are from two conservative media outlets. It's like taking all news from Fox News as being the voice of America. You actually believe that what is printed in these papers as what all of Japan think? Here's a tip: Don't base your opinions on just one or two sources. Read more and a variety of sources and then make a sound judgment. In my opinion, there are stupid, racist, and narrow-minded people everywhere. Yet, there are enough decent and rational thinking people in the world who more than make up for those idiots. Those who like to make sweeping statements of a group of people based on the actions of a few, are they themselves promoting racism.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

peterl: "The quotes you mentioned (one from Yomiuri Shinbun and another from Toyokeizai) are from two conservative media outlets."

I don't disagree with you that there is media bias, but show me any single paper that talks about her Japaneseness and I'm pretty sure it, innocently enough in most cases, but inherent, does so through contrast. You don't do that when you consider someone a part of you. I don't think she's changing anyone's thinking who currently comments on her, they are just jumping on the bandwagon. I think she will serve as an inspiration to younger people who have less exposure to the outsider marks the Yamato Japanese put on everyone else, and that's a big plus. My beef is with those sudden fans who still take the time to claim she's Japanese when they didn't, or wouldn't, before this moment, and who likely won't in the future.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@afanofjapan: your child can hold both passports until its time to renew either. At that time they will be asked if they have a passport from another country, at which time you can answer either "YES" or "NO" for which I do not recommend lying. At least in the US, lying to an Immigration official is a federal offense and believe me, the offender will be prosecuted. Unless your children plan on living in Japan for their entire lives, it makes no sense to choose Japanese citizenship. Its really easy for them to obtain a working visa in Japan (if they want to work here) but now that America is strictly enforcing the H1B guidelines, its very difficult to Japanese (and any other non-American citizen) to work in the US.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Serena: “ you owe me an apology I have a daughter ” and I’m a woman wearing a tutu

Why isn't anyone talking about Serena calling the umpire a "liar" before a "thief." That's two insults. More than enough for a code violation.

Damn Serena, please stop. Is tennis more important than your daughter? You brought her existence for justifying your "action" in a game.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Naomi was born in Japan but that's not what makes her Japanese; her mother's lineage does. She has roots in the country; if the Japan was a property she would have vested interests in the real estate. JT experts wouldn't.

Had she been born of 2 Haitian parents we would not be having this debate, in all probabilities.

This is the fact that escapes "alota JT "experts".

She's Japanese, end of the story.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Peeping_Tom, yup, you're correct. Just because you're born in Japan, doesn't mean you are Japanese. Both parents or one parent must be Japanese for the child to be Japanese.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Becky etc, we think is well Becky...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She played her heart under the Japanese flag as a Japanese professional tennis player and brought such great honor to Japan.

That should be more than enough.

Fact is, her mixed race bestowed upon her the height and build to compete at the highest level, quite comparable to the Williams sisters at their prime. She trained at the heart of the tennis world in South Florida to reach her true potential.

Japan and the entire world were all incredibly proud of her poise and humility in raising her first Grand Slam trophy as US Open Tennis Champion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let me explain then:

In Britain very many undercover racists are closeted, waiting to burst out.

In a supposedly multicultural country, you still get people who claim that "a dog born in a barn it's still a dog". I'll leave it to you to find out the meaning.

Lots of folks in this country look at her as an oddity; you don't see it patently expounded, yet wait until one beer too many comes into play!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

oldman13: "Leave it to the world media to fixate not on the many Japanese citizens that are proud of Naomi and her accomplishments, but on the negative few that have a less than favorable opinion on her. in order to fit their narrative of Japanese society."

As someone who will always be considered an outsider, you ought to know better. Look at the title of the article, and the feeling of the people: "Osaka charms Japan..." There is NO WAY that would be written about a Japanese person, and the feeling and statements by the people mirror the fact that she is and will always be considered an outsider who is TRYING to be Japanese, in their minds. Hell, they call born and bred American figure skater Nagasu "Japanese" and have bent over backwards after the Nobel Prize to backtrack on comments that Kazuo Ishiguro is NOT Japanese, and don't have any such headlines about them "charming Japan", but if you are of mixed background, watch out.

Sorry, bud, even the greatest of well-wishers here who yesterday were calling her "Japanese" to claim rights on her victory still say, "Look how she bows! Look how polite she is!" as though it should be any other way. It's absolutely no different than when YOU go into a shop and they feign marvelling at how well you use chopsticks.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Naomi Osaka

The Black Japanese Queen

The Lost Queen of Haiti

The American Pride

The True Definition of Immigration

Has being praised worldwide

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"I guess you must personally know her father, her Haitian grandparents, her US friends, coaches, in fact everyone who has contributed to her upbringing to say it's a "truth" she smiles and is polite etc because of her mother only."

No, actually I don't know any of those you've mentioned, including Osaka herself. As it happens I know some (not a lot) Haitian based Brits. And I have had plenty of chats with Dominicans about Haitian behaviour. Exceptions do exist, as anywhere in the world. But the generality is not to be reflected on Osaka's.

To claim that Osaka is the way she on account of a widespread Haitian trait is akin to stating that Jamaicans don't speak Patois. Even if her dad had those traits, he would be the exception rather than the rule in Haiti.

You know as well as I do what I'm saying.

Brits who don't know squat about anything foreign are quick to point out her demeanour is "very Japanese; a black one though.

Go figure.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

, the Williams fit needs to be addressed.

Lol of the day. Didn't you read here yesterday? She's Japanese by virtue of being born in Japan,but for many Japanese,they won't consider her a full-blooded one and I for one don't really feel she is true blue Japanese.But that's ok and good luck in her future endeavors like at next week's Pan Pacific where she'll be feted like nobody's business as a Japanese.Lol.

Though she has the giggling and "cutesy" Japanese behavior down pat like a native tho.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Naomi-chan was born in Japan and moved to US at 3 years of age. Naomi-chan was speaking Japanese when she was in Japan. If her mother has speaking Japanese to children at home and then the children can speak basic Japanese and can communicate with their relatives in Japan.

We don't have children but all our friends' children were born in Australia and they can speak Japanese fluently. It's her fault. She should speak Japanese at home from now. It's not too late. The children can learn language quickly. They can pickup every words they heard.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"She's Japanese by virtue of being born in Japan,"

No, she's NOT!

She's Japanese because her mother and all her mother's family are Japanese; that't the difference between one who just happened to be born in Japan from 2 Americans, and another born in Japan having a Japanese mother and, in this instance an Haitian father.

She's Japanese by blood and that's what counts in Japan (and most of the world for that matter).

America's "jus sol"i does not rule the world; just like the one drop rule is irrelevant in Brazil, or even Portugal.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Perhaps her "smile" her "demeanour" is a result of her Haitian-ness?"

Are yer fer real????

Ask anyone from the Dominican Republic about Haitian-ness; you'll get more than you bargained for.

Yer must be having a larf.

I know JT'eers will try anything to put down and rubbish the Japanese, However, the truth is inescapable; she's inherited her mother's traits and the JT crowd is having a hard time digesting it!

All Japanese mum's I know over here in London, educate their kids in such a way that you can spot them coming a mile away, setting them apart from "domestic" kids; my own girl is "threatening" to do the same to any future sprog(s) we end up "producing" as a common enterprise!

Her Japanese demeanor is definitely not root in any Haitian-ness.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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