tokyo 2020 olympics

'The greatest honor': Osaka lights Olympic cauldron

61 Comments
By ANDREW DAMPF

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61 Comments

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Congratulations Naomi! Japan is proud of you.

-24 ( +28 / -52 )

Wishing the athletes, organizers, media, and lovers of the Olympic spirit - happy times ahead.

-15 ( +19 / -34 )

"What a moment for Naomi Osaka. For the new Japan. For racial injustice. For female athletes. For tennis."

What a crock.

44 ( +71 / -27 )

This was the most disappointing Cauldron lighting ceremony of the past 2 decades.

18 ( +46 / -28 )

Looking forward to her using this platform to shine a light on the xenophobia issues in Japan and the way 'half' people are not accepted as Japanese (unless they are successful sportsmen/women).

29 ( +47 / -18 )

I haven't watched any of this yet but I'm getting real Huunger Games vibes just from the little I've seen

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

boring,turn the page....

8 ( +27 / -19 )

It's interesting to see people how people react to a 23 year old black woman's success.

-20 ( +28 / -48 )

Good for her and those betting on it being her to light that cauldron!

“Who do you think will light the Olympic cauldron at Fri night's Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony?” - Jul 21 *

“Naomi Osaka for the fight against xenophobia. How ironic then the Olympics are in Japan.

“Vegas is giving 100 to 1 odds on it being Naomi Osaka lighting the cauldron. - We’ve place that bet and will check the result later. Enjoy your Olympics, Tokyo.”

Few people were supportive but Japan, you sure gave the world another surprise.

-12 ( +12 / -24 )

I don't think it was boring. The cauldron-lighting ceremony was somber and low-key to reflect the coronavirus impact on the Games. Being powered by hydrogen makes it a first for the Olympics.

I quite liked the final few minutes when the three baseball players gave the flame to the two healthcare workers who have it to the children of Tohoku, who in turn gave it to Osaka.

0 ( +19 / -19 )

3 hour ceremony with only 2 worthwhile moments (drones, Oh & Nagashima) that lasted maybe 8 min. Totally & completely disappointing and BORING opening ceremony.

11 ( +28 / -17 )

She got massively abused in Japan not so long ago because she was openly supporting Black Live Matters.

-17 ( +19 / -36 )

Maybe lighting the stadium was the reason why she couldn’t avoid joining the Olympics, not like the French and British Opens,

-11 ( +14 / -25 )

The honor is usually given to a sporting great. Osaka is at the top of her game now but hasn't had the longevity to be considered a great.

Should have been ICHIRO! (who BTW turned the offer down)

19 ( +33 / -14 )

This reeks of corporate sponsor influence. Think of the money to be made from her lighting the cauldron - the commercials, the posters, the t-shirts. The game will now be a little less way over-budget.

But, what did she do to deserve it? What has she ever done for Japan? If they wanted somebody who is bi-racial, why not Hachimura or Darvish? At least they grew up in Japan and can, you know, speak Japanese. Their Olympic accomplishments are the same as hers - nothing. At tennis player? Why not Sugiyama Ai? She has won grand slams and an Olympic medal in tennis. Matthew (Mashu) Baker? He has a gold medal in Judo. It should have been an accomplished Olympian, maybe in judo since it is from Japan. Or an athlete from Tohoku. Or the children from Tohoku. Not a corporate shill.

43 ( +56 / -13 )

Perhaps someone forgot their consistent tagline to @5:48amCongratulations Naomi! Japan is proud of you.

“And down-voting is not a proper response.”

Along with their previous stances: 

@Jul 19 1:51p: “Boycott Japan. Or something”

@Jul 20 1:03p: [Osaka in Tokyo]”An Olympic medal really doesn't mean much in the world of tennis, so I don't know why athletes would even compete in it

@Jul 21 6:50am: “Cancel the Olympics Japan!” 

@Jul 21 7:32am: “What a whiny bunch these athletes are.

Hypocrites.”

For some that see fit to lecture others on whitewashing & distorting history, they sure seem to love to do the same.

Perhaps Naomi Osaka can inspires us that people can change their ideas?

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

What a moment for Naomi Osaka. For the new Japan. For racial injustice. For female athletes. For tennis.

Absolute hyperbole.

35 ( +48 / -13 )

Great athlete, great choice, great opening ceremony, very in tune in these uncertain times

-31 ( +12 / -43 )

In times like these it is appropriate for people to come together.

In times like these there is no bigotry.

In times like these there is no race and no color.

This is humanity at its best and it is shameful that some people can not see this.

-18 ( +9 / -27 )

There is a saying "Just because your born in a stable, does not make you a horse"! Naomi has spent "minimal! time in Japan and her residence has been in the US since early childhood ! I think there could have and should nave been a better choice of a "true" Japanese sports hero to light the torch like Kaori Icho or Kohei Uchimura.

11 ( +22 / -11 )

Good PR for the brand.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

One need only read the yahoo comments section to see what the most Japanese feel about her being selected.

And to get a real taste of how a lot of Japanese feel about what I means to be Japanese.

Also, I agree with those here who state that Osaka has made no comment whatsoever about racial injustice and the like in the country she holds a passport.

This whole idea was most likely hatched to try to take attention away from the recent scandals that have been making the rounds in international media.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

"because Osaka is a superstar", and since the games are global event, I suspect this is why she was given the honour. The games are being held against the wishes the majority Japanese people but are a global event. I can't think any other Japanese superstar that would have this global recognition.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

Should have been a Japanese sportsperson actually living in the country.

15 ( +28 / -13 )

And btw, good for her

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

It was pretty obvious Osaka was going to light the cauldron when they announced earlier in the day that her tennis match on Saturday had been rescheduled for Sunday.

Personally, I have no problem with Osaka, as many people who post on JT seem to, but I would have chosen swimmer Rikako Ikee.

18 ( +26 / -8 )

Very good ceremony, for a country that achieves it in the middle of a world pendemic is a great effort, everything was very beautiful and special, the Kabuki, the pictograms and the best of the night was Naomi Osaka lighting the olympic fire..

People, ignore the comments full of anti-olympic pettinness, they do not add anything positive, enjoy the Olympics and be happy ..

GO JAPAN !! ..

-16 ( +8 / -24 )

Hope she uses this platform offered to her now as a fresh start to bring attention to many issues in Japan as she has been so vocal about BLM etc?

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

DeeToday  06:14 am JST

It's interesting to see people how people react to a 23 year old black woman's success.

Has nothing to do with her being "black" or a "success".

She should focus on her success as a tennis pro and be the leader of keeping sports about sports not about political issues in her native country.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Shouldn’t it be a day for racial justice? We don’t wanna tip our hats to racial injustice.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Naomi Osaka is a polarizing figure because she isn't 'pure Japanese' nor did she grow up here or speak much of the language. She also talks about the taboo subject of mental health and social injustice. But thats exactly why she was chosen. Reminds me of Mohammed Ali lightning the torch at the Atlanta Games in 1996. Probably not too many JT posters are even aware of that.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

Very disappointing selection.

There were so many more worthy people who were deserving of this honour.

Should have been a Japanese sportsperson actually living in the country.

and able to speak the language

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Agree @smartacus 7:43a: Rikako Ikee would have been a more poignant choice given her ongoing recovery but, the pressure for upcoming swimming performance is probably a bit overwhelming for her right now. However, You did get Your suggestion last night: at least 1 doctor & 1 nurse were running the torch a few steps in the stadium:

*Jul 21 7:07p: [Who do you think will light the Olympic cauldron?] “I'd like to see a group of health care workers who have been on the front line battling the coronavirus for the past 18 months,…”*

3 ( +3 / -0 )

very poor choice for many of the already discussed reasons.

Guess they had to do something to placate the advertisers and push the social justice rock up the hill.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Didn't watch, actively avoiding anything to do with these Olympics. Yet I understand I am posting here :)

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Excellent choice. Naomi Osaka is a fantastic representative of Japan.

How many other Japanese athletes have been prepared to speak out about racial injustice? How any have won 3 tennis grand slams as well and are likely to win several more? Emotional intelligence and sporting ability to burn.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

As expected, even though they don't want to, people are watching the Olympics.

What happened to boycotting the Olympics lol

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Let the negative comments pour in on Naomi Osaka. They won't have any impact. I'm all for letting negative people vent. Perhaps then they can focus on the positive aspects of life.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

No qualms whatsoever with Osaka-san. Just a lot of anger over the hypocrisy of these games.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I have to admit to find the opening ceremony sad, depressing, sorrowful event.

Another PR win for Naomi Osaka, mercifully without a mask.

We managed an hour then sloped off to the Izakaya

2 ( +6 / -4 )

DonToday  07:23 am JST

There is a saying "Just because your born in a stable, does not make you a horse"! Naomi has spent "minimal! time in Japan and her residence has been in the US since early childhood ! 

BFD. Naomi Osaka chose to become a Japanese citizen back in 2019. Time spent in a country is not a prerequisite.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Naomi Osaka, is a globally recognizable tennis icon. Whatever one feels about her political views.

The decision that Osaka lights the fuse makes sound logical financial sense. Grin and bear it

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Is it racism driving the consistently negative comments? Is it that she speaks her mind? Is it the fact that she speaks out on systemic racism? Or maybe their just jealous. Is

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

@GdTokyo

You said:

Is it racism driving the consistently negative comments? Is it that she speaks her mind? Is it the fact that she speaks out on systemic racism? Or maybe their just jealous.

For one, I think it’s because she only “speaks her mind” or “speaks out” about things in countries where she doesn’t even hold a passport.

Can you point me to any instance where she has had any criticism at all about Japan or Japanese society?

please enlighten me. Thanks in advance.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The first part was a quote. Everything below that is my comment. Apologies.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think one can comment politely without resorting to being rude or personal. The not racism, that is life. Whether public or private.

Naomi Osaka is without doubt a gifted tennis professional.

I also suspect Naomi Osaka leverages that platform to pursue a political agenda, that is my only criticism.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I said it would go ahead and I said you'd all watch. Then, funnily enough you all criticize it! Funny lives a lot of you lead.

Press around the world loved it... Try and find a bad review. Struck the right balance in these challenging times. Yes, I think Osaka was chosen for highlighting both racial injustice AND opening up about her own mental health struggles. Good on her.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Naomi Osaka is an inspiration to the children of Japan.

I hope seeing her light the flame lights up their pure, innocent faces.

Even if there's an absolutely colossal spike in cases as a result of these games, it will be worth it if the children learn to follow their dreams.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Japanese go crazy on this topic on yahou

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My wife wanted to watch the opening but I couldn't find a channel. She was especially interested in those well-oiled guys. All muscle and no fat. The opposition of me, I guess.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Cool. But, doesn't deflect from the fact, the Games should have been cancelled.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Congratulations to Naomi Osaka. I will personally be rooting for the Japanese surfers on their home turf as well.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Pull the other one @zichi. It was on NHK as you well know. They even streamed it online in Japanese and English for free.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

theResident

Pull the other one @zichi. It was on NHK as you well know. They even streamed it online in Japanese and English for free.

We don't have a TV actually. We have HikariTV and couldn't find it on that. Didn't think to check NHK online.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Osaka being the last torchbearer, the western media portrayal of justification, and the decision of how to present the games just highlights the tension between Tokyo and the IOC.

Personally I think Osaka was under qualified for the role and, if that clip of her exiting the stage last night is any indication, she may be persona non grata among certain members of her Olympic delegation.

I hope she win, just to justify her status.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I missed the first half of the show, but saw the latter half.

I noticed they included a lot of children in the show.

I couldn’t hear the audio, because of circumstances, but I understand many of them were from Fukushima and some were orphans?

Which I thought was a really nice gesture and showing who the future of Japan is.

But I also found it ironic, seeing as how little attention Japan and the government show towards Fukushima when the world isn’t watching.

Same with the children. Japan is definitely not a nation that praises the youth all that much and in fact abuses them in many ways. Which is the real Japan.

While many focused on Osaka, the real highlight was seeing the smiles on the children’s faces.

I kinda wished they did more to support the innocence of Japan, not the corrupt and money hungry adults.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Isoducky

Personally I think Osaka was under qualified for the role and, if that clip of her exiting the stage last night is any indication, she may be persona non grata among certain members of her Olympic delegation

I'd be fascinated to know how the decision to select her to light the "sacred fire" was made, and when. Very much when. Who were the other candidates and who was involved in making the final decision? Why wasn't someone with a greater Olympic connection chosen? Inquiring minds would like to know.

I heard months ago that Ichiro had been approached. He obviously turned it down......

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Good on you, Naomi! There simply was no one else it was going to be!

The fact that it seems to have upset quite a few people online means she was a brilliant choice.

A breath of fresh air, showcasing multicultural Japan, along with Hachimura carrying the flag.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Cool. But, doesn't deflect from the fact, the Games should have been cancelled.

My sentiments exactly.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

I said it would go ahead and I said you'd all watch.

Well, it's always tempting to peek through your fingers when a slow trainwreck is happening before your eyes.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

S A D

1 ( +4 / -3 )

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