Tokyo, Nov 30 (efe-epa).- Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has inspired a manga character that is set to make its debut in the influential magazine Nakayoshi at the end of the year.
Osaka’s sister, Mari Osaka, helped with the development of the character, named Unrivalled Naomi Tenkaichi, who will premier on 28 December.
“Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us,” the tennis star, who won this year’s US Open, wrote on Twitter, sharing an image of the character.
The character is being developed by the Kamikita twins (Futago Kamikita), known for their popular franchise Pretty Cure.
Born to a Haitian-American father and Japanese mother, Osaka is a sporting sensation in Japan and is the face of several brands in the Asian country.
Among others, she was the face of noodle brand Nissin Foods, which in 2019 immortalized the tennis player in the form of animation along with fellow player Kei Nishikori in a series of YouTube ads that were removed from the platform after Osaka’s characterization caused controversy for being racist.
The character created by Takeshi Konomi was criticized for white-washing Osaka’s bi-racial heritage. Japan is a country where cultural and racial homogeneity dominates.
The former world number one is engaged with race issues and is a vocal activist of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.
During the recent US Open, she wore masks bearing the names of black Americans who had died at the hands of the police. EFE-EPA