Sunday , June 13 2021

Tennis: A Japanese company that faces Australian Open's "white" stars

Australian Open semi-finalist Naomi Osaka must focus on ranking first – instead her campaign in Melbourne is put in contradiction with a "plastered" animation ad.

Japanese company Nissin is already forced to apologize for its advertising campaign, which includes cartoons of the Japanese superstars of tennis Kei Nishikori and Osaka.

The ad has come under fire to "smear" the skin tones of both Nishikori and Osaka, who publicly celebrated their genetic mix of Haitian and Japanese origin.

Her dark skin tones are nowhere seen in the ad – and her reserved hairstyle is not visible anywhere in the ad.

The 90-second ad just fell like a water balloon.

Nissin, a Japan-based fast-food noodle maker, issued a statement to international media to say the cartoon is part of an advertising campaign launched in January called "Hungry to Win".

It depicts the artistic designs of designer Takeshi Konomi, a veteran manga artist who is best known for his cartoon "The Prince of Tennis".

Picture from Nissin's ad.
Picture from Nissin's ad.

The company claims that the images of Osaka and Nishikori are simply in line with the artist's traditional styles.

Their explanation was simply not good enough for some.

"I had expected Osaka to appear as she was not a common woman with a color profile in a major Japanese advertising campaign. So when I found her on YouTube, I was really disappointed to see no woman. Instead, I found Osaka's white presentations, "wrote Bai McNeill, author of the Japan book in The Japan Times column.

Was this a business decision? Were you worried that your clients would be forced to feel embarrassed to consider racial or ethnic affairs while they were dropping the USO Cup. Yaki?

"Of course, anime fans are not accustomed to seeing women in the genre, so … a few shades lighter on the skin here … the blowing of the nose there … the de-exotisation of her hair … and, the veil! The girl next door, but not for this fan, and the de-blackening of Osaka is so problematic to me as Bobby Riggs's tirade against tennis players.

His column was titled, "Someone has lost their noodles, making this new advertisement, Nissin."

American commentator Darryl Wharton-Rigby just said that Nissan blew up.

The spokesman for Nissan Daiushke Okabayashi issued an apology when he turned to comment from the New York Times.

"There is no intention of blurring," he said.

"We assume that we are not sensitive enough and will pay more attention to the question of diversity in the future."

The rising furor did not prevent Osaka from going through the semifinals on Wednesday.

21-year-old World No. 4 will become player No. 1 on the planet if he can pull out the Australian crown.

Osaka was pushed to three sets in two of his matches in Melbourne, but it still seemed that the interviews after the match had given her more grief than her opponents.

She closed her interview with Channel 9 earlier on Wednesday after being asked to assess her potential semi-final matches with Carolina Pliskova or Serena Williams.

"I both played both are very great players," she said.

– I'm sorry, I know it's going to be hard, no matter who I play, but I'm trying to get in because it's a bit hot right now.

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