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Naomi Osaka: Noodle company apologises for 'white-washing'

January 24, 2019 9:15 am
A manga version of Naomi Osaka (right) appeared alongside fellow player Kei Nishikori [Source: BBC]

The headlines should all have been all about Naomi Osaka’s victories on the tennis courts in Melbourne, Australia.

Instead, the Haitian-Japanese sports star has once again found the coverage diverted by a row over a cartoon.

This time, it is Japanese noodle company Nissin which has been accused of “whitewashing” the mixed-race Osaka in a manga drawing.

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Many people have been left questioning how exactly this could happen a second time. When an Australian cartoonist depicted Osaka as a blonde-haired, white-skinned woman in September 2018, the controversy took weeks to die down.

“Why, does [anyone] change the skin colour to something that deviates from the real person so much?” one Twitter user asked the manga artist, Takeshi Konomi, after he shared a picture of his drawing on the social networking site.

The company, which sponsors the Japanese tennis team, apologised as the row escalated, saying it had meant no offence.

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