The half-Haitian Naomi Osaka featured in a Nissin advertisement having pale skin. The Japanese player has a dual Japanese and American citizenship, and through a statement, as reported by The Guardian, the company didn't want to whitewash the 20-year-old who won her second Grand Slam title in a row after the 2018 US Open when she defeated Serena Williams in a straight-set final.
A spokesperson for Nissin said: “There is no intention of whitewashing. We accept that we are not sensitive enough and will pay more attention to diversity issues in the future. I’d been anticipating Osaka’s appearance since it isn’t often that a high-profile woman of colour is featured in a major Japanese ad campaign.
So when I cued it up on YouTube I was truly disappointed to see that there was no woman of colour to speak of in the commercial. Instead, I found a whitewashed representation of Osaka”. On the topic, Osaka said: "I've talked to them.
They've apologized. For me, it's obvious, I'm tan. It's pretty obvious. I don't think they did it on purpose to be, like, whitewashing or anything. But I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it.
But I think for me, like, I get why people would be upset about it. The person that, like, drew that, I'm not really sure, but I think he was the creator of Prince of Tennis. I feel like you would have to do research on it, like, to see if he's ever done things like this before.
I mean, to be honest, I haven't really paid too much attention to this. This is sort of the first time that anyone's asking me questions. I don't really want to say anything wrong at this point. I feel like I should do my research before I answer if that's okay.'