Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka Stars in New Manga

    The shojo magazine Nakayoshi announced on Twitter that a new manga starring tennis champion Naomi Osaka will launch in its February issue.

    The manga will be titled Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi (roughly translated as Naomi Without Equal) and Osaka’s sister Mari will be overseeing the manga. Futago Kamikita, the manga artist group best known for the adaptations of the Pretty Cure franchise, will be doing the artwork for the manga as well.

    For those that don’t know, Naomi Osaka is the #3 ranked female tennis player in the world according to the Women’s Tennis Association. Osaka is also a three-time Grand Slam singles champion as well as the reigning champion of the U.S. Open. In short, she’s amazing.


    If being a fantastic tennis player wasn’t amazing enough, Osaka is an anime fan as well. In 2019, she released a tweet where she called Ryōma Echizen, the protagonist of Prince of Tennis, her “husband” (as she should).

    Osaka expressed her excitement about starring in a manga on Twitter shortly after the announcement was made.

    As monumental as this announcement is, this is not Osaka’s first time being portrayed in animation. In January 2019, there was a controversial advertisement for Nissin Noodles that displayed Osaka as a tennis player in an art style similar to Prince of Tennis. The controversy was based on the fact that Osaka was portrayed as a lighter skin tone than she actually is. While Japanese consumers didn’t have a problem with the ad, overseas consumers denounced the advertisement and accused Nissin of whitewashing.


    A spokesperson from Nissin apologized, and the company removed the ad from its YouTube channel, and also deleted tweets containing the video or stills taken from it. In an interview, Osaka said that she did not think that Nissin whitewashed her on purpose but she felt that if they wanted to portray her they should have consulted her.

    The chances of something like this happening again is slim, considering that Osaka’s sister is overseeing the manga and the current art portrays Osaka with tan skin and fluffy pink and purple hair.

    But if you want to see how well this new manga does Naomi Osaka justice, the issue of Nakayoshi that features Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi, will be released on December 28.

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