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Comedians sorry for saying Osaka 'needs bleach'


Naomi Osaka was the subject of remarks made by Japanese comedy duo A Masso on the same day that the two-time Grand Slam champion lifted her first trophy since January. Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Reuters

2:51 AM CT

A Japanese comedy duo and their management company have apologised after the pair reportedly said during a live event that Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka "needed some bleach."

Japanese media said the duo, known as A Masso, made the remark during an event Sunday, the same day that Osaka lifted the Pan Pacific Open trophy in Tokyo -- her first title since the Australian Open in January.

A Masso also said Osaka "is too sunburned."

In separate messages on the website of their management company, Watanabe Entertainment Co Ltd, both women apologised for making "inappropriate, hurtful remarks," but did not refer to Osaka by name.

"Though we should have thought about it, we made remarks that hurt many people, something we will never do again," one of them wrote.

"We sincerely apologise for making the specific person feel uncomfortable, as well as for everyone else connected to the event. We also sincerely apologise for causing trouble."

Watanabe Entertainment, also without naming Osaka, added their own apology for "remarks inconsiderate of diversity in an era where diversity is respected", saying the duo had been severely warned and steps had been taken to raise their awareness of the issue.

Neither Watanabe Entertainment nor Naomi Osaka's management office in Japan was immediately available to comment.

Osaka, who will turn 22 next month, was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother, but moved to the United States when she was young.

In January, Japanese noodle company Nissin had to remove a controversial commercial in which a cartoon character depicting Osaka was shown with pale skin and light brown hair after it prompted an outcry. Nissin said it had not intended to "whitewash" Osaka, and promised to pay more attention to diversity issues.

[ESPN]


There are some on this forum who would find this blatant racism funny... they know who they are. :|
 

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I don't find it funny, but it's not hurtful either. Japan is a very racist country and most Japanese look down on black people. Diversity is not respected in Japan or even tolerated. In fact, most of the population abhor diversity. So, really I'm not particularly angry or offended about this as it reflects the general sentiment of the population. Actually, I find it annoying that he said sorry, especially considering that deep down he's probably not sorry at all and he (as well as the general population) probably find Naomi too dark. There's no point being PC, if it's just for people to pretend to like something they don't like. Also, a lot of Asian stars bleach. Most of them are not naturally that milky white. So, bleaching isn't taboo in Japan or the rest of Asia the way it is in the West. Therefore, this should also be taken in consideration.
 

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It's really fascinating to see how Osaka's status as a sporting superstar in the country will challenge Japanese notions about nationalism and identity. She's head and shoulders the most 'important' sporting icon in the country, and that's going to cause a lot of headaches for a country that still retains a lot of ugly notions of superiority, purity, ethnonationalism, and so on.

I can't help but think it would be made easier if she actually spoke Japanese. Identity is tricky, but even more so in a homogeneous country with such a premium in language as a key component of identity.
 

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What makes Osaka the most important sporting icon in Japan exactly?, she's half Japanese for a start, doesn't speak the lingo and lived there only 3 years, Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan, shohei ohtani who plays in the MLS is probably the biggest and most important star for the Japanese.
 

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Not surprised, for the next few years, more will be apologising.
 
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It's really fascinating to see how Osaka's status as a sporting superstar in the country will challenge Japanese notions about nationalism and identity. She's head and shoulders the most 'important' sporting icon in the country, and that's going to cause a lot of headaches for a country that still retains a lot of ugly notions of superiority, purity, ethnonationalism, and so on.

I can't help but think it would be made easier if she actually spoke Japanese. Identity is tricky, but even more so in a homogeneous country with such a premium in language as a key component of identity.
 

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What makes Osaka the most important sporting icon in Japan exactly?, she's half Japanese for a start, doesn't speak the lingo and lived there only 3 years, Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan, shohei ohtani who plays in the MLS is probably the biggest and most important star for the Japanese.
she's a woman,poc and has had more international success than ohtani(who is struggling with injury right now). she will be the face of next year's olympics for sure.
 

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I don't find it funny, but it's not hurtful either. Japan is a very racist country and most Japanese look down on black people. Diversity is not respected in Japan or even tolerated. In fact, most of the population abhor diversity. So, really I'm not particularly angry or offended about this as it reflects the general sentiment of the population. Actually, I find it annoying that he said sorry, especially considering that deep down he's probably not sorry at all and he (as well as the general population) probably find Naomi too dark. There's no point being PC, if it's just for people to pretend to like something they don't like. Also, a lot of Asian stars bleach. Most of them are not naturally that milky white. So, bleaching isn't taboo in Japan or the rest of Asia the way it is in the West. Therefore, this should also be taken in consideration.
This is such a whack comment.
 

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It's really fascinating to see how Osaka's status as a sporting superstar in the country will challenge Japanese notions about nationalism and identity. She's head and shoulders the most 'important' sporting icon in the country, and that's going to cause a lot of headaches for a country that still retains a lot of ugly notions of superiority, purity, ethnonationalism, and so on.

I can't help but think it would be made easier if she actually spoke Japanese. Identity is tricky, but even more so in a homogeneous country with such a premium in language as a key component of identity.
TBH, and I'm not saying this to be mean, but do Japanese care for Osaka like that? Does she get genuine support from them? She's not the ideal of the average or even cosmopolitan Japanese. So... Also, I'm not sure she really has any ties with her Japanese side since her grandparents rejected her mom for marrying and having kids with a black man. I do think, too, that if she spoke the language, she might have been slightly more accepted/ tolerated.
 

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TBH, and I'm not saying this to be mean, but do Japanese care for Osaka like that? Does she get genuine support from them? She's not the ideal of the average or even cosmopolitan Japanese. So... Also, I'm not sure she really has any ties with her Japanese side since her grandparents rejected her mom for marrying and having kids with a black man. I do think, too, that if she spoke the language, she might have been slightly more accepted/ tolerated.


I believe she gets a lot of love from Japan. She has many Japanese sponsors and is second highest paid female athlete in the world.


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TBH, and I'm not saying this to be mean, but do Japanese care for Osaka like that? Does she get genuine support from them? She's not the ideal of the average or even cosmopolitan Japanese. So... Also, I'm not sure she really has any ties with her Japanese side since her grandparents rejected her mom for marrying and having kids with a black man. I do think, too, that if she spoke the language, she might have been slightly more accepted/ tolerated.
Speaking perfectly the language of a country one has immigrated to really does wonders. Especially for people with clearly different looks / ethnic background than the majority population.

It's not a 100% guarantee of a trouble-free existence, but it's a huge ice-breaker when interacting with other people. JMHO.
 

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If this is the worst Osaka has to face in Japan then Japan is not too bad at all

(compared to what peeps in Europe/US have been caught saying about Serena for example)


I don't find it funny, but it's not hurtful either. Japan is a very racist country and most Japanese look down on black people. Diversity is not respected in Japan or even tolerated. In fact, most of the population abhor diversity. So, really I'm not particularly angry or offended about this as it reflects the general sentiment of the population. Actually, I find it annoying that he said sorry, especially considering that deep down he's probably not sorry at all and he (as well as the general population) probably find Naomi too dark. There's no point being PC, if it's just for people to pretend to like something they don't like. Also, a lot of Asian stars bleach. Most of them are not naturally that milky white. So, bleaching isn't taboo in Japan or the rest of Asia the way it is in the West. Therefore, this should also be taken in consideration.
Replying without reading one word... not even the title? LMAO typical TF

It's a she and also plural (two female comedians).
 

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It's really fascinating to see how Osaka's status as a sporting superstar in the country will challenge Japanese notions about nationalism and identity. She's head and shoulders the most 'important' sporting icon in the country, and that's going to cause a lot of headaches for a country that still retains a lot of ugly notions of superiority, purity, ethnonationalism, and so on.

I can't help but think it would be made easier if she actually spoke Japanese. Identity is tricky, but even more so in a homogeneous country with such a premium in language as a key component of identity.
So if she spoke Japanese she wouldn't have to be as light?

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I don't know enough about Japanese culture to know whether these "jokes" reflect common Japanese attitudes or not. But in this respect, it doesn't matter. Regardless of whether these attitudes are typical of Japanese mindsets or not, it is absolutely right that these comedians are strongly admonished for this very poor attempt at humour. For it is only by rebuking such backdated ideas that people will gradually start to recognise and appreciate that this sort of dialogue is unacceptable.

I appreciate that we are all a product of our backgrounds and cultures and to a very real extent that needs to be taken account of. When a person comes from a culture in which a - shall we say - unenlightened attitude is considered common place, whether that involves prejudice towards people of other races, of an LBGTQ background, a disrespect of the rights of women or many other things that reflect a lack of tolerance for people who are different to ourselves, it is important not to judge that person too harshly. For it is normal that all of us are shaped by the culture we grow up in. But it is equally important that we do everything in our power to change that culture when it allows such prejudice to exist by criticising it and rejecting it at every given opportunity. For it is only by doing that, that a culture will change and grow so that over time their prejudices can diminish and hopefully eventually disappear. I don't advocate hanging A Masso for their remarks. It is quite possible the attempted humour they showed simply reflects the background they grew up in. But it is absolutely right that they receive strong criticism for what they have said and that they take it on board and learn from it and NEVER make the same mistake again. And yes, the more contrition they show, the better, and if they are unprepared to show contrition then they really don't belong in the public eye. This is important because the more people growing up witness public opinion taking actions demonstrating that prejudice is not okay the more those young people will assimilate values of tolerance and respect for others themselves. Change doesn't happen over night. And we have to accept that. So a degree of patience is necessary as well. But change only happens when positive actions are taken to admonish prejudice whenever and wherever it happens.

Specifically with regards to Naomi Osaka, one can only hope her presence and her representation as a Japanese citizen will contribute over time to the lessening of prejudice and racism within Japanese culture.
 

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Homogeneity creates strength. Diversity is breeds dissent and weakness.

Regardless of the downfall of society racism is not okay. Keep ya trap shut.
 

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Homogeneity creates strength. Diversity is breeds dissent and weakness.

Regardless of the downfall of society racism is not okay. Keep ya trap shut.
For the record, and this is very interesting, scientific studies have shown people from a mixed race background actually show a greater level of intelligence than the general population.... so no, diversity does not breed dissent and weakness. Quite the opposite. A multicultural society breeds strength and wisdom.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-taller-smarter-children-says-extensive-study

Speaking personally as a white male who has lived his entire life in the two cities of New York and London, my experience tells me this. New York and London are two of the most multicultural cities in the world. In both cities you can find people of every possible race and from all four corners of the world. I don't think it is a coincidence that it happens that both cities are among the most exciting, inspiring, creative and enlightened cities in the world. New York and London are truly great cities not despite being multicultural but because of it.
 

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So if she spoke Japanese she wouldn't have to be as light?
She doesn't "have to" be anything. She could speak perfect unaccented Japanese and she'd still face some level of 'othering' due to her heritage.

But without speaking Japanese she falls into a conundrum: she is a very real marketing presence in Japan, with her face and name all over the place, and yet has virtually no media presence. By virtue of requiring an interpreter to communicate to the overwhelming majority of her compatriots, she will remain someone people can compartmentalize as Japanese when she succeeds, and 'other' when she fails.

As it stands, she's relatable and vaguely endearing to most of her fans outside of Japan because she's able to speak English. Remember her goofy mesothelioma interview? How the hell does that translate to Japanese? There's no cultural context or crossover.

In Japan, she's an enigma. Her personality has to be translated, and so she's not really able to be herself, and so she's not able to be embraced beyond the superficial of her national representation and her surname.

What makes Osaka the most important sporting icon in Japan exactly?, she's half Japanese for a start, doesn't speak the lingo and lived there only 3 years, Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan, shohei ohtani who plays in the MLS is probably the biggest and most important star for the Japanese.
Let's go down the list:

1. There are plenty of players who don't ethnically confirm to their nationality, in countries with relatively strong ethno-nationalist sentiment, who are broadly embraced. Example: some of the batshit insane Serbian fans in here used to claim Monica Seles, an ethnic Hungarian who literally severed her national affiliation with Yugoslavia, as a hero to Serbian sports on the highly tenuous basis that Serbia is the political heir to Yugoslavia and all that Yugoslavia accomplished. Or, conversely, players who voluntarily represent a country that they were born in but which has zero alignment with their ethnic background. For example, Caroline Wozniacki. Now, interestingly, one is a player who actively ended her national affiliation, while the other speaks the national language fluently and embraces the nationality. Osaka is different.

Speaking the language is different, and I've covered that a bit, but the living there bit is unimportant. Maria Sharapova barely lived in Russia, and yet FancyBear went HAAM on releasing medical records in response to a "fellow Russian" being penalized for doping.

In fact, Sharapova is a useful example of the language component as well. Even though a lot of her fellow Russians disliked her and griped that she spoke Russian badly, she was still hugely embraced by Russia from a media standpoint. In part, though, it's because (from my understanding...) for all the griping from Myskina and Dementieva, Sharapova's Russian was still fluent, just accented like a peasant, because she was from the hinterlands and her parents are suuuuper country.

[anyone who knows more about Sharapova and Russian language/accents care to chime in, or did I remember correctly?]

As for the comparison with baseball, there's a few reasons why she's more important.

For starters, she has sole control over her success or failure. Every match she plays, either she lives up to expectations/wins, or she fails/loses. Ohtani could be the best player in baseball, but if his team isn't winning the world series, who cares? His fortune as a great is dependent on the other 24 players on the roster.

In addition, being a tennis player gives her access to the entirety of the population. Baseball may be popular, but there's no professional career available to women outside the true anomalies who make headlines when they pitch in a men's league, etc. Boys AND girls can watch Osaka and aspire to be that kind of athlete.

In addition, while baseball certainly has a greater number of players globally, it's a less geographically dispersed population. Japan, a little bit of Korea and China, a few parts of Latin America, and then of course North America, in which it's the 3rd or 4th biggest sport, not 1st or 2nd.

she's a woman,poc and has had more international success than ohtani(who is struggling with injury right now). she will be the face of next year's olympics for sure.
Well, let's start with: what do you mean by POC? Because by standard American definition, virtually everyone in Japan is a POC because Asian heritage is not white. If you mean, she's not entirely of Japanese heritage, or she's of African descent, or something beyond that, I'd argue that's compelling in the United States and a number of multi-ethnic countries, but not really in Japan. There's not a significant enough market of mixed-heritage Japanese for her to earn the kind of money she does from ANA and other sponsors. She's marketed to Japan generally, not the mixed-heritage population specifically. And the mixed-heritage population is such a small segment that there is not a concerted effort to 'represent' that population for the purpose of monetizing inclusivity.

Now, I would argue it's still important to see that representation because representation matters in general, but that isn't the reason she's the most important.

She's important to Japan as an athlete because she's a female athlete competing in a truly global sport, and represents her country reaching the pinnacle for the first time. Ohtani isn't the first successful Japanese baseball player, and baseball isn't as global a sport. Ohtani isn't able to be the first Japanese player to win the most prestigious titles in his sport. Because the most prestigious titles in baseball have already been won by Japanese players. She competes against a much deeper, global field. She'll go to London for the next decade with a legitimate possibility of being the first Japanese player to win Wimbledon singles. That's a big deal for a nationalist country that likes to project its greatness but doesn't have many outlets to do so.

What makes her so interesting, in my mind, is that she'll be the individual through whom that aspiration of a country is channeled, and yet she doesn't conform to the existing Japanese identity. How Japan starts grappling with that is interesting, and how she handles that grappling will also be interesting.
 

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Nishikori's teeth needs super bleaching...

But then, in a culture where drinking tea in three meals is the practiced, they gave him a pass.

Why would you even take a comedians joke seriously anyway.

Aint life dull when you go to a comedy bar and you expect them to be serious and careful with their jokes.
 

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For the record, and this is very interesting, scientific studies have shown people from a mixed race background actually show a greater level of intelligence than the general population.... so no, diversity does not breed dissent and weakness. Quite the opposite. A multicultural society breeds strength and wisdom.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...-taller-smarter-children-says-extensive-study

Speaking personally as a white male who has lived his entire life in the two cities of New York and London, my experience tells me this. New York and London are two of the most multicultural cities in the world. In both cities you can find people of every possible race and from all four corners of the world. I don't think it is a coincidence that it happens that both cities are among the most exciting, inspiring, creative and enlightened cities in the world. New York and London are truly great cities not despite being multicultural but because of it.
intelligence also breeds dissent. You have connotations of my words. I mean dissent as the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.
 
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