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By January 30, 2019 No Comments

Naomi Osaka faces backlash for her heritage

On January 26, Naomi Osaka played her last match of the Australian Open and won, thus earning her

second Grand Slam title. She is the first Asian player to reach No. 1 in the world rankings, and thus

subsequently being the first woman to do so as well.

While her incredible accomplishments have garnered significant coverage by the media, she has also

faced mixed reviews from Japanese citizens, the country which she plays for. In the

Japan Times, an opinion piece titled “How Japanese is Naomi Osaka?” ran on January 28 that

posed the question: “How can multicultural Osaka represent Japan?” 

The author of the piece, Kuni Miyake points out that Osaka was born to a Haitian father and a Japanese

mother who moved to New York when Osaka was three and have been living in the US ever since.

Miyake claims that Osaka’s reason for playing for Japan is rooted primarily in money: “It’s not because

she had no other choice … The Japan Tennis Association has reportedly offered more financial support

than its US counterpart. JTA seems to have a critically important judgement.” 

Miyake’s opinion concludes that because Osaka faces a particular dilemma—Japanese citizens holding

more than one citizenship must choose between them come their 22nd birthday, thus forcing Osaka,

currently 21, to choose between her two identities in the future—that Japan should begin allowing dual

citizenship to embrace its burgeoning status as a multicultural nation.

However, other coverage has not been as kind: after her win on Saturday, a reporter asked Osaka to

answer a question in Japanese. Osaka, who has stated multiple times in the past that she feels much more

comfortable in English as she can understand Japanese but has difficulties speaking, prefaced her

response with “I’m going to say it in English,” before launching into it.

Japanese Twitter users, for the most part, have responded positively to the Osaka’s polite refusal, stating

that it was unfair to ask Osaka to disregard her Haitian roots. A sports writer stated that the language

Osaka uses should not matter, as “you don’t have to talk the talk, you just have to walk the walk.”

Other reactions have not been as positive: “She does not speak well at all … a shame, really, as most #1s

are pretty well able to front the mic.” Additionally, a Japanese ad from one of Osaka’s main sponsors

significantly whitewashed Osaka, lightening her skin tone by several shades.

Overall, Osaka’s win comes as a huge triumph for Japan—we will see how the undertones of racism and

colorism will play out as she moves further into her professional career.

 

No speaking Chinese, proclaims Duke University professor

 

Megan Neely, the director of graduate studies in the medical school’s biostatistics master’s program, sent

an email on January 25 detailing some unacceptable behavior she’d seen occurring. The email stated that

there were first year international students speaking “VERY LOUDLY” in Chinese, as opposed to

English. Neely went on to express that she and her colleagues were “disappointed that these students were

not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite as to have a conversation

that not everyone on the floor could understand.”

She went on to highlight that she had “the utmost respect” for international students who leave behind

their homes in search of an education, but that they should “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep these

unintended consequences in mind when you choose to speak Chinese in the building.”

However, this email was not the first one—Neely sent a similar one back in February 2018. Back then,

she had asked students to refrain from speaking their native languages in the break room, and that a

potential consequence was the difficulty in being hired (as not practicing their English skills could cause

their English to deteriorate.” She also added in the same email that talking “Regardless of the language …

during business hours is just plain rude.”

Duke University has confirmed that the emails were sent, have fired Neely, and are searching for her

interim replacement. We can only hope that the next director will be more forthcoming on these kinds of

issues.

 

Korean television show “Hello Counselor” under fire for featuring a sexually abusive father

 

According to the official description, Hello Counselor is “a talk show with an emphasis on regular people,

regardless of age or gender, that aims to help take down communication barriers by sharing stories about

life.”

However recently, online users have been questioning what the show’s definition of “regular people” is

when a tweet with a video from the most recent episode went viral. The video depicted the father stating

that he enjoys playing with his son’s genitals multiple times a day for 5 – 10 minutes at a time, and was

captioned with: “TW // child sex abuse. I truly hate this show. I can’t stop crying, how can you sit there

and laugh about a possible sexual abuse. He’s clearly admitting what’s he doing, These people are not ok

he needs to be investigated sick f*ck.”

Viewing the full episode reveals that not only has the child in question expressed, on numerous counts,

that he does not feel at all comfortable with what is happening to him, the father also admitted to

essentially mentally abusing his children. His wife also described how she suffered abuse from him as

well, further inflaming online users.

This is not the first time Hello Counselor has come under fire. The show has faced plenty of backlash

from the online community, as often times the issues that the guests bring onto the show are very serious

and pertinent that should be brought to the attention of professional licensed therapists, but are often

treated as light-hearted jokes.

The broadcasting company, KBS, has yet to comment on the issue, and the father does not seem to have

faced any consequences other than online bashing

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