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
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
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