Nissin Apologizes for White-Washed Tennis Champ Osaka in Cup Noodle/Prince of Tennis Ads

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

A spokesperson for Nissin Foods apologized in response to backlash over the company's "Hungry to Win" Cup Noodle ads featuring tennis player Naomi Osaka as a much lighter-skinned version of herself. Osaka, who is half-Haitian and half-Japanese, appears in the ads as an anime character along with fellow tennis player Kei Nishikori. Nissin's ads show a pale version of Osaka with less textured hair.

Osaka herself has not commented on her depiction in the ads but Nissin's spokesperson Daisuke Okabayashi issued a statement and 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.”

Okabayashi stated that the company was in contact with Osaka's representatives during the ad creation process and that the characters were created with Prince of Tennis creator Takeshi Konomi's anime in mind.

Osaka's father is Haitian-American and her mother is Japanese. She was born in Japan but her family moved to America when she was 3-years-old. She's a self-proclaimed fan of manga and Japanese film.

Both Osaka and Nishikori appeared in the ads ahead of their matches at the Australian Open. Osaka, a U.S. Open champ, faces Elina Svitolina on Wednesday in the Women's Quarterfinals. Nishikori will face Novak Djokovic the same day in the Men's Quarterfinals.

Thanks to Kyle C. for the news tip

Source: The New York Times (Daniel Victor)

Image by si.robi via Creative Commons

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