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Naomi Osaka Told Her Black Card is ‘Revoked’ for Decision to Represent Japan at Olympics 

The tennis star’s mother said the decision for her to represent Japan was made when she was 14 years old 

Art & Entertainment

Japan's Naomi Osaka holds the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup aloft defeating United States Jennifer Brady in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.(AP Photo/Mark Dadswell)
By: ShaCamree Gowdy

Popular tennis player Naomi Osaka will compete for Japan at the Olympic Games, a decision she said she faced backlash for. 

In her self-titled Netflix docuseries Osaka shared that a lot of the criticism she received focused on her race, as reported by Newsweek’s Darragh Roche. The decision to represent Japan was something that was determined early on for Osaka, who was born in Chūō-ku, Osaka to a Japanese mother and Haitian father. 

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“‘I don’t choose America and suddenly people are like, ‘Your Black card is revoked.’ And it’s like, African American isn’t the only Black, you know?” Osaka said, as reported by Roche. 

When Osaka was three years old, she moved to New York, per Roche. Tamaki Osaka, Osaka’s mother, commented to The Wall Street Journal in 2018 on her daughter’s decision to play for her own country. 

“She was born in Osaka and was brought up in a household of Japanese and Haitian culture,” Tamaki said, in part, as reported by Wall Street Journal’s Tom Perrotta. “‘It was never a financially motivated decision nor were we ever swayed either way by any national federation.” 

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The docuseries is an “intimate series [that] follows Naomi Osaka as she explores her cultural roots and navigates her multifaceted identity as a tennis champ and rising leader,” per its official Netflix description. 

Osaka, a four-time grand slam champion and the first Asian player to hold the No. 1 ranking, is currently the world’s highest earning female athlete.