From majors to manga: Japan tennis ace Osaka to star in comic book

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 30 2020 04:11 PM

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the trophy after winning her Women's Singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day Thirteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. Matthew Stockman, Getty Images/AFP

TOKYO -- Japan's major-winning tennis player Naomi Osaka has welcomed a new manga comic-book series where she will star as a cartoon character in a magazine aimed at teenage girls.

"Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi", which will run in "Nakayosi" magazine from late December, was produced with the help of Osaka's older sister, Mari. "Tenka-ichi" means "world number one" in Japanese.

"Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us," the three-time Grand Slam champion tweeted Sunday.

The new character, which depicts a doe-eyed Osaka with pink and purple hair and wearing a yellow visor, follows a storm of controversy over a sponsor's cartoon image of her last year.

Noodle-maker Nissin apologised and withdrew the image, which showed Osaka with pale skin and light brown hair, after being accused of "white-washing" the Japanese-Haitian player.

Osaka, who has dislodged Serena Williams to be rated as the world's highest earning female athlete, is a household name in Japan where she is the face of several leading brands.

© Agence France-Presse