Nissin Apologizes for Whitewashing Naomi Osaka in Ad


The Japanese instant noodles brand Nissin has pulled and apologized for their ad that features Naomi Osaka. The decision came after Nissin received some backlash for whitewashing Naomi Osaka. Naomi Osaka is biracial, she is half- Japanese and half- Haitian. She rose to fame after she defeated 23-time champion Serena Williams in the US open. She is also the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, she is ranked 4th in the world. In the ad by Nissin, Naomi Osaka was depicted as a light-skinned anime character.

Nissin Apologizes for Whitewashing Naomi Osaka in Ad

 About the Nissin Ad and the Backlash They Received

The Nissin ad was an ad created to promote its Cup Noodle instant ramen and it was a manga-style ad. The ad by Nissin (who is one of Naomi Osaka’s sponsors) featured the tennis star as a manga character. Her skin was lightened and her hair was also lightened to look light brown and her hair looked wavy. The manga-style ad was drawn by Takeshi Konomi who is a manga artist. Konomi also has a very popular series called ‘The Prince of Tennis’. In the series, Osaka is also depicted as a lighter skinned character.

Nissin received a lot of backlash from people accusing the brand of whitewashing. Fans were particularly upset because of they the ad because biracial people in Japan which are known hafus are not widely accepted by the Japanese people. They are usually not considered beautiful according to Japanese beauty standards. Naomi Osaka had spoken about this issue in an interview with the New York Times.

Nissin Apologizes for the Ad

The instant noodle company has pulled the ad and has offered an apology for the ad. In their apology statement, the brand stated that the brand had absolutely no intention of whitewashing Osaka. They also accepted the fact that they were not sensitive enough and promised to pay more attention to diversity issues in the future. The tennis star Naomi Osaka has yet to make any public statements about the ad, the backlash they received and Nissin’s apology.

The ad by Nissin won’t be the first time Naomi Osaka was depicted with light skin. Last year, another cartoonist in Australia who was widely criticized for a cartoon of Serena Williams which many considered to be racist and sexist. In the cartoon, the artist also drew Naomi Osaka with white skin and blond hair.


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