Tennis queen Osaka a role model, says ‘Indian’ Miss Japan

TOKYO, Sept 24: Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka not only hit the cash jackpot with her historic US Open victory — she struck a blow for racial equality, according to a former Miss Japan.
Following her 6-2 6-4 thrashing of childhood idol Serena Williams in New York earlier this month, Osaka is set to become a global marketing force as sponsors prepare to break the bank to sign the 20-year-old.
But Priyanka Yoshikawa, who two years ago was crowned Miss Japan, believes Osaka can also help break down cultural barriers in a country where multi-racial children make up just two percent of those born annually.
“Naomi is definitely a role model,” the half-Indian beauty queen said.
“Japan should be proud of her — she can definitely break down walls, she will have a big impact.”
Osaka, who has a Japanese mother, a Haitian father and was raised in the United States, is set to shine a light on what it means to be Japanese, predicts Yoshikawa.
“The way she speaks, and her humbleness, are so Japanese,” said the 24-year-old.
“Japan puts all ‘haafu’ in the same bucket,” added Yoshikawa, referring to the Japanese for “half” — a word to describe mixed race.
“Whether you’re part Russian, American or African, you’re still categorised as ‘haafu’ in Japan.”
Yoshikawa’s Bollywood looks swept her to Miss Japan victory a year after Ariana Miyamoto faced an ugly backlash in 2015 for becoming the first black woman to represent the country. (AGENCIES)