Three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka will be starring in a new Japanese manga comic book series as a cartoon character in a magazine for teenage girls.
Osaka’s sister, Mari, helped produce “Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi” — or “world number one” — which will be running in “Nakayosi” magazine starting in late December.
Osaka, 23, tweeted Saturday, “Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us.”
Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us 🥰 https://t.co/mmzJ5k17x8
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) November 28, 2020
This character depicts Osaka with pink and purple hair and wearing a yellow visor.
Last year, one of her sponsors, Japanese noodle-maker Nissin Foods Holdings, took down an online ad campaign that depicted Osaka with pale skin. The animation clips showed a light-skinned, doe-eyed woman in the manga style. Critics said the depiction didn’t reflect Osaka’s biracial background. She has a Haitian father and Japanese mother.
The former top-ranked player passed Serena Williams earlier this year as the top-earning female athlete. According to a story posted on Forbes.com, Osaka earned $37.4 million from June 1, 2019, to June 1, 2020, from endorsements and prize money, eclipsing Williams ($36 million) in that span.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.