Nissin has been in hot water the past few days due to a cross-promotion between The Prince of Tennis and real-life tennis stars.
The video, which advertises Nissin’s Cup Noodles, was taken down due to whitewashing Naomi Osaka. You see, Osaka is half-Haitian and half-Japanese — but the video portrays her as a Caucasian.
It’s not like Osaka is a small-time tennis player — she’s currently ranked #4 in the world and became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam singles tournament after defeating Serena Williams at the US Open.
How could such a blunder happen? Nissin spokesperson Daisuke Okabayashi told The New York Times that, “There was no intention of whitewashing. We accept that we are not sensitive enough and will pay more attention to diversity issues in the future.”
Following Nissin’s direct response, Osaka was asked about it during a presser event at the Australian Open. She tried to quell the situation by responding, “Uh, yeah, I mean for me I’m just focused on this right now. Like I’ve gotten to the final of a slam, and that’s sort of my main priority so…”
Not to be deterred, the reporter rephased their same question, to which Osaka replied:
“Yeah I mean, um, like, I’ve talked to them and they’ve apologized, and, for me, like it’s obvious, like, I’m tan. It’s pretty obvious, um, so, I’m not, I don’t think they did it on purpose to be, like, like whitewashing or anything, um but I definitely think that the next time that they try to portray me or something I feel like they should talk to me about it, so…”
Osaka seems to have moved on from Nissin’s mistake and has her sights on winning the Australian Open. The final match between Osaka and Petra Kvitová will occur this Saturday.