Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka – 2017 WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party – Arrivals – Kensington Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street – London, UK – Photo Credit: Landmark / PR Photos

Birth Name: Naomi Osaka 大坂 なおみ

Place of Birth: Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan

Date of Birth: 16 October, 1997

*African-Haitian (father)
*Japanese (mother)

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese professional tennis player. She has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles, is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, and as of 2021, is champion of the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.

She is the daughter of Tamaki Osaka and Leonard “San” François. Her father is Haitian, from Jacmel, Haiti. Her mother is Japanese, from Hokkaido, Japan. Her parents met when her father visited Hokkaido as a college student from New York. Her sister, Mari Osaka, is also a professional tennis player. Her parents used her mother’s name for their children as it was more practical in Japan. Naomi has a daughter with American rapper Cordae.

During Naomi’s early years, her family relocated to Valley Stream, Long Island, New York, U.S. She was also raised in Florida. Her father was inspired to teach his daughters tennis by the Williams sisters. Her parents also decided that their daughters would represent Japan professionally.

Naomi has limited Japanese language ability. In Japanese interviews, the interviewer often asks questions in simple Japanese, to which Naomi only gives brief answers in the casual form of the language.

Naomi is 5′11″.

Naomi’s maternal grandfather is named Tetsuo Osaka.


Curious about ethnicity

23 Responses

  1. Akwaba says:

    She has a daughter with American rapper Cordae

  2. ProudlyBiracial says:


  3. ProudlyBiracial says:

    They said she is the first Japanese person to win the nationals. I was thinking isn’t she the first AFRO-Japanese person to win? I am proud to be biracial and I do not only accept HALF of who I am. I hate when people go out of their to make us biracial people feel that we have to choose ONE rac or another. We are what we are. Naomi is Afro-Asian not just African and not just Asian. BOTH those beautiful races makes her who she is. Just sayin’

    • passingtime85 says:

      Probably because she’s the first person that has any Japanese heritage to win, that’s all. I see what you’re saying but I think it’s just the current climate trying uplift public opinion of people of Asian descent. Back when Tiger Woods won his first national they mentioned both sides of his heritage, now it probably was a public relations move, to highlight Naomi’s Japanese heritage.

    • cellardoor says:

      They said it ’cause her nationality is Japanese. That’s all. Nationality and ethnic background are two separate things, as you may know. And identity is still another separate thing, ’cause the fact that she also has african roots doesn’t necessarily mean her identity is “half african” whatever that means. Identity has to do with the cultural environment you grow up in and individual experiences play a big role, not ancestry. That is why many people who grow up in a mixed cultural environment don’t necessarily feel the need to label themselves as just one thing, it is usually an issue only for others (especially for people who are obsessed with “racial profiling” everyone, hoping to overcome their insecurities) like you mentioned. Though, her parents having different ethnic/cultural backgrounds doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to feel attached, say, only to one part of her background (she talked in an interview about how she sometimes felt an outfit in the U.S. for instance, ’cause of the pressure to behave in an “african-american” manner from other people of african-american descent -unsurprisingly since her cultural background is mostly haitian, not “african-american”. Once again, I’d really love to know what that actually means. I’m ever more surprised by people obsessing over something (the so called “races”) when it is a scientific truth that such things do not make sense and our dna is basically the same, no matter how different we look. Our culture and identity are the only things that matter. Just sayin’…

      • passingtime85 says:

        Anthropological findings and genetic research establish scientific evidence for genetic drift, which is just a more rigorously studied and cross referenced, data driven designation system, that coincides with geographic location. Just race and ethnicity by different names.

        Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas, 60% with flies, 65% with birds, 80% with cows, 85-88% with mice, 90% a particular breed of house cat, 96-98% with gorillas, 96-97% with orangutans, 96-98.8% with chimpanzees. 99.9% with other humans. Differences small as they may be, can cause huge differences in organisms.

        Tenths, to hundredths of a percent make people unique, a separation of what seems infinitesimal and insignificant is what causes measurable distinction, and it is just a matter of fact, individuals cluster with people who’s regional roots resemble your own.

        Science isn’t even sure how many coded genes there are in the human genome, 20-40k, maybe up to 100k seems to be the typical ranges that are most often cited.

        We have 3 billion base pairs. One study concluded 5-10%, 150-300 million base pairs, were not properly accounted for in the original mapping of DNA, by the Human Genome Project. That study’s original base reference, a single person, had his/her identity masked, as in, information about the person’s background, name, etc. was not released. There were other individuals used as reference after the original subject, Europeans and East Asians, but that single person was the base reference.

        The study that determined that 5-10% of genome was left unmapped, actually was able to determine that the base reference subject, was of European and Sub-Saharan African descent.

        Even with all the missing information we have about our species’ DNA, we still have enough to map out genetic drift and are able to match shared genetic markers, that pretty much coincides with the old fashioned way of lumping people together by region, based on proximity and similar phenotypical and morphological traits.

        Whether you’d want to call people white, black, brown, yellow, red, pink, beige, etc, or Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, Australoid etc, or people from region A, region B, C, D, E, F, etc, group 1, 2, 3, 4, doesn’t matter. It’s all just because humans classify and notice distinct features, we observe, measure, and note them, and keep the information in our minds and publications as a point of reference, whether it’s for medical, scientific, forensic, or personal knowledge.

        Humanity’s traits and differences can be ignored, they can be noted, doesn’t matter, they’re still present. Sometimes recognition of the differences can be helpful, sometimes detrimental, sometimes it can be uplifting or inspirational, sometimes it can be the bane of our existence.

        Overall though, even if our species becomes one giant homogeneous blob, and we lose all of our current concepts and/or definitions of ethnic or racial identity, it would only be for so long. New phenotypes would arise, new distinct sub-sets would emerge, and the process of labeling would begin anew. Classification is inevitable for a number of reasons.

        • cellardoor says:

          I was talking about obsessing over the differences, or use them to justify a certain (cultural) attitude, I never said noting differences at all was bad and/or should be avoided, nor I recall denying the importance genetic studies. But labelling is generally something only scientists can afford to do because when they do it they have data to back it up, unlike everyone else who judges people with different ethnic backgrounds based on looks or cultural stereotypes. One thing is to say “X person has Y ethnic background, therefore he/she is different from Z person, wich has λ ethnic background” but things like “Oh, you are part african, I’m sure your don’t mind the sun, right?” is totally a different thing. Saying Osaka should be “proud” (whatever that means) of her african background/ should feel more attached to whatever place here genes come from is the same thing, or even a bit more stupid to be honest, since melanin levels, as you know, actually play a role in people’s attitude towards the sun – while there’s no study whatsoever demonstrating that one feels more attached to the country/culture his/her ancestors were from, that has to do with how/where you grew up and what you experience during your life, unless of course we are debating mysticism or something like that. By the way, the reason most scientists refuse the term “race” is because, differently from, say, dogs, it is absolutely impossible to determine without a big margin of error, a human’s geographic origin precisely (something that is easily done with dogs) and those HUGE DIFFERENCES that you may love to note, often occur among the same “ethnic group” in an even more significant way than among different groups (I know, how sad that we might have more things in common with someone that is from another part of the world and clearly looks SOO different). And let’s not pretend many groups haven’t used/still use “classifications” to state a certain group’s superiority over others, since the dawn of time. It’s always what you do with a certain notion, science is not responsible for people’stupidity. (btw, hope this time I made myself clear ’cause english being my fourth language I apparently overstimate my abilities, judging by the response.

          • cellardoor says:

            And once for all, they usually say the nationality of the player cause when you play a sports tournament you are there as representative of the country you have nationality in, you do not play for your “ethnic group”, at least not officially, but who knows…

          • passingtime85 says:

            Larger genetic differences exist within groups compared to the genetic differences from a foreign gene pool is a misconception.

            You’re incorrect, an autosomal test can tell you where your genetic origins lie.

            If she was the first Ainu to win such a tournament it probably would be mentioned along with her nationality. If she was Druze or Basque or Jewish, or Kichwa or any other distinct group regardless of nationality, it would probably be mentioned, if she was the first. Ethnicity isn’t as important as nationality regarding international competition, but if the person is of a mixed background it’s usually noted.

            Somone with more melanin literally can sustain more with uv exposure with diminished detriment, idk why someone would feel the need to mention it in casual conversation, but it’s true nonetheless.

            Taking pride in one’s origins is a philosophical debate and it is difficult to tackle its merit and whether or not an “us vs them” mentality should be perpetuated. It has its positives and negatives.

        • cellardoor says:

          Even with autosomal testing, the more specific they are the less accurate they become (sometimes edging on the mere guessing), while it would not be even remotely as complicated to do with horses, dogs, etc..
          I’d seriously and peacefully love to hear why you think genetic pool differences being as significant both among one single group or in comparing different groups is a misconception, I say that in a non-ironic way.
          Had she been an Ainu, that would have been totally different. As you may already know, Ainu people are native to Japan and while having been “culturally absorbed” by the japanese for the most part, they’re still officially an ethnic minority of Japan (funny enough, the same way north americans consider native americans an ethnic minority after coming from a different continent, perpetuating nothing short of genocides and/or forcing them to be absorbed by their “modern” culture). Having one parent that is from another country does not qualify as being considered part of an ethnic minority of a given nation, and as you said they could have mentioned it or not (I personally don’t see what the big deal is) but that is only relevant to how SHE feels about it and I think she would have had every chance in the world to let the tournament organization and/or her fans know, had she been offended by it.
          Once again, I wasn’t by any means denying how melanin levels impact one’s physical tollerance towards the sun (my english must be really poor I guess), I was just saying it is not correct to assume, for instance, that a person with higher melanin level will automatically enjoy being under the sun more. I know many people that actually enjoy tanning to and extreme level despite naturally having really fair features and burning more easily compared to darker skinned individuals.
          About pride, I think it is something one should feel towards how one behaves in his life, being proud about “being” something (while I kind of get the reasons and absolutely do not condemn it) does not sound really that smart or useful but more like an easy way for self-indulgent people to be pleased about themselves. And why one would be proud of something he/she had no influence on whatsoever is honestly beyond me.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Specificity and accuracy walk hand in hand, unless you’re referencing uncertainty principle, which I don’t think it’s applicable to autosomal testing. I’m not sure what you mean, will you elaborate?

            I may have misunderstood what wrote. Did you mean to originally say, you could be more genetically similar to a person of a different ethnic background, than a person of your same background?

            Someone assuming another person with a greater abundance of melanin would enjoy being in the sun, is projection. They themselves enjoy the sun and would bask in its rays longer and/or more often, if they given the opportunity to do so with diminished adverse effects. I don’t believe it’s assumption based on much more than that.

            Pride is an acknowledgment that no matter how we feel about our ancestors, they sacrificed time, effort, and resources to propagate us into existence. It take a lot of resources, dedication, and fortitude for gestation and even more to raise a child to adulthood, or even more difficult an individual raising itself.

            It takes tens of thousands of years for you, your family line, and by extension your people, to exhibit traits and behaviors that were necessary for survival and other humans desired enough to want to continue with offspring.

            Even if you’re a product of an accident, an act of aggression, even if you’re unwanted, you and your people and everyone around you, are living testaments to the will to survive. Survival that is literally, a several billion years long journey. If you don’t want to go that far back, then 60 million years, too long, 2 million, still too long 300,000 years of scratching, clawing, devouring, destroying, nurturing, and building all to coalesce into a sentient entity with great potential, because your family line protected itself from the elements, from other species, from rivals, from thieves, from marauders. Pride in one’s heritage, is just acknowledgment and satisfying feeling that your existence wasn’t given, it was earned.

            Of course you could turn it around and say it’s not a particularly big deal, every living thing and person can say the same thing. A counter point to that, is that there’s millions of dead people, and hundreds of ethnic groups and haplotypes that were wiped from the human genetic table, they were genetic dead ends that were expunged, erased, denied continued existence. They were usurped by either rivals that were superior in some way, shape, or form, or the rivals that were more lucky, more prepared, and willing to accept any advantage presented to them.

            Either way your existence is an achievement stacked upon millions of individuals’ will and effort, isn’t that some call for a sense of satisfaction, for an existence that was fought for in such an unrelenting and unwavering manner?

        • cellardoor says:

          “Specificity and accuracy walk hand in hand…” I guess it depends on what you mean, but afaik all kinds of data still needs to be interpreted by people ( even when it is 100% “accurate”, which is rarely the case, science does not work like this in most cases, as you know). Take genealogy DNA tests for instance, if things were so clear cut, why is it that you get different results with different companies (or even with the same company tbh) ? And even when they are similar, it does not mean they are 100% accurate. Like, can you explain with no approximation whatsoever what it means to be “Ashkenazi jewish” or even “japanese” from a genetic point of view? Even if you think you could, why isn’t there a total consensus on these kind of “definitions” if they are so apparently obvious and easy to pin down? Why is it so simple to determine where a certain chimp (our closest relative) is from in a very specific way but even with autosomal testing we cannot be as specific/accurate with humans? Maybe because we are much more of a nomad species and we intermixed WAY more… Maybe what we consider “italian” today is totally different that what it would have ment 10000 years ago as you said yourself… Maybe it’s due to the fact that tracing anybody’s ancestry is for the most part a descriptive process, not a definitive one, therefore it involves a not negligible amount of arbitrary decisions/approximation and at the end of the day interpretation plays a huge role in it, I don’t think I’m saying anything crazy tbh… Plus, as Livingston stated, not only it is problematic to think in terms of different homogeneous (human) groups, but it certainly is of no use to the analysis of differences among us. Say you want to study the different levels of tolerance of a certain drug among different populations… Of course you’ll find that results do vary – on average – depending on the region of the sample, but they very among the same region as well, and you could easily find that people from different regions share the same level of tolerance towards a certain drug and/or have different levels of tolerance compared to people from the same region, that is why even pharmaceutical companies are starting to dismiss the old “racial” categorization, and I do not think they have any “liberal bias” on the subject. Now, if one is enamoured with the idea that we are all extremely different (something totally legit, people can elaborate the same data in different ways) that is totally fine for me. But to say that we are clearly and undisputedly classifiable under homogeneous groups/categories which predict all of our differences with no approximation/ nuances/ grey areas that is a totally different thing, hope we agree on that, at least. I personally feel part of a big heterogeneous group, despite the 0.1 genetic differences among the human population and the fact that ON AVERAGE those differences are more present among individuals that come from different continents ( but it not always the case) and despite the fact that some differences, being more obvious than others, might lead us to believe that those differences are way more present among different regions, but I have no problem at all if you personally choose to feel differently about it, just don’t try to use “science” to justify your views/diminish other people’s views on it/ automatically assuming they are incorrect. I know this is unrequested/unwelcomed advice, but who knows… Maybe you can still benefit from it. ;) With that said, if you want to focus on the differences among people from different regions of the world? Totally up to you… As long as it benefits you/ doesn’t do others any wrong I encourage you to embrace it. I’m not here to argue or to persuade anybody (wish I had the time and energy to do that at my age) so if you need to, you’ll be better of looking for that kind of things anywhere else, I say this from the bottom of my heart. :)

          • passingtime85 says:

            All data has to be interpreted. Different companies, and their staff that deals with genetics, use different standards and vary in quantification. There is no agreement as to what is the most accurate way to discern heritage is

            Look here


            Pay close attention to the information about the SNPS markers and the criteria for matching segments. For some reason it’s simply not agreed upon what should be a standard that signifies shared heritage. Like much in life, data has to be interpreted and individuals are left with to decide what is what.

            Principia Mathematica, a book on mathematical logic with a copious amount of notation, takes several hundred pages to get to point where they write a mathematical proof that 1+1=2 is actually true. Yet there’s still some contention to even that axiom. You are correct, genetic testing in regards to ethnic origin, is interpretive and subjective, but almost all things are. It doesn’t mean finding a generalized consensus is impossible, in respects to correlating genetic markers to population groups from specific geographic locations.

            As for the question of chimps, perhaps the research community that studies chimpanzees aren’t as exacting as human geneticists. Maybe a certain number of shared alleles from group to group, is good enough, and the chimp research community has agreed on that number. Human geneticists haven’t gotten to that point yet.

            In general there literally are some pharmaceutical products that work better for some ethnic groups over others. Eventually designer drugs based on individual genetic markers will be available for the public, but for now prescriptions are based on some generalities. ACE inhibitors are less effective treating black patients with heart failure than in white patients. Just a difference in bio-chemistry.

            Differences between groups is gradient, the differences and genetic signatures are less varied and/or severe when populations are in closer proximity to one another, and the differences and variation grow as the distance between the groups grow, due to several factors, environment, mutation, bottle necking, admixing etc.

            I just happen to support the idea that there’s enough distinction between ethnic groups, that it is possible for an individual’s dna sample to be matched with a regional population, with a high degree of accuracy.

      • Oaken05 says:

        Where’d you bring up here as an “outfit” in the U.S. where she’d be way more accepted here and not seeing as an ‘other’ as she is in Japanese culture.

        • passingtime85 says:

          I apologize, will you reword yourself? I’m not sure what you mean.

        • cellardoor says:

          It’s something I heard her talk about in a Japanese tv show interview, not my opinion, I do not consider her an “outfit” anywhere in the world, but a fellow human being. That is why I was complaining about people obsessively profiling everyone and assuming things on the basis of stereotypes. In Japan she is not seen as “one of them” because many people there believe in ethnic/cultural purity and she did not grow up in a “japanese culture” environment so she often behaves in a way that is perceived as “non japanese” by japanese people. Conversely, when she went to the States, she was being the victim of african-american stereotypes among the african-american community, as she reported people were surprised/disappointed by the fact that she did not act as an “african-american” enough by their standards… (still, whatever it means). Wouldn’t it be so nice to stop with all this BS and start seeing people for what they are and not what they should be based on their ethnic background? Who knows…

          • Oaken05 says:

            I’m taking issue with you conflating American and Japanese culture’s reaction to mixed race people. While there is some difficulty in certain parts of America adjusting to mixed race identity, it is NO WHERE NEAR as bad as how this identify is treated in Japan.

            It was just confusing that you brought up her being seen as an “outfit” in the United States without or before you mentioned how much more of one she’d be in Japan. Though, it’s getting better in most places.

        • cellardoor says:

          It is not a competition, we’re not here to establish which country is more “racist”. Of course, Japanese society is not the most inclusive in the world (having lived there as a foreigner for years I know what I’m talking about) but that does not mean that other forms of prejudice that are perpetuated in other countries are to be ignored/taken lightly. Judging/making assumption on someone based on the way he/she looks is always bad, regardless of who does it and why they might do it. And to be fair, it’s not like she put a lot of effort herself in trying to conform to Japanese social conventions/customs and traditions. Japan is known for its exclusive culture/society and still I know many so called “half” japanese individuals that live there and are perfectly integrated in society because they grew up in that culture. Of course, since Osaka not only has Japanese nationality but also represents Japan in international competitions I kind of get why many insist on her being “non-japanese” from a cultural pov being an even bigger deal. Still, while causing her way less inconveniences (I suppose) I personally think it is just as bad that she also faced negative aspects of people’s cultural expectations/prejudice on how someone that looks like her should behave.

          • cellardoor says:

            * I was referring to her experience in the US in the last part of the comment.

  4. andrew says:

    Time to make a “tennis” tag?

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