Tennis: Naomi Osaka laughs off 'too sunburned' comment with plug for sponsor's sunscreen

Naomi Osaka, born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but raised in the US, has been embraced by Japan despite its long history as a racially homogeneous country.
Naomi Osaka, born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but raised in the US, has been embraced by Japan despite its long history as a racially homogeneous country.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has laughed off comments by a Japanese comedy duo who said she was "too sunburned" and "needed some bleach", turning the tables with a plug for Japanese cosmetic giant Shiseido that is one of her sponsors.

The comedians apologised after their remarks at a live event on Sept 22, the same day Osaka won the Pan Pacific Open, although neither they nor their management company referred to Osaka by name.

"'Too sunburned' lol that's wild," Osaka said on Twitter late on Sunday (Sept 29). "Little did they know, with Shiseido Anessa perfect UV sunscreen I never get sunburned."

Osaka, born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but raised in the United States, has been embraced by Japan despite its long history as a racially homogeneous country.

She is one in a group of successful mixed-race athletes, such as US professional basketball player Rui Hachimura and sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, helping to change that view.

In January, Japanese noodle company Nissin removed a commercial, in which a cartoon character depicting Osaka was shown with pale skin and light brown hair, after it prompted an outcry.