Japan is one of the most homogenous countries in the world. So the concept of diversity might be foreign to them, particularly in terms of people who claim to represent the country.
Tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is proudly Haitian and Japanese, recently won the Pan Pacific Open, in her hometown of Osaka. And instead of celebrating the win from one of the countrywomen, a female Japanese comedy duo, A Masso, chose to speak about Naomi’s skin complexion.
According to BBC Sport, the two comediennes said that Osaka “needed some bleach” and that she was “too sunburned.”
As a result of their remarks, the women were “severely warned.” Later, they issued an apology but according to the BBC, Osaka’s name was never mentioned in it.
Comedian Ai Murakami wrote, “We sincerely apologize for making the specific person feel uncomfortable, as well as for everyone else connected to the event,” comedian Ai Murakami said. “We also sincerely apologize for causing trouble. Though we should have thought about it, we made remarks that hurt many people, something we will never do again.”
In America, we think about colorism in terms of African diasporic communities but the issue is not relegated to us. Asian communities also have their own issues with preferences for lighter skin complexions, with women in several Asian countries choosing to bleach their skin in an attempt to be viewed as belonging to higher social classes.
In 2015, Japan made national headlines in the treatment of Ariana Miyamoto, the American Black and Japanese woman who was named Miss Universe Japan.
The country didn’t feel like Miyamoto, who is considered “hafu” or mixed race was a good representation of the country.
Skin lightening and brightening the country dates back to the 1900s with “Bihaku” (beautifully white) products being marketed to the population.
Thankfully, Naomi hasn’t adopted that ideology. From the looks of her Instagram page, it’s clear that her Blackness is not hidden. The proof is on the following pages.