Japan’s various Olympic stars reflect a (slowly) changing country – .

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Japan’s various Olympic stars reflect a (slowly) changing country – .


But Tokyo itself remains remarkably monochromatic. According to the city government, only around 4% of residents were born outside of Japan, about double the national figure. (In contrast, more than 35% of residents of London and New York were born abroad.)

Marie Nakagawa, a former Senegalese-Japanese model, said she felt like an “alien” growing up in Japan. Even today, she is regularly subjected to screams from men who say she is a ringtone for Ms Osaka, whose advocacy for racial justice has forced the country to face a problem that many here think does not. apply to them.

“I hear experts say all the time that things have changed since Naomi Osaka, but the bullies are still the same,” Ms. Nakagawa said. “They haven’t been re-educated.

In 2019, as Ms Osaka won her second Grand Slam at the Australian Open, Nissin portrayed her with pale skin and brown hair in a marketing cartoon, which sparked whitewashing accusations. .

“Obviously I’m tanned,” Ms. Osaka replied. Nissin apologized.

Takeshi Fujiwara, a sprinter specializing in the 400 meters, grew up in El Salvador, where his Japanese name raised eyebrows. Her mother is from there and her father is Japanese. Even after Mr. Fujiwara competed in the Athens Olympics for El Salvador, rumors about his nationality continued.

In 2013, he changed his allegiance to Japan and moved to his father’s homeland. The reception was not immediate, he said, although people have commented favorably on his “macho macho” muscles.

“When I first came to Japan, I was like, ‘Hey, I’m here in my country.’ They were like, ‘Hey, where are you from?’ Mr. Fujiwara said. “It has improved, but we are still a long way from getting to a place where multiracial Japanese are considered normal. “

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