Tennis star Naomi Osaka appeared in GQ Japan’s June edition, in a cover that was drawn by her older sister Mari Osaka. A tennis player herself and also apparently a talented illustrator, Mari Osaka depicted her younger sister in a series of bold, beautiful and strong portraits.
Naomi Osaka appears in a mask with the phrase 頑張ろう, a message of hope that roughly translates to let’s do our best together. Although it was meant to cheer on a nation amidst the coronavirus-induced state-of-emergency and was drawn prior to the protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder, the images and message, viewed in a new light, still feel particularly timely — yes, we must do better, together.
In fact, Naomi Osaka has been a powerful advocating voice in Japan not only leading up to the Black Lives Matter protest in the city of Osaka last weekend, but in helping shift non-white xenophobic sentiment altogether in Japan. She routinely makes a point stressing her Haitian heritage and correcting reporters who refer to her only as Japanese.