Japan is now experiencing “Naomi Fever” throughout the country.

Not many people in Japan knew about Naomi Osaka before she rose to prominence in the finals of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships, presumably due to the fact that she had left Japan at the tender age of three and spent much of her life in the United States.

People usually defaulted to Kei Nishikori as the most recognizable Japanese tennis player, but now that Osaka has secured a Grand Slam title, her popularity has seen a sudden surge over here in the form of “Naomi Fever”.

▼ She really shook up the tennis world and gained a ton of fans.

Various media outlets sang praises of the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam tournament, about how Osaka kept her cool even when playing against Serena Williams, her idol and one of the best players in the world.

Aside from her powerful plays, people were really curious about what she used or wore in the game, which resulted in a wave of queries pouring in regarding her tennis racket model and even her wristwatch.

▼ For the record, her racket was a Yonex Ezone 98

▼ …while her watch was a Citizen BZ4600-01E with bluetooth functionality.

Japanese companies are also scrambling to have her endorse their products, and Osaka has reportedly signed deals with food company Nissin and watch outlet Citizen. She’s also now the brand ambassador of car manufacturer Nissan.

Her Grand Slam victory and contracts are said to have an impressive effect of 300 to 400 billion yen (US$2.68 to 3.6 billion) on the Japanese economy, as all companies including Nissin and Yonex sponsoring her are now enjoying huge boosts in stock prices.

Even her words have profound effects. After Osaka’s fateful tournament win, an interview revealed that the tennis star really wanted to eat tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) and tonkatsu curry, a sentence that would later cause two different food stores in the city of Osaka to launch a promotion. Celebrating her victory, store customers who are called Naomi will be offered free sets of tonkatsu meals and beef curry.

▼ Another shop tried the same deal, but only gave free tonkatsu
to people who bear the exact same name “Naomi Osaka” as the tennis ace.


News quickly spread of Osaka frequenting Utsubo Tennis Center with her family when she was still in Japan, and calls regarding tennis lessons and equipment rentals quickly flooded in.

Considering that few Japanese players have made it to the top in the tennis world, several media sources also speculate that this heightened interest will result in more Japanese children aiming to become professional tennis players.

It’s amazing how Osaka’s Grand Slam victory single-handedly affected Japan economically and inspired countless individuals to take up racket in hand and aim for the sky. Although some people are still unsure whether she is really “Japanese” or not, the fact remains that she has brought tennis to a whole new level never seen before in Japan.

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: GAHAG