September 30, 2019 / 3:27 AM / 21 days ago

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

Tennis - Pan Pacific Open - Women's Singles - Final match - Utsubo Tennis Center, Osaka, Japan - September 22, 2019 - Japan's Naomi Osaka. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

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. “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 of a group of successful mixed-race athletes, such as U.S. 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.

Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait

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