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Naomi Osaka has revealed that she’s expecting her first child with an announcement in both English and Japanese, but how many languages does the tennis star speak?
Four-time Grand Slam champ Osaka is expecting her first child with longtime partner Cordae. Osaka has been dating the rapper, full name Cordae Amari Dunston, for over four years now.
In her pregnancy announcement, posted to Instagram on Wednesday, January 11, Osaka released a statement in both English and Japanese. This had some wondering whether the tennis star speaks Japanese regularly. Let’s take a look at all the languages she knows.
Yes, Naomi Osaka does speak Japanese. While not fluent, the tennis champion speaks the language, given that she was born in Japan. Osaka was born on October 16, 1997 in Chūō-ku, Osaka in Japan. Her mother’s name is Tamaki Osaka (大坂 環, Ōsaka Tamaki) and her father’s is Leonard François. The family took the Osaka family name while they were living in Japan, for practical reasons, StyleCaster reports. They moved to Long Island, New York when Naomi Osaka was just three years old.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2020, Osaka confirmed that she can speak and understand the Japanese language. However, she prefers not to speak Japanese in interviews, as she is more confident in English.
In her Instagram bio, Osaka has her name written in Japanese script, 大坂なおみ (Ōsaka Naomi). She also includes the Japanese flag and the Haitian flag, signalling her parents’ heritage. “I grew up surrounded by both Haitian and Japanese culture,” Osaka explained to The New York Times in 2018.
You can watch a clip of Naomi Osaka speaking Japanese below:
The decision for Naomi Osaka to represent Japan over the United States came at an early age. Initially, there was a lack of interest from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) which could have motivated Osaka to represent Japan. When the USTA later offered Osaka an opportunity to train with them, she declined, favoring Japan, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“I know that there are some out there who criticize me for not speaking enough Japanese, not growing up in my home country and currently living in America,” Naomi Osaka wrote for Nikkei Asia after the Tokyo Olympics. But she also celebrated how diversity in Japan is expanding, reflected through Osaka being selected as the final torchbearer.
.@Naomiosaka in an interview with JP mag Big Issue: “I don’t think of myself as ‘half’. I’m 100% Japanese and 100% Haitian.” https://t.co/PD7O8YEokR
Yes, Naomi Osaka reportedly speaks Haitian-Creole as well as Japanese and English.
In an ask-me-anything session with her fandom on Instagram, Osaka revealed that she speaks three languages. When asked about how many she spoke, Osaka replied writing: “3/4, 1/4, and 1/10”. Underneath were the flags of the United States, Japan, and Haiti underneath, in that order.
“I don’t know how to explain it better,” Osaka added. This suggests that English is the strongest of all three languages Osaka knows how to speak, followed by Japanese, then followed by the rare Haitian-Creole. This language is reportedly only spoken by 11 million people, with 300,000 speakers living in Florida alone.
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