Naomi Osaka blasted for alleged ‘vulgar’ name of new media company

The name that the tennis superstar gave her company means something totally differentin Swahili than it does in her native country of Japan
Naomi Osaka blasted for alleged 'vulgar' name of new media company
Naomi Osaka (Photo credit: / Leonard Zhukovsky

Naomi Osaka thought she had aced a deal with NBA legend LeBron James when she teamed up with his SpringHill company to provide diverse TV programming.

But this was not the grand slam that Osaka was hoping for.

The name of the company, Hana Kuma, means “flower bear” in Japanese. However, the same name translates to a vulgar term in Swahili, much to the chagrin of many Africans who said the name means “woman without a vagina.”

Twitter users let Osaka hear about it.

A third user said: “Amazing the lack of research. Lots of money but that brand won’t fly in Africa. Let it stay in America and Japan. It’s offensive. Do you even have a clue what it means? Get rid of your ego and change the name. God forgive your ignorance.”

Osaka did not respond directly to the criticism, but posted a cryptic message, saying:

That message incited even more detractors to speak up, with one person, tweeting: “If you keep the name #hanakuma, the name will override the news and the stories you wish to share. The name of the brand is already news! I suggest a change and also, just being a bit respectful to global culture. It’s not overthinking here, it’s protecting a brand!”

According to the New York Post, Swahili is a language spoken by more than 200 million around the world, mostly those of African descent. It remains to be seen if Osaka will change the name now that she’s been made aware of its meaning in another language. 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Watch this video
What's new
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x