Who Are Naomi Osaka’s Parents?- Here Is Everything We Know About Them

More often, it is a child who benefits from their parents’ stardom. But sometimes it is just the opposite. There is not a single parent who is not thrilled about their child’s achievements.

The same is the case with Naomi Osaka‘s parents. They are proud of their daughter’s accomplishments. 

Naomi Osaka is not a new name in the world of sports. This 22-year-old professional tennis player stunned the world when she defeated the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, Serena Williams.

Also making her the first Japanese to hold the title. But with the accolades, many have been questioning her origin as well.

Latest News: Naomi Osaka designs a bold move after withdrawing from the French Open

Naomi Osaka parents
Naomi Osaka is a two-time Grand Slam Champion.

So, today let’s talk more about the people who encouraged Naomi to pursue her passion. And of course, we will go in-depth regarding their interracial marriage and the hardships that came along the way.

More on them right now!

Naomi Osaka’s Parents Leonard Francois and Tamaki Osaka

Currently, number three(September 21, 2020) in the World Women Tennis ranking, Naomi Osaka represents Japan. Naomi is the daughter of her parents, Leonard Maxime Francois and Tamaki Osaka.

Even from the name alone, we can clearly see the two are from different communities. True to that, Naomi’s mother was born in Nemuro, Japan, while her father is from Haiti.

Read about the sister of Naomi Osaka who is also a tennis player, Mari Osaka.

Likewise, Tamaki was raised in a part of Japan where racial purity was strictly upheld. Nemuro, the coastal town, had remained faithful to Tokugawa’s decree and maintained a somewhat racially pure Japan.

Naomi Osaka family
Naomi Osaka with her family

Without a doubt, Tamaki too was raised in such an environment and grew with those principles set from generations ago. However, all of that changed for once, after she went to high school in Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital.

Meanwhile, Naomi’s father, Leonard, was born in Jacmel, Haiti, and studied in New York, the United States of America. Contrary to her mother, there is not much information on her father’s side.

Tamaki’s Parents Were Not Happy With Her Relationship With Leonard

As mentioned above, Naomi’s mother, Tamaki, grew up in a strict environment but changed her perception once she entered high school.

It broadened her perspectives regarding the races and the principle which she endeared her whole life.

Coincidentally, the two met for the first time in Sapporo, Japan. Naomi’s father, Leonard, was among the first wave of foreigners who came to visit Japan.

Not to mention, Leonard further helped Tamaki clear the doubts she had against races.

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However, living in a country where racism is still prevalent in some parts, dating a foreigner, a black man at that, was not easy. Naomi Osaka‘s parents struggled even before they tied the knot.

Despite all that, Tamaki and Leonard dated each other for a while, hiding the fact from her parents. But soon, she had to reveal the relationship when her family talked about arranged marriage.

Read about the sister of Naomi Osaka who is also a tennis player, Mari Osaka.

And as expected, Tamaki’s parents, especially her father, were not ecstatic over the news. He was enraged about the fact of her dating a black foreigner. She was even blamed for tarnishing their family name.

Even after the commotion, the two stuck together and moved to Osaka. Tamaki and her parents remained estranged for more than ten years.

Naomi Osaka Was Born In Osaka, Japan

Now, Naomi Osaka is an athlete that the whole world knows about. The humble and kind-hearted girl was born on October 16, 1997, in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan.

She was also raised by her Japanese mother and Haitian father with her sister, Mari, who was just 18 months older than her.

Why does Naomi Osaka not use her father’s name?

Due to the Japanese Family Registration Law (Koseki), the two sisters were given their mother’s maiden name. While growing up, Osaka’s parents struggled for many things, including money.

Luckily, those struggles and time are the reasons why Naomi is humble and lives a moderate life.

“When I was younger I used to want a lot of expensive stuff, but now I’m just happy if I have basic things.”

Likewise, Naomi held the citizenship of both Japan and America but gave up the latter to represent Japan in the World Cup.

Naomi Osaka’s Father Taught Her and Mari To Play Tennis

After spending their early married life in Japan, Naomi Osaka‘s parents moved to Valley Stream, New York on Long Island, and lived with her father’s family. At that time, Osaka was just three years old.

Likewise, Naomi practiced Tennis from an early age when inspiration struck her father after watching the Williams sisters compete at the 1999 French Open.

With his little knowledge, Leonard observed how Richard Williams trained his daughters to become the world’s best players.

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams

Not to mention, Leonard followed Richard’s blueprint and DVD, the tactics used to train Serena and William to become virtually unbeatable.

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For the sake of their Tennis career and better opportunities, Naomi’s parents again moved to Florida in 2006.

She started practicing on the Pembroke Pine public courts and later began working with Patrick Tauma at the ISP Academy once she turned 15.

However, training them was not easy for Leonard. Him being their daughter’s coach meant Tamaki, Naomi’s mother, had to handle the finance.

“My mum sacrificed a lot, We would go to tournaments and she would stay at home and work because someone had to pay for the flights and stuff. I’m very grateful for everything she’s done and I can only hope that what I’m doing now can repay her in some way.”

Naomi has often mentioned how her mother would get up at 4 AM and help her get the required funds for her tennis career. Because of their contributions and hardships, the young star now wants to give everything to her parents.

Naomi Osaka’s Sister Mari

Inspired by the Williams sisters, Naomi’s father also worked hard to make his daughters the best duo in the Tennis world. However, with multiple injuries and reset, Mari has somewhat fallen short on that.

Naomi Osaka's sister
Young Naomi Osaka and her sister, Mari

However, it was not the same when they were younger. The two sisters, especially Naomi, were very competitive and practiced hard to beat her older sister. Time and again, Mari took Tennis better than her and would emerge victorious on the court.

Talking about her time with Mari, Naomi told the New York Times,

“I don’t remember liking to hit the ball. The main thing was that I wanted to beat my sister. For her, it wasn’t a competition. Every day I’d say, “I’m going to beat you tomorrow.”

As promised, after 12 long years, Naomi finally beat her sister, fair and square on the court.

Why Naomi and Mari Represent Japan Instead of the USA?

After the championship, many questions regarding Osaka and her origin emerged like wildfire. One of the significant issues was her representing Japan in international tournaments.

Likewise, this situation is not something that popped out of the blue but instead has been cultivating in the minds of Naomi’s parents. Since her early Tennis days, Leonard and Tamaki decided that Naomi and Mari would represent Japan.

Simply put the girls are more connected to Japan than their father’s home country, the United States. Since the two were born and raised in Japan, many of their relatives and friends are from there too.

Read about the sister of Naomi Osaka who is also a tennis player, Mari Osaka.

And more importantly, Tamaki and her parents have rekindled their relationship about a decade ago. When Naomi was 11, her parents took both sisters to meet their grandparents in Japan.

Naomi Osaka and Mari
Naomi Osaka and Mari are representing Japan.

As expected, Naomi’s grandparents accepted the family but remarked Tennis was more of a hobby than a profession. Nonetheless, the girls continued on their pursuit of becoming the best.

Lack of Support

Another major factor that helped set them the decision was the lack of support from the American side. Early on, the Tennis Association in the USA refused to help with Osaka’s sister and their development.

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Since the two young girls didn’t have impressive rankings and failed to participate in tournaments, the association saw it as a waste to involve them. Little did they know, one of them would be the World Champion decade later.

After the setback, Naomi Osaka‘s parents decided then and there that the two would represent Japan. Talking about it to the New York Times, the 22-year-old Tennis player said,

“My dad thought that since I grew up around my mom and I have a lot of Japanese relatives… I don’t know… I don’t necessarily feel like I’m American. And I wouldn’t know what that feels like.”

Naomi made the headline after giving up her American citizenship to play for Japan in Tokyo’s summer Olympics.

“I am Black and Asian”- Naomi Osaka

When talking about Naomi, questions regarding her ethnicity always creeps up. Many times, the two-times Grand Slam champion is asked to explain her ethnic background to people.

Naomi Osaka ethnicity
Naomi Osaka for Allure

Unfortunately for them, Naomi is bold and proud when talking about her roots. “I am Black and Asian,” said Osaka when one fan asked her about the player’s ethnicity. Also, her nationality is Japanese.

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However, she used to hold dual citizenship of both Japan and the USA. But according to Japanese law, people need to choose between their Japanese citizenship and other passports when they turn 22.

Following the event, Osaka chose her Japanese citizenship in October of 2019. But she is also a Haitian. Moreover, Japanese people have become fond of this young athlete over the years.

Read about the sister of Naomi Osaka who is also a tennis player, Mari Osaka.

Despite that, Osaka is not fluent in Japanese. Once, she tweeted, “I can understand most Japanese, and I speak when I want to.” 

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Comments

  1. Naomi’s name was misspelled multiple times in this article! I would definitely recommend revising this article, as it’s so disrespectful to have her name misspelled so many times! It’s NAOMI not Noami! Anyway, that aside, this article was very interesting to read and I’m glad I got to learn more about this tennis star champion.

  2. I watched Miss Osaka play when she won her tournament against Serena Williams. She was exciting to watch and so humble and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what she do next. We Love Her no matter what country she represent.

  3. Naomi is proof that all races are equal if they are given equal opportunity. More research should be done on her Haitian roots. She could be related to the great Haitian liberator.

  4. Some of this is nonsense. She wasn’t “raised in Japan” if she moved to the USA aged 3. Her father being in the “early wave of foreigners” is hilarious, you mean the 1600s …. and she’s not fluent in Japanese which is a surprise. Her mother must be very bold because indeed marrying a foreigner back then was still very unusual. Probably still is.

  5. Great article very informative as I had not delve into her family history. She appears to be a beautiful soul and I was particularly proud of her when she wore the Black Lives Matter face mask. One love Naomi.
    Fabulous win in 2021 Australian Open
    Many congratulations ?❣️

  6. I am a fan from the first time I saw her. She is such a humble human being. Every time I watched her play my nerves gets the better of me.
    I love you Naomi please always stay the way you are don’t ever change. Good luck and hope you win more Grand Slam.????❤?

  7. Great job Naomi! Congrats on your win.
    This Aussie final is my first tie of watching you play, and like I fell in love watching Zina Garrison and the Williams sisters play, YOU HAVE STOLEN MY HEART!
    Keep your game face on. Play on!

  8. Naomi: Congratulations on a beautiful victory in the Australian finals. I had not seen many of your matches before this tournament, and I love your style of play. I also admire your sense of humor in the post-match interviews. I laughed out loud when, in answer to Jim Courier’s goofy question about how you could anticipate Serena’s serve, you answered something like, ” I guessed” and “I have to put my feet someplace.” You are a champion to be admired, and I wish you much success in the years ahead.

  9. Didn’t have the opportunity to watch you play last night due to work commitments, but was over the moon when I heard you won! You and Serena make us Black people proud, Love you guys! I’m proud of you and love your humility and humbleness. Wishing you to excel in future tournaments.

  10. Naomi is so classy ! She is a tennis great, but still humble. I’m an American, but I respect her decision to choose Japanese citizenship. I certainly don’t get the impression that she “hates America” or anything like that. I hope, since she lives here in the US and grew up here since the age of 3, that she will be proud of the good things about this country while doing what she can to promote improving the bad things. Love to you, Naomi !

  11. She should move out of the USA…..she does not want to be a citizen so leave….she is black when she protests this country with live in unemployed boyfriend…not a good roll model for young kids…..so sad she has grown up to be like this…….ugh

  12. Cedrick June 1,2021
    Naomi, I hear of your reluctance to talk with media people and I totally support your stand. You have the right to choose who and when you speak to them and nooo one has the right to force you to do otherwise. Keep up your good work and exercise your rights. God bless you.

  13. As usual, some of the “Comment Specialists” missed the point again. If you read the article, it clearly says she identify as both Japanese and Haitian; however, it was both citizenships she possessed and simply gave up her American one because of the way that she was embraced in the “Tennis World” from the onset of her emergence. And, to think that we are a country immigrants! Boy, her decision alone speaks volumes about equity and equality when it comes to opportunities! So shallow minded some people are but of course, few have paid attention to her words. Such a fabulous young lady. And the last time I looked, “Rapping” is still a profession, so her boyfriend isn’t unemployed. Education is the key to most of our success; however, some of us just work real hard at our God given gifts and become successful through other means. For some of the folks that have made comments, it appears as though “Common Sense isn’t to common for you,” so stay in your lane and simply refrain from commenting and remain a spectator because, “It’s best to be thought of a fool, rather than open your mouth to remove all doubt!”

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