Japan's major-winning tennis player Naomi Osaka has welcomed a new manga comic-book series where she will star as a cartoon character in a magazine aimed at teenage girls.
"Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi", which will run in "Nakayosi" magazine from late December, was produced with the help of Osaka's older sister, Mari. "Tenka-ichi" means "world number one" in Japanese.
"Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us," the three-time Grand Slam champion tweeted Sunday.
🔥BIG NEWS🔥 なかよし2月号(12/28発売)から、#大坂なおみ 選手がキャラとして登場する 「#アンライバルド NAOMI天下一」 新連載🎾🔥 監修はなおみ選手の姉の #大坂まり さん、漫画は #上北ふたご さん✨✨ ワールドワイド🌏な超BIGプロジェクトをお楽しみに！#NAOMIOSAKA #MARIOSAKA #NAKAYOSI pic.twitter.com/r02VSTstnm — なかよし編集部 (@nakayosi_manga) November 28, 2020
The new character, which depicts a doe-eyed Osaka with pink and purple hair and wearing a yellow visor, follows a storm of controversy over a sponsor's cartoon image of her last year.
Noodle-maker Nissin apologised and withdrew the image, which showed Osaka with pale skin and light brown hair, after being accused of "white-washing" the Japanese-Haitian player.
Osaka, who has dislodged Serena Williams to be rated as the world's highest-earning female athlete, is a household name in Japan where she is the face of several leading brands.