Naomi Osaka’s mother Tamaki recently published a book that translates from Japanese to English as “Through the Tunnel: Just One More Day, My Days of Chasing a Reckless Dream” and there she described many challenges she faced over the course her life.
Nikkei Asia provided some parts from Tamaki Osaka’s book and some parts are quite sad. When Tamaki Osaka met Haitian American Leonard Francois, she didn’t get the support from her father. Tamaki Osaka’s father appreciated Black athletes but he didn’t support his daughter dating a Black guy.
When he learned about Tamaki Osaka dating a Black guy, he reacted by saying: “Blacks are only for watching on TV or in movies, not for dating.” Even though she didn’t get the support from her father, Tamaki Osaka fell in love with Francois and the two tied the knot.
Tamaki Osaka and her husband welcomed two baby daughters, Naomi and Mari. Working full-time with two young daughters was almost impossible in Japan at the time and the Osaka family didn’t have a financial stability.
Mari was born in 1996, while Naomi was welcomed in 1997. The Osaka family decided to move to the United States because they felt that way Naomi and Mari would have a better shot at succeeding at tennis.
Naomi Osaka is now a tennis superstar
When the Osaka family moved to the United States, Tamaki Osaka was doing her best to support her family, while Francois was preoccupied with tennis.
“I had no money, worked nonstop and cried all the time,” Tamaki Osaka wrote in the book. The finances weren’t the only problem the Osaka family faced as they also had frequent encounters with the police. Sometimes when Naomi and Mari would practice on public courts, some would call the police and say that “unlicensed coaches are teaching.”
“Tennis is still a sport for the white community,” Tamaki Osaka said. “There must be many people who feel uncomfortable watching Black people and Asians practicing tennis hard.” The effort Tamaki Osaka put up has paid off as her daughter Naomi is a four-time Grand Slam champion and has been ranked at No.
1 in the world. Naomi Osaka is now the face of some of the world’s biggest brands and is the highest-paid female athlete in the world.