Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka is SLAMMED over her new project with LeBron James because its name has a VERY sexually explicit meaning for 200 million Africans
- The 24-year-old – who was born in Japan but raised in the US – has been roasted over the name of her new business venture, which is part-funded by James, 37
- Osaka announced the launch of a new media production company on Tuesday, revealing it’s called Hana Kuma, which means ‘flower bear’ in Japanese
- However, ‘hana kuma’ also translates to a very explicit phrase in Swahili: ‘a woman with no vagina’
- Swahili is listed in the world’s top 10 most spoken languages and more than 200 million people it. Critics are now calling for Osaka to re-name her company
Former Tennis world no.1 Naomi Osaka is facing bitter backlash over the name of the new media company she has launched with LeBron James – after it was revealed the brand name ‘Hana Kuma’ has a very explicit meaning in Swahili.
Osaka, 24, who became the world’s highest paid female athlete in 2020, earning $37million, announced the launch of her new media production company – which will be part-funded by billionaire James, 37 – on Tuesday, describing it as a ‘media platform focused on stories that are culturally specific but universal’.
Sharing the news of her venture on Instagram, Osaka – who was born in Japan and raised in the US – revealed that she has called it Hana Kuma, which translates to ‘flower bear’ in Japanese.
However, the reveal of her new business was quickly met with fierce criticism after it was revealed that the brand name has a much more explicit meaning in Swahili, in which it translates to: ‘a woman with no vagina’.
Naomi Osaka is under fire over her new venture with LeBron James, after it was revealed the company name, Hana Kuma, translates to a very explicit phrase in Swahili
Swahili is an East African language spoken across 14 countries like Kenya and Tanzania by millions of people. Swahili is listed in the world’s top 10 most spoken languages and more than 200 million people speak the tongue.
Now, many people are calling for Osaka to change the name of her company in a show of respect to her East African fans and supporters.
‘If you speak swahili you felt the shock when you saw this,’ one person commented on Osaka’s Instagram post announcing the company name, while another added: ‘This concept would never get approved in Tanzania.’
‘Great noble idea although am not sure if you are aware what the name you came up with means in Swahili,’ a third chimed in. ‘Your R&D team def slept on this one!’
‘If you keep the name ‘#hanakuma, the name will override the news and the stories you wish to share,’ one Twitter user warned.
‘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!’
On June 22, Osaka tweeted: ‘Prayers for all my overthinkers. We be going through it’.
Osaka (pictured in 2019), 24, announced the launch of Hana Kuma – a new media platform – on Tuesday, revealing the name translates to ‘flower bear’ in Japanese
Whether a direct comment on the discourse surrounding the name, the production company has the intention to empower people from many different walks of life.
The first project is a documentary in collaboration with the New York Times about the first woman of color sworn in to Congress, Patsy Mink.
The 24-year-old four-time grand slam champion pulled out of this year’s Wimbledon to start on June 27, after struggling to recover from an ongoing Achilles injury.
Her new company launch adds to yet another initiative turned from idea to invention with agent Stuart Duguid.
Osaka and Duguid burst onto the sports business scene with the rise of Evolve, a management platform that helps professional athletes communicate with brand partnerships and investments.
Aussie Tennis hothead Nick Kyrgios was the first star to join the company, as Osaka said the Canberran was a player who transcends their sport, with unique style, passion and personality.
Meanwhile, four-time finals MVP and champion Lebron James has become the second NBA player to amass a net worth of $1billion.
TheSpringHill company, founded by James and his business associate Maverick Carter, will help fund, operate and produce content for the Hana Kuma startup.