Naomi Osaka on How Kobe Bryant Helped Her When She ‘Didn’t Even Know He Was Paying Attention’

“I’m just trying to put a platform out for all the Japanese people that look like me and live in Japan and when they go to a restaurant, they get handed an English menu, even though it’s just a little microaggression,” she said.

Osaka recalled a tennis match at age 10 when her Japanese opponent referred to her as "that Black girl."

“She was talking with another Japanese girl, and they didn’t know that I was listening [or that] I spoke Japanese. Her friend asked her who she was playing, so she said Osaka. And her friend says, ‘Oh, that Black girl. Is she supposed to be Japanese?’ And then the girl that I was playing was like, ‘I don’t think so.’ ”

Added Osaka: “I remember that specifically because, yeah, I sometimes feel like a lot of people think that way about me.”

WSJ. Magazine's September Women’s Style Issue is on newsstands September 5.

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