Naomi Osaka is currently ranked the No. 1 tennis player in the world, and is the first Japanese to do so (Rich, 2019). Despite her major success, there still is an impending issue she will have to deal with very soon. This issue concerns whether Osaka will choose to remain a Japanese citizen or American.

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Naomi Osaka was born on October 16, 1997 in Osaka, Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father. Her and her sister, Mari, retained their mother’s family name for “practical reasons” when the family lived in Japan (Burke, 2018). The family moved to the US when she was three years old.

Japan’s Nationality Law requires Japanese people who hold any additional citizenships to choose one by the time turn 22. Naomi Osaka is turning 22 years old in October this year, and she currently still holds both U.S. and Japanese passports.

For more information on this overall subject, please refer to this video:

This topic hits quite a little too close to home for me. I too have dual citizenship: Australian and Japanese. My Japanese citizenship was passed on to me by my Mum, but despite my heritage, I still feel a little hesitation with completely associating with Japanese culture. 

Personally, it’s still upsetting that by the time I’m 22, I’m expected to just simply pick a part of my identity and completely disregard the other nationality. Although probably seen as not the biggest deal, I still believe it’s a shame that there are others who probably also struggle with their cultural and social identity due to a law established by a government.

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It should be known whether Australian or Japanese, my knowledge of politics is quite limited. I still form opinions however, which’ll be voiced to establish the ‘auto’ in my ‘autoethnography’ to produce a study that draws from “personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis et al. 2011). 

I’ll be using digital sources to examine Naomi Osaka’s impending dilemma of choosing her nationality as well as the overall topic regarding why the Japanese Government doesn’t allow for dual citizenship. In extension, I’ll attempt to explain how this overall topic affects myself and others who are in the same situation as the No.1 tennis player.

I hope I’m able to gather relevant information that can be of interest to anyone unfamiliar with Japan’s overall stance on dual-citizenship, as well as developing my own political, social and cultural standpoint.


Join the Conversation


  1. Hi there! Well done on a great blog post this week. It was an interesting read, particularly considering you have a deep personal connection to the topic. I was drawn to your blog post because I have been following Naomi’s tennis career over the years, however I was completely unaware of these personal/political struggles.

    Your post this week demonstrates that you have clearly grasped the concept of autoethnography as you have detailed your own personal experiences and feelings about having to make the difficult decision between Japanese or Australian citizenship.

    As stated by Ellis et al. (2011), “The purpose… is to help facilitate understanding of a culture for insiders and outsiders… created by discerning patterns of cultural experience—repeated feelings, stories, and happenings.” As an Australian citizen myself, being born and raised here, your blog post has educated me and helped me understand the emotional struggle you must be experiencing as you navigate your identity. Your narrative writing style and explanation of your feelings about this difficult cultural choice has helped me grasp its magnitude.

    I like how you have incorporated lots of multimedia, including images, GIF’s and videos to make your post more engaging! (Just make sure you include the image source as a hyperlink or in the references). I’d also like to know more about which particular ‘digital sources’ you will be using to examine Naomi Osaka’s impending decision – I’m guessing probably news articles, Twitter or YouTube?

    This is undoubtedly a relevant and timely topic for you to be investigating, with a clear utility – for both Japanese and non-Japanese people to learn more about this experience. I would like to suggest that you could potentially include more research from the assigned Ellis et al. (2011) reading to support your autoethnographic ideas and process. According to Ellis et al. (2011), “Autoethnographers must also consider ways others may experience similar epiphanies; they must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” Focusing on a key significant individual such as Naomi Osaka is a great idea, as this will support your personal journey and epiphanies.

    Overall, you have successfully developed the narrative of your initial encounter with Digital Asia autoethnography. I look forward to learning more about your autoethnographic epiphanies as you develop your own political and cultural standpoint on the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for the feedback! And thank you also for pointing out I should be referencing image sources, I’ve edited them in now and I’ll make sure I do so in the future!

      Yeah, I’m not surprised that you were a little unaware of this because I don’t think her deciding on citizenship is highlighted too much by the media? Which is fine though, because the focus should be on her performance and her performance alone really, as an amazing tennis player. But for the sake of this particular autoethnography, I hope I can investigate enough to help you understand at least a little more on this topic.

      Pretty much you’re right, I’ll be looking at news articles, twitter and youtube for my digital sources. Maybe some academic sources as well? Whatever I can find to try to make a well-grounded research composition.

      Thanks for suggesting to include more of the Ellis reading to support my autoethnographic ideas and process, I’ll (hopefully) do so in the next blog post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story and am following it as the US Open is on unfortunately she won’t be ranked 1 much longer. This blog shows a great understanding of how celebrities situations can affect our perceptions. I enjoyed how you related her current predicament to your future possible situation, who knows maybe with Japans declining population just to keep numbers up the laws will change.

    This was a great consideration of autoethnography for you to write about and hits many points of the Ellis reading. The only thing I would have liked to see some research on numbers of those who chose to keep their Japanese citizenship and those that don’t, just to see who views being Japanese as part of their identity.

    Liked by 1 person

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