The name of Hana Kuma, the new venture of Japanese tennis ace Naomi Osaka, has caused a stir in Africa as the term has a suggestive meaning in Swahili.
The former world number one and four-time Grand -Slam player The winner announced this week that she will be launching a media platform in partnership with NBA star LeBron James.
Hana Kuma means “flower bear” in Japanese. But in Swahili it has a clearer meaning – that a woman has no vagina.
Naomi Osaka is starting her own media company – Hana Kuma – in partnership with The SpringHill Company of LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
“We will bring stories to life with one goal: to make unique perspectives universal and to inspire people along the way” – @naomiosaka pic.twitter.com/hW0rOJ2cav
– Front Office Sports (@FOS) June 21, 2022
Use of the phrase has sparked an online brouhaha in Kenya Many users are claiming Osaka, whose father is Haiti-born and whose mother is Japanese to reconsider.
“If you keep the name #hanakuma, the name will override the news and stories you choose to share”, said one Twitter user.
“East Africans can’t even whisper that,” added e in another.
Osaka said the media platform launched with James’ SpringHill company aims to produce content that “focuses on stories that are culturally specific but universal.”
Swahili — a Bantu language — is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, with more than 200 million speakers.
Osaka, now ranked 43rd in the world, tweeted on A veiled response to the controversy on Wednesday, saying: “Prayers for all my overthinkers. We’ll get through it.”
Osaka’s tweet, while not specifically mentioning the Hana Kuma controversy, was accompanied by a thoughtful face emoji.
In 2021, the 24- became the highest-earning female athlete in the world, according to Forbes, with a fortune of $57 million.
On Saturday, she retired from Wimbledon for the second straight year, blaming an Achilles tendon injury.< p>The UN cultural organization UNESCO has declared July 7, 2021 as World Swahili Language Day.