Why Does Naomi Osaka Use Her Mother’s Last Name?

Published 05/17/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina


Naomi Osaka has established herself as one of the tennis icons at just the age of 23. The Japanese star is currently a 4-time Grand Slam champion and has defeated the likes of Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty, and several other big players on many occasions. In addition, she is also the brand ambassador of many successful and established firms right now.

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Both the parents of Naomi Osaka are not Japanese. Even though her mother, Tamaki Osaka, is Japanese, her father, Leonard Francais, is a Haiti. In such a scenario, it is quite surprising that Naomi and her sister, Mari took the surname of their mother. The following can be the reasons for the same.

The Japanese Law

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Naomi Osaka of Japan with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup following victory in her Women’s Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova. Day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As per the Japanese Law, if one parent is foreign, then the children must take the name of the Japanese native parent. This makes it much easier for Osaka and her sister to rent an apartment, open a bank account, and access other such facilities in Japan.

It was also a sign of respect from the father’s side. Osaka’s parents have always taught the Japanese culture to both their children right from the beginning and thus, it could be one of the reasons why World No.2 Naomi and her sister got the surname of their mother.

Father of Naomi Osaka always wanted both their daughters to represent Japan

In addition, even though both Naomi and her sister were raised in the United States and even learned tennis there, their father always wanted them to represent Japan. Under such a condition, their parents thought of giving them both their mother’s surname so that their daughters don’t lose the connection with Japan.

Naomi Osaka of Japan attends a training session ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals at Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. October 26, 2019, in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Also, Leonard shared an incident where he described how the US authorities didn’t give the family enough funds even when both his daughters were phenomenal players. This outraged the father and he decided that his two girls will not represent the United States.

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It is clearly both a matter of nativeness and pride because of which Naomi uses Osaka as her surname and not Francais. Her parents always wanted her to play for Japan and as a result, decided to give her the surname of her mother.

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Anshul Singh

951 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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