Translating Japanese Tweets About Naomi Osaka
Today I’m going to read through and translate some of the Japanese Twitter commentary about Naomi Osaka pulling out of the French Open.
This caused a stir when it was reported that Osaka faced fines and disqualification from the tournament for refusing to do press conferences. This ultimately led to her saying that she was pulling out of the Open due to mental health issues.
As always on the internet, people voiced every opinion under the sun about this. Generally, the ark of commentary went from being quite anti Osaka when she first refused the press conference to being more sympathetic once she announced she was struggling with depression.
Personally I think that they could pay the players that want to do the press conferences extra for their troubles, but not make it a requirement of playing. Because, at the end of the day playing tennis and speaking to media are two very separate things.
Anyway, let’s look at what Japanese people were saying online.
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Mixed reactions to Naomi Osaka from Japanese today: “Staging your own political performances, throwing your racket when things aren’t going your way, refusing to do press conferences that aren’t to your liking.— Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) May 31, 2021
Is this character even a tennis player?”#大坂なおみ https://t.co/lSPtmbi49f
An example of some of the colorful language people use on social media. I translated こいつ as “this character”, but could have gone with “joker” or, if I wanted to be crass about it, “asshole”.
#NaomiOsaka Japanese reactions: "There is a period when you are young and strong that you can assert yourself. With age, strength and wealth decline, and with them the interviews. (In buddhist terminology) “All that prosper must decline”.#大坂なおみ https://t.co/P8uGwf8epP— Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) May 31, 2021
Don’t you love it when there are parallels in language? In English, we have the quasi-religous phrase “all that’s fair must fade”, meaning bad things can happen to anyone, even you. In Japanese they have the phrase 盛者必衰 (じょうしゃひっすい)
"It's comical how right wing keyboard warriors whinge about Naomi Osaka's refusal of press conferences. They support Abe and Suga's refusal to talk to press, then bash up on Osaka. Those clowns’ shitty ideology is on full display. They make me sick. Just leave Japan." #NaomiOsaka https://t.co/ennyiIFTZY— Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) May 31, 2021
Lots of references to Nettouyo. “Right wing netizen”. One of the many wonderful Japanese portmanteau. A combo of “Net” and “Uyoku”, meaning right wing. Language wins again.
"At every opportunity, the Right-wing netizens tell Osaka ""We don’t recognise you as Japanese"" or ""You don’t act like a Japanese"". They must hate it that she has clearly established herself as her own "Naomi Osaka"" https://t.co/oUpfCllSJP— Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) June 3, 2021
「日本人らしくない」is un interesting phrase. In Australia, people sometimes refer to people they don’t agree with as “Unaustralian”. Strikes me as similar.
I found it interesting that a Japanese person was using this phrase:
“This is a prime example of how Japanese people live with a sense of being separate from the world.”
As non-Japanese people we often feel this sense of Japanese people seeing us as somehow fundamentally seperate to them. Here’s a Japanese person voicing the same idea.
"Seeing the news of Kyoko Fukada and Naomi Osaka, I feel the world may be tolerant of mental illness, but in the workplace or a close community, people are often not so forgiving.— Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) June 3, 2021
"“There But For The Grace Of God Goes I”". It made me think we need to go easy." https://t.co/xqn2umSsiX
And one tweet to finish off with a positive message!
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I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).