Naomi Osaka slams reporters who ask her to speak in Japanese with new Nike commercial

Our new Nike commercial for Naomi Osaka was covered by Sora News 24. It’s always nice when your work ends up sparking a conversation. Click here to read original article.

Naomi Osaka slams reporters who ask her to speak in Japanese with new Nike commercial

”Osaka has just one word to say in response to all those annoying questions about her ethnicity and her love of katsudon.

Since winning the Australian Open and the U.S. Open against her idol Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka has taken the top-spot in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, becoming the first Asian to hold the top spot in either men’s or women’s tennis.

Her success has brought her a lot of attention from the media, particularly in Japan, where her love of katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowls) and her half-Haitian, half-Japanese background remains a solid talking point. And one thing Japanese reporters can’t stop themselves from doing is asking her to answer their questions in Japanese.

After shutting down these reporters in the past, Osaka is now returning to address them and all others like them, with a new commercial for Nike. In the ad, she slams back at all the insensitive and impertinent questions that get served to her during interviews, and has just one word to silence them all.”

Take a look at the ad below:

In the clip, Osaka can be seen on the court, showing off her strong playing style as a volley of questions roll by. There’s “Who’s your biggest rival?”, “Are you a hard court specialist?” and “Do you consider yourself Japanese or American?”


Then there are a few questions in Japanese, including “What are you going to buy with your prize money?”, “Can you answer in Japanese?” and “Will you eat katsudon again today?”


How you feel when your love of katsudon comes up every time you’re interviewed.


Then, at the end of the ad, Osaka turns to the camera and has just one thing to say in response to all those questions.


In true Nike style, the clip delivers a strong message at the end: “Don’t change yourself. Change the world.”


It’s a message that fits in nicely with Osaka’s public image, as a woman who continues to do her own thing while drowning out all the stereotypical questions from the media who want to place her in neat, narrow-minded boxes.

And judging from the reaction online in Japan, it’s a message a lot of Japanese people agree with too.

“What a fantastic ad! I hope everyone sees this.”
“Some of the questions in English are annoying but the Japanese questions are even more annoying.”
“Such a great insight into what she has to deal with every day.” 
“Japanese reporters need to watch this ad.”
“The Japanese media need to have more respect for her as an elite sportswoman.”

The Nike ad has definitely got everyone talking, and while it takes a different approach to one of her previous ads for Japanese brand Nissin, it’s definitely a step up from the controversial ad that whitewashed her appearance.

It’ll be interesting to see if this new commercial will have any effect on the types of questions reporters plan to throw at Osaka next time she does a round of interviews. Hopefully they’ll reign in the talk about katsudon and her ethnicity, and focus on her contribution to the world of sport, because as the star tennis player has said in the past, regardless of her dining preferences, background, and language ability, “I’m just me.

(Article by Oona McGee)

Seoul Searching Vol. 1

We’re in town prepping for a shoot this week. Yesterday we had a few hours in the morning to roam the streets and look around a little bit. While the air was chilly the skies were blue and the sun was out. Coming from Tokyo, I was struck by how the sunlight seemed more intense or direct in Seoul. It almost felt like a massive spotlight was lighting each street and alley we walked down. It felt like we were walking around a giant, open-world movie set. Even at night, it was interesting to see the types of signs and street lights. Even little alleys that seemed like they didn’t have anything going on were lit and highlighted in cinematic ways. I hope to find more locations that have this kind of illuminated magic to them. It was a very stimulating morning walk that gave my senses lots to feel.

Below are a few moments where the light was doing something special:

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Thank You Geoff Emerick

I was saddened to hear of the passing of legendary Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick last week. I was lucky enough to work with him one time and I wanted to share a few memories I had.

I was working on a commercial with film director Tony Kaye who reached out and pulled Geoff in to help us with the music and audio of the spot. One night, Tony and I were talking about the Beatles. At the end of the conversation, it seemed like Tony had some kind of lightbulb go off in his head. We went our separate ways and met back at the studio for the shoot the next day.

As we were shooting the next day, I noticed a gentleman show up on set at one point. We were shooting in a large warehouse in Hollywood and there was a lot of activity going on with the crew. I recognized the man to be Geoff, as I had seen his picture in articles and books over the years. Tony was busy talking to his lighting team, so I went over and introduced myself to Geoff.

We talked about Tony for a little bit and then Geoff asked me about my thoughts for the music and sound of the commercial. I was immediately struck by how passionate he was talking about work. You wouldn’t think the man responsible with helping the Beatles find their signature sound would be that enthused doing anything else, let alone talking about a commercial aimed to sell computers. But Geoff immediately got excited talking about the possibilities of a sound concept for the spot.

Tony, Geoff and I huddled over the next week throwing ideas around. It was a treat to hear stories about being in the studio with the Beatles by a character who was intimately involved. 

Geoff mentioned how he tried his best to never be in a room alone with John Lennon. He respected Lennon, but not surprisingly, Lennon had bullied Geoff around. He said Paul McCartney was like an older brother to him. Often standing up and defending the teenage Geoff from Lennon’s scrutiny.

At one point we were recording cast members audio for the commercial. Geoff really got into it. He obsessed over the pronunciation of every syllable. He made the actors say their lines over and over again. He squinted and listened to their performances through headphones and held them to the highest level. He moaned that he had the same problems with “the Lads,” especially Lennon who was always singing the wrong lyrics or swallowing certain sounds.

During a break one day, I was fiddling around with a song of my own in GarageBand. Geoff came over, sat next to me and leaned into the interface. He was fascinated by the simple recording program. He had me show him different features and how you could basically adjust the audio. He marveled at how portable and instant it all was. He said it would have been perfect for John and Paul to put their ideas down in.

I played a couple of my songs, extremely self-consciously to Geoff. He kindly replied “This is brilliant.” He called out one lyric in particular and said that it was the kind of songwriting John Lennon would do. Everything had a tie back to the Lads. We all loved hearing every anecdote he freely shared.

Another night, we were in Tony Kaye’s home recording studio, just noodling around with Tony’s instruments. I was playing chords on some sort of portable organ. Geoff came over and kept adjusting the settings as I was playing. Making the archaic machine change tones and pitches. It was musical collaboration. I imagined him making the same adjustments with Sir Paul manning the ivories.

One day Tony, Geoff and I were talking about “modern music.” I remember Geoff specifically calling out Kendrick Lamar and Justin Timberlake. He went on and on about the recording fidelity of Timberlake’s latest album. “Every sound is utterly perfect. Nothing else should come close for the Grammy.” Again, I was struck by how generously positive he was. He definitely held his time and contribution to the Beatles in highest regard, but in my short time spent with him, he openly embraced and acknowledged the creative efforts of others.

Geoff’s legacy will live on for his contributions to the most revolutionary band in music history. I am personally grateful for the kindness and he showed in our short time working together.

Time to go put Sgt. Peppers on again and pay special attention to those non-traditional sounds that Geoff found and engineered into the album.

Below is the commercial Tony, Geoff and I worked on together.