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In Diversity Win, Shiseido Taps Naomi Osaka as Beauty Ambassador

The new Anessa and BareMinerals face adds inclusivity to how beauty is defined in Japan.

TOKYO—Japanese beauty giant Shiseido on Tuesday tapped tennis champion Naomi Osaka as brand ambassador. The U.S. Open winner, who was the first Japanese player ever to win a Grand Slam, will initially represent BareMinerals, as well as the sunscreen brand Anessa, for an undisclosed amount.

Other companies have courted the 21-year-old tennis star, including Adidas, who in September gave a contract to Osaka for a reported record-breaking $8.5 million per year. Osaka is also partnered with Japanese firms Nissan Motor, broadcaster Wowow Inc., and Citizen Watch. In partnering with Shiseido, Japan’s largest cosmetics company and the fifth largest beauty company globally, the bi-racial Osaka adds inclusivity into the beauty landscape in a nation that prizes fair skin.

At a press briefing in the Japanese capital, Shiseido’s representative director, president and chief executive officer Masahiko Uotani referred to the announcement as “very exciting, happy news.” The executive equated Shiseido’s aim to bring its Japanese heritage and quality to customers around the world with Osaka’s Japanese roots and global stardom. 

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Osaka, dressed in black heeled sandals and a flowing gold satin dress designed by Shiseido to complement the packaging of Anessa products, said her goal for the coming year is to play well and have fun.

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“When I have fun is when I play my best,” said the athlete, who is currently fifth on the WTA women’s singles ranking.

Osaka said that when training, she often spends over five hours at a time outdoors in the sun, so she was happy to be representing Anessa, which is the number one bestselling sunscreen brand in Japan, and is also carried in countries across Asia. Osaka said the product feels like a moisturizer and is perfect for her sensitive skin, as well as for her active routine.

“I’m very impressed with how long it lasts, especially since I tend to sweat a lot,” she said, also noting that her mother uses Shiseido products. “It doesn’t come off easily at all, and I think that’s very important.”

Shiseido did not release details on the length or dollar amount of the agreement it has entered into with Osaka, but the athlete will begin promoting Anessa and BareMinerals from next spring.

Japanese watch company Citizen also inked a deal with Osaka.
Japanese watch company Citizen also inked a deal with Osaka. Yuri Kageyama/AP/REX/Shutterstock