Culture

Takashi Murakami x Naomi Osaka Co-Design Cherry Blossom Tennis Racket

The star athlete will debut the collaboration at the U.S. Open.

By
37,815 Hypes

Takashi Murakami x Naomi Osaka Co-Design Cherry Blossom Tennis Racket

The star athlete will debut the collaboration at the U.S. Open.

As Naomi Osaka prepares for the upcoming U.S. Open, the tennis star has joined forces with Takashi Murakami to design a limited-edition Yonex racket and accompanying bag.

The special EZONE silhouette, which the four-time Grand Slam champion will use to play at the games in New York, is adorned with Murakami’s signature cherry blossom motif atop a white base. The racket is rounded out with Naomi’s name printed on the throat in black with kangaroo and bear silhouettes on each side.

“We’ve never made something like this so it was a fun challenge for us to work on it. Naomi and Takashi created a beautiful design,” Yonex’s Toru Hiraga speaks of the partnership. The collaborative racket is not for sale, but a limited quantity will be auctioned with proceeds going towards Play Academy with Naomi Osaka (PANO), an initiative that supports girls playing sports.

Scroll down below to read our conversation with Osaka on her cherry blossom racket created with Takashi Murakami.

What motivated your upcoming Yonex tennis racket collaboration with Takashi Murakami?

Takashi is one of my favorite artists and we started messaging each other on Instagram a couple of years ago. We were both talking about something cool to work on together, so I suggested that we collaborate on my racket for the U.S. Open… and here we are!

How involved were you in the design process? What was working with Takashi like, and how did you end up using cherry blossoms?

It was a blast. Obviously, logistics were a little challenging due to the pandemic so we mostly communicated on LINE and Zoom. It was very much a collaboration, although I have to give Takashi most of the credit, of course. The motif we ended up on is a combination of his flower holding my Naomi Osaka bear logo. We are both super excited about it. He asked me what my favorite flower was and I said, cherry blossoms, so he came back with all these cool ideas and we just went from there.

What about Takashi do you admire the most as an artist? What are your favorite characters or artworks created by him?

Once we started talking, we realized that we had a lot in common. He is kind of like a super progressive Japanese person who has been equally influenced by the east and west. I think that shines through in his work and is also why he is so popular across the globe. I love his smiling flower, which I think is his most iconic work. He gifted me a pillow years ago with the flower and that’s still one of my most prized possessions.

The U.S. Open would be your first major competition following the Olympics. Could you share any personal goals you have for the upcoming games?

I always love being in New York so I really just want to have fun and enjoy the experience.

What are your plans after the U.S. Open?

The tennis season continues for about a month or so and after that, I probably will take a vacation with my friends.

Read Full Article
Interviewer
Yeeun Kim
Share this article

What to Read Next

Naomi Osaka Is Considering Taking a Break From Tennis Indefinitely
Culture

Naomi Osaka Is Considering Taking a Break From Tennis Indefinitely

Winning no longer brings her joy.
458 Hypes

Naomi Osaka Pens Essay on Mental Health for 'TIME'
Culture

Naomi Osaka Pens Essay on Mental Health for 'TIME'

“It’s O.K. to not be O.K.,” the tennis champion writes.
890 Hypes

Naomi Osaka Unveils Her Very Own NFTs
Tech

Naomi Osaka Unveils Her Very Own NFTs

Via an experience-driven NFT platform called Autograph.
29,603 Hypes


Naomi Osaka Debuts Her Second Nike Apparel Collection
Fashion

Naomi Osaka Debuts Her Second Nike Apparel Collection

Demonstrating the versatility of the tennis star’s personal style.
3,324 Hypes

Take Individuality to New Heights With Versace’s Striking SS21 Eyewear Collection
Fashion 

Take Individuality to New Heights With Versace’s Striking SS21 Eyewear Collection

Introducing glamorous shades to celebrate summer in style.
2,118 Hypes

Spot Nike's Dunk Low "Seoul" on the Streets of South Korea
Footwear

Spot Nike's Dunk Low "Seoul" on the Streets of South Korea

We ask people in the Korean capital about their thoughts on the special release.
5,341 Hypes

Loewe's Chunky Wedge Loafer Boot Has Us Longing for Cozy Days
Footwear

Loewe's Chunky Wedge Loafer Boot Has Us Longing for Cozy Days

Take a closer look at the footwear style revealed in the fashion house’s FW21 collection.
3,006 Hypes

Samsung's Galaxy Watch4 Can Tell if You’re Snoring or Not
Tech

Samsung's Galaxy Watch4 Can Tell if You’re Snoring or Not

Check out all of the health features on the newly announced smartwatch.
5,039 Hypes

Rains Showcases "Come Rain, Come Shine" SS22 Collection at CPHFW
Fashion

Rains Showcases "Come Rain, Come Shine" SS22 Collection at CPHFW

A rainy runway dominated by tonal looks.
2,922 Hypes

We're Already Excited for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Thanks to These Stunning Venues
Culture

We're Already Excited for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Thanks to These Stunning Venues

The Games will spotlight some of the most iconic landmarks of the French capital.
2,461 Hypes

Kim Kardashian's SKIMS Adds New Styles to "Fits Everybody" Range
Fashion

Kim Kardashian's SKIMS Adds New Styles to "Fits Everybody" Range

Dressed in three photo-ready hues.
8,994 Hypes

Urban Sophistication Forays Into Jewelry With Y2K Resin Rings
Fashion

Urban Sophistication Forays Into Jewelry With Y2K Resin Rings

Seven nostalgic styles inspired by Band-Aids.
4,166 Hypes

With Jéan Debuts '90s Vintage-Inspired "Sensation" Collection
Fashion

With Jéan Debuts '90s Vintage-Inspired "Sensation" Collection

Flattering corsets, dresses, skirts and more.
2,009 Hypes

Peep the Pink Furry Swoosh on the Air Jordan 1 Low "Mighty Swooshers"
Footwear

Peep the Pink Furry Swoosh on the Air Jordan 1 Low "Mighty Swooshers"

Inspired by female anime characters.
14,597 Hypes

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep updated on the latest news.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Adblock Detected

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. If you enjoy our content, please add us to your adblocker's whitelist. We'd really appreciated it.