Naomi Osaka and Meta blend tech and Japanese culture to launch a new AI companion, ‘Tamika’

BY Ben Ebuka Oji October 11, 2023 12:52 AM EDT
New Meta Avatar Outfits From Naomi Osaka. Photo credit: Meta
New Meta Avatar Outfits From Naomi Osaka. Photo credit: Meta

Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka, who has been absent from the professional tennis circuit for over a year since her last appearance in the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September 2022, has announced her plans to make a comeback to the world of professional tennis in 2024.

“I definitely only know this world, the tennis world,” Osaka said. “Just being away from that for a long time, it was new for me. I think it was just the new situation and not being able to train like I wanted to, it made me feel like I would just stay at home. … It felt like a lot of restrictions.

However, ahead of her eagerly anticipated return, the 25-year-old tennis superstar has presented her fans with an exciting development. The four-time major champion, who welcomed a baby girl in July, recently entered into a partnership with the American tech giant Meta, which appears to be a reaffirmation of her deep connection with her Japanese heritage.

Naomi Osaka and Meta have introduced a new AI companion with a Japanese name – ‘Tamika.’ Tamika is a feminine variant of another Japanese name, Tamiko, with colorful meanings such as “a child of great beauty” and “child of the people.”

Born in Japan, Osaka embodies three distinct cultures (Haiti, America, Japan), and she holds a profound attachment to her Japanese roots. Through her collaboration with Meta, she is blending anime, culture, and technology into a unique fusion.

Fans of Naomi Osaka and Meta, along with other social media users, can interact with Tamika on various platforms, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. This AI companion will help users enhance their tech skills while gaining insights into Japanese culture.

The partnership between Naomi and Meta marks yet another milestone in her illustrious career. Naomi Osaka shared the exciting news in a recent Instagram post.

“I’ve partnered with Meta to bring you a new Al named Tamika, your anime-obsessed friend! You’ll be able to chat with Tamika across Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, just follow and DM @sailortamika to get started. Meta Als rolling out to US users in phases. Voice coming later. #sponsored”

The tennis champion, who is gearing up for her return to the court, has been active on various social media platforms lately, sharing posts of her training sessions as she prepares for an impactful comeback in Australia.

As a former Australian Open champion, Naomi Osaka is set to follow in the footsteps of tennis icons like Serena Williams as she returns to the tennis court, now as a mother.

 “It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka told ESPN when discussing her plans for 2024 at the US Open. “I think some people will be happy with that.”

Naomi Osaka expressed her longing for the sport and her eagerness to return to familiar ground.

“I’ve been watching matches and I’m like, ‘I wish I was playing too,” she said. “But I’m in this position now and I’m very grateful. I really love my daughter a lot, but it has really fueled a fire in me. At least I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year,” she said.

In her career, Naomi Osaka has clinched four Grand Slam singles titles, with two each at the US Open and the Australian Open.