Osaka’s acknowledgment of her mental health issues was really a request for SPACE.  

Creating SPACE is not something that is part of our daily narratives, with ourselves or with people. 

Some of it would have changed in the last forty years with the curiosity that Feng Shui created among many Westerners, which has remained.  

Outside of that, such awareness is not part of our cultural background in the West.  

In the Japanese context of life, this is present in all their arts and philosophies, be it martial arts, the tea ceremony, ikebana. It is a dominant theme.  

Plus Naomi’s child star is the 6 Metal, which is all about Space and minimalism.

Zen best sums this up, with the Zen garden, where SPACE is what becomes fully present as you look at the Zen rock garden.  

 Those first three years of her life meant that the awareness of the KAMI would be part of her background. The Shinto culture and its acknowledgement of the Kami are there and dominate the society. No major Japanese company ever creates a new building or starts a new business in a foreign country without a ceremony where the Kami is honoured.  

As you start becoming aware of all of these neural pathways that are an inherent aspect of her being, you realize that a lot more was happening for her that day on Saturday, September 8, 2018. 

Some disturbance of the Kami happened that day when she was meeting a core Kami of her life, Serena Williams, on the Tennis Court of the US Open.  This is a Ceremonial moment for Naomi, no question about it. Yes, it was a competition in 2018 but it was a moment beyond this time zone that was occurring for her, which had mythological dimensions. My sense is that she feels a need to tidy that SPACE so that it all becomes sacred once more.  

Then all will be happy in that dimension. 

Readers, that is my take as to what is so for her. That such a narrative is running in her head, I doubt it.  

Her being made conscious of such a narrative is occurring in the background of her depression, I most certainly think that this would be an A-HA! moment for her. 


Ok, so I need to bring some evidence for such a far-out statement. Some may even add how ridiculous all of that is. 

I hear you all loud and clear.  

When we look at it from the straight-line world of sport, you win or lose, you answer questions and say whatever you want to say but there is neither love nor civility that is present. The journalists are there to do their jobs. “I am now required to do mine and answer questions. So I do it.”  

I can armour myself as Venus Williams did yesterday by saying “I know every person who asks me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will. No matter what you say and what you write, you will never hold a candle to me.” 

I am sure many of you would be engaged with Venus’ response about the media and answering questions since Naomi’s exit.  

That is very much the managerial approach that is promoted in managing situations. It is very linear, a beginning and an end, and then on to what’s next. Yippee we say, but is that it for everyone? Can it be that there is something else that is going on for many people that is “sacred & unique” and occurring with their experiences especially during peak encounters in the world? 

Naomi Osaka’s 2018 US Open win against her life inspiration was a sacred one for her. That ceremony of her victory was stained by the conflict and the disruptive force that arose in such a hallowed event. Somehow the Kami manifestation symbolized some upset that is calling on her to address it.  

That SPACE, I have to find some way to make amends for it as it brought me this far with my diligent effort and also supported me in winning it. The toxic circumstance that surrounds it has sucked on my being daily.  

Can this be too far-fetched from Naomi’s inner chatter? I don’t think so. Her Japanese roots carry this reverence for space and the kami, the spirits that are ever-present are very much part of her “unconscious canvas.” 

Serena on meeting her and being in her presence knows and experiences a level of respect and reverence that no other player has given her. She would have felt and known that playing her in the final, especially at the end of the match and the prize-giving moment. Something else happened for Serena at that time which prompted her to write a letter of apology to Naomi some months later. 

Notice how different Naomi is when speaking to the Japanese media. Her persona is very different as she is acknowledging her core root of Japan by being born there and spending the first 3 years of her life there. 

She is talking from her Hara here, her centre. It is a very different posture than when she is talking to the Western media. In that photo that I share with her in her red outfit, she is operating from her Hara. This is instinctive. I doubt that any other female player is anchored in such a space as she is in connecting with her Hara. By the way, this has to do with her GUT, which relates with her 6 Metal Child Star.  

Another level of proof to my statement about Space and Kami is shown in this photo of her honouring the elements by holding her Australian open trophy as she stands by the ocean…the water element. Which tennis player has done that before?  

I had to smile, well actually “LOL” when I read that the World Tennis Administrators were there to help her with her depression. REALLY? 

Which one of their psychologists or mental health coaches can get their heads around the symbolic references & “language” that has filled her life? 

Think of it, she was born in Japan and lived there for her first 3 years. She then moved to New York and was very much in the care of her Haitian grannies, hearing the Creole language, be it the French patois or the Creole English with a Haitian touch. She was marginalized in Japan, also in the US plus in the world of tennis. Naomi’s father then took on the role of creating another pair of “Williams sisters” as he copied how Venus & Serena’s father trained them to be who they are in tennis.  

To add another layer to the story, she is carrying Haitian ancestry interacting with a French “mental health” professional from some academic background. 

I guess you get the big gap that is there for the professional support person to even fathom any of what possible issues are there for her.  

Hence taking a step back is her only choice.  

Thanks for taking a read as we now turn the page in my next episode about how Naomi can transform that SPACE experience.


  1. Great piece.
    Now, how do these extreme cultural differences merge without choas or confusion? She’s an Incredable package of gentle power.

  2. I Enjoyed this article very much I continue to learn about all this as it pertains to how I live my life. .👍🏾


Leave a Comment

Rex Lassalle