Tennis champion Naomi Osaka is partnering with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s entertainment development and production company SpringHill to enter the entertainment world with her own media company, Hana Kuma. Drawing its name from her Japanese heritage, Hana Kuma, which translates to “flower bear” in Japanese, will look to tell diverse and culturally rich stories worldwide. According to The New York Times, Osaka has ambitious plans to use her new company for “scripted and unscripted television series, documentaries, anime, and branded content.”
While the company plans an unspecified project with Epix, Hana Kuma’s first official project slated for release will be the Ben Proudfoot-directed MINK!. Set to premiere this Thursday (June 23), the short film is a New York Times Op-Doc about Patsy Takemoto Mink, the Hawaii Democrat who became the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Focusing on her game-changing Title IX legislation, MINK! will explore the prohibited gender discrimination in schools that received federal funding.
There’s reason we call ourselves an Empowerment Company. This incredible woman and the stories she is going to bring to life is EXACTLY what we about!!!Incredibly proud to call her my partner. @naomiosaka @makespringhill #MoreThananAthlete https://t.co/mellHFKP9Q
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 21, 2022
In an Instagram post on Tuesday (June 21), Osaka announced her new company, revealed its logo, and explained what inspired the four-time Grand Slam winner to create her own media business.
“I’ve built my career taking a different approach than those around me, and because my journey has been so different, it’s opened my eyes to all the incredible stories out there that aren’t getting told,” expressed Osaka in her lengthy caption. “Stories that are global, about a variety of cultures and points of view, about important social issues. That’s why I’m launching Hana Kuma, a media platform focused on stories that are culturally specific but universal. Stories that are bold and playful like me.”
LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill will serve as “financing, operations and producing partner” for Osaka’s young media company. SpringHill wants to continue its mantra of “More Than An Athlete” as it aims to provide development, production, and empowerment to athletes with global appeal. Along with James and Carter, Hana Kuma has also added Chavonne LeNoir as the Head of Development. LeNoir previously worked at Vice Media, Disney and MGM.
You can watch a teaser for MINK! below.