On Friday, Rui Hachimura’s hometown newspaper sent him a message via his adopted city’s daily. The Kitanippon Shimbun, based in Toyama City, where the Washington Wizards rookie grew, up took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post.
The placement featured an image of the up-and-coming basketball star made up of text in Japanese in English, most including words of encouragement. Across the bottom half of the page, the phrase “Rui, we’re with you!” appeared in bold red letters.
Full page ad from the Rui Hachimura Fan Club in this morning’s Washington Post pic.twitter.com/DfYYgR8fKi
— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) February 21, 2020
In the right-hand corner, the ad was signed by the Rui Hachimura Fan Club, alongside the name of the newspaper. Based in Toyama City, the daily is the only paper owned, operated, and printed in Toyama prefecture, where Hachimura grew up. The Post confirmed to Washingtonian that the Kitanippon Shimbun placed the ad, which, based on our calculations, likely cost around $27,720 if it was paying full price, according to the paper’s media kit. The Japanese newspaper did not immediately respond to Washingtonian‘s request for comment.
Hachimura joined the Wizards last June, and his first season has been the subject of media fervor both in Washington and back home. At just 22, he recently earned praise from LeBron James and has been credited with boosting national interest in basketball in Japan. According to a November story in the Post, the Wizards launched a Japanese-language team site and social-media account, aimed at engaging with Hachimura’s admirers overseas.
As he and the rest of the team focus on playoffs, The Kitanippon Shimbun makes it clear: “All over Japan, we’re rooting for Rui Hachimura!”