Photo: Hot Gossip Italia (flickr)
TOKYO—Recently, a new Miss Universe Japan was crowned. Ariana Miyamoto will represent her country in the 2015 Miss Universe contest. If she’s not chased out of the country first.
Some Japanese feel Miyamoto doesn’t properly exemplify the Pacific Rim nation. “It’s not that she’s not Japanese enough,” said Yoko Hori, head of One True Japan. “It’s just that she’s not racially pure enough.”
Miyamoto has a Japanese mother and a black father. In Japan, she’s referred to as hafu. “Hafu is not a negative word in the Japanese language,” explained Koji Noguchi from Tokyo English School. “It means biracial. The inferiority is merely implied.”
As the first mixed race winner of the pageant, Miyamoto has been closely scrutinized in a largely homogenous population. In 2013, less than two percent of births in the country were biracial. “Miyamoto’s black heritage isn’t troublesome,” said Hori. “Rather, it’s her lack of Japanese heritage that bothers most people.”
Miss Universe Japan was created to give Japan more viable candidates in the Miss Universe contest. “When we present Miss Universe Japan at the international contest, we want people to look at her and immediately think of Japan. Not some other country. Or any other country,” said pageant head Rei Kimura.
Miss Universe Japan judge Itsuo Mita has suggested a re-vote. “I think we all wanted to show that we are liberals who embrace the changing face of our country. But I also think we were relying on the other judges to do the right thing. We won’t make that mistake again.”