Miss Universe Japan facing backlash for not being ‘Japanese enough’

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JAPAN — Ariana Miyamoto was crowned this year’s Miss Universe Japan. The 20-year-old is a citizen from Sasebo in Nagasaki, fluent in the language, and advanced in the art of Japanese calligraphy.

So why is Japan bashing the woman who was chosen to represent their country in the Miss Universe Pageant?

They say she’s not “Japanese enough.”

Miyamoto is biracial…Her mother is Japanese, and her father is African American.


She noted to reporters before the pageant, that while she doesn’t “look Japanese” on the outside, on the inside, there are many Japanese things about her.

But as Japan prides itself on being one of the homogeneous places on Earth, they have created their own word for people who do not have parents of Japanese descent.

“In Japan, Miyamoto is known as hafu (or haafu) — a word that refers to multiracial or multiethnic half-Japanese people,” according the Washington Post.

Those feelings were reflected on social media after Miyamoto was selected as Miss Universe Japan. So as the first biracial winner of the contest, Miyamoto has had to politely defend herself against hateful words that are being slung across social media.


“Is it ok to choose a haafu to represent Japan? Sometimes the criteria which they use to select Miss Universe is a bit of a mystery”


“The contradiction that is having a haafu Miss Universe Japan …”


“Even though she’s Miss Universe Japan, her face is foreign no matter how you look at it!”


“Beauty contest. Miss Universe Japan is….wha? What kind of person? She’s ….not…..Japanese…right?”

“[Miyamoto’s selection as Miss Universe Japan] is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese. The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.” Megumi Nishikura, Film Director  of “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan,” told NBC.

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