Just like many other Japanese, I was surprised to see the pictures of Ariana Miyamoto, a 20-year-old who was crowned Miss Japan 2015. Ms. Miyamoto is biracial and at close to six feet tall and dark-skinned, she contradicts the traditional Japanese beauty standards.
This has led to some Japanese to take to social media to criticize her that she shouldn’t represent Japan as she doesn’t look Japanese enough. In my opinion, this is ridiculous as Ms. Miyamoto is gorgeous and has the potential to succeed not only as a model in Japan but as a model in the West as well and she could be the first Japanese model to walk Victoria’s Secret runway.
Ms. Miyamoto has really challenged the definition that many have of what it means to be Japanese.
As a hafu myself, I feel somewhat emotional seeing this hafu model selected to represent Japan for the global Miss Universe pageant. Ms. Miyamoto is the very first hafu to win Miss Japan. Her mother is Japanese and her father is African American.
Many Japanese people believe that Miss Japanese should not be hafu and both parents should be Japanese to represent the country. In this extremely homogeneous society where 98.5% of the population are ethnically Japanese, Ms. Miyamoto has really challenged the definition that many have of what it means to be Japanese.
Japan has a long way to go in acknowledging and accepting the diversity but I feel hopeful that crowning Ariana Miyamoto is a huge step to new Japan. Japan has taken an important step to show a new definition of what it means to be Japanese to the world!
What do you think? Should she represent Japan at the Miss Universe pageant?