‘The Wrong Message’: Zero Percent Japanese Woman Wins Miss Japan


Julianna Frieman Contributor
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A woman born in Ukraine won a “Miss Japan” competition Monday despite having no Japanese in her genes.

Carolina Shiino was crowned “Miss Japan” as the first naturalized Japanese citizen to win the Miss Japan Grand Prix pageant, BBC reported.

Shiino moved to Japan at age five and was raised by non-Japanese parents in Nagoya, the outlet reported. The 26-year-old Ukrainian model’s win sparked debate regarding who is classified as Japanese in the country.

Proponents of Shiino said her crowning was a “sign of the times,” according to the outlet. However, others took to social media to express their disapproval of a European woman winning a Japanese beauty contest.

“This person who was chosen as Miss Japan is not even a mix with Japanese but 100% pure Ukrainian. Understand she is beautiful, but this is ‘Miss Japan’. Where is the Japaneseness?” one user wrote on Twitter.

“If she was half [Japanese], sure no problem. But she’s ethnically 0% Japanese and wasn’t even born in Japan,” another user commented.

“I think that Japanese people naturally (would) get the wrong message when a European-looking person is called the most beautiful Japanese,” a third user wrote.

Shiino reportedly described winning the pageant as “a dream” when she accepted her trophy. She previously wrote on Instagram that she “may not look Japanese,” but said she had “become Japanese” because she grew up in the country, according to BBC. (RELATED: Biological Man Wins ‘Miss Netherlands’ Beauty Pageant Competition)

The organizer of the pageant, Ali Wada, defended Shiino, stating that she was the winner with “full confidence,” the outlet reported.

“She speaks and writes in beautiful and polite Japanese,” Wada said, according to the outlet. “She is more Japanese than we are.”