Not Japanese Enough? Miss Universe Japan looks to fight prejudice

7 Aug

Nichibei.org – At first glance, Ariana Miyamoto might not be instantly recognized as a Japanese woman. But the 21-year-old model and former bartender — who in March became the first mixed-race contestant to be crowned “Miss Universe Japan” — was born and raised in Japan, and Japanese is her native language.

But because of her darker skin she was criticized online for “not being Japanese enough” and there were those who wanted to know why a “pure” Japanese had not been chosen.
Even Miyamoto had her doubts when she was declared the winner out of 44 finalists. “Is it really all right that it’s me?” was her first reaction.

ariana-miyamoto

She admits she worried a lot about what people thought. But when she came to see that there were far more people supporting her than putting her down, she became brighter about the future and the kind of role she could play. “I’d like to participate in movements that fight against racism and stereotypes,” she says.

“My mother is Japanese and my father is African American. Probably that’s why I got so much attention,” Miyamoto says with a laugh. Some of her classmates in Sasebo, Nagasaki, used to bully her, saying things like, “Don’t swim in the same pool ‘cause your skin will rub off on me.” Read the full article here.

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