Congratulations to Ariana Miyamoto, the 21 year old, new Miss Universe Japan. Absolutely beautiful, poised and eloquent, she entered the competition knowing there’d be a backlash (her best friend, also of mixed descent, committed suicide).
Racial alienation can feel like such an outdated issue, but in Asia, where conformity can be seen as a virtue, Ariana’s win is groundbreaking. We also have to applaud the competition’s judges who didn’t allow prejudice to blind their selections.
Ariana is Japanese, grew up there, speaks Japanese and is influenced by her Japanese culture. I love that she stands and bows when answering the phone! Brilliant.
Would Japan be more proud if she were to bring back an Olympic gold? Basketball maybe?
Would Singaporeans celebrate a mixed Miss Singapore? I remember watching the first season of Asia’s Next Top Model (season 3’s winner has just been crowned) and my husband and I remarking on how EurAsian most of the participants were…it was quite odd. Every country has it definition of beauty and fashion and retail depends upon this to sell clothes.
I discussed this story with a new Japanese friend, Yoko, who lives here in Singapore and she said it was making more headlines outside of Japan than inside it! Or maybe we’re just talking about it more.
I’ve taught so many cool, open-minded Japanese students, and not only are they incredibly respectful (predictably perhaps) but they’re also really inclusive. Much more so than some other nationalities! But I’m a foreigner and these students (of varying ages) who are fortunate enough to be able to study English in Singapore, are probably not representative of the average Japanese.
Ariana grew up in a port town and I can only imagine how HARD it must have been….
It must give any parent bringing up a child in a foreign land pause for thought.
I’m praying she lands a huge deal with a cosmetics company, walks the runway in Paris and smacks her face on a huge Orchard billboard with Naomi Campbell.
Good luck Ariana!