New Delhi: Priyanka Yoshikawa, who was crowned Miss Japan on Monday, has been criticized for her racial identity as she is a half-Indian. Yoshikawa will be representing the country in the Miss World beauty pageant later this year.
Priyanka’s victory comes a year after Ariana Miyamoto, another bi-racial contestant represented the country for the Miss World beauty pageant. Ariana had faced an ugly backlash for becoming the first woman to represent Japan with a bi-racial identity.
While talking to the media, Yoshikawa said,” “Before Ariana, haafu girls couldn’t represent Japan.” The term ‘haafu’means ‘half’ which is used in Japanese to refer to somebody who is biracial, i.e., ethnically half Japanese. She even added, “That’s what I thought too. I didn’t doubt it or challenge it until this day. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and showing all mixed girls the way.”
On the Girls Channel website, for example, anonymous posters were expressing their disappointment at Miyamoto’s victory.
“The idea is to have a Japanese representing Japan,” wrote one poster.
“I think it’s bad that a ‘haafu’ has become the Japanese representative,”added one commentator, while another posted: “Idon’t understand these selection criteria.”
Miss Japan, Priyanka, who was born to an Indian father and Japanese mother in the city of Tokyo, is determined to continue the fight against racial discrimination in Japan. She said, “We are Japanese. Yes, I’m half Indian and people are asking me about my ‘purity’ – yes, my dad is Indian and I’m proud of it, I’m proud that I have Indian in me. But that does not mean I’m not Japanese.”