You have probably heard about this already but Miss Universe Japan crowned so called “Hafu” Japanese for the 2015 Miss Universe. A lot of Japanese people were surprised because this is the first time for Miss Universe Japan to select this beautiful young woman who looks nothing but Japanese. A 20-year-old Japanese national is actually half African American and half Japanese. Because Japan’s historic isolation and today’s ethnic homogeneity, many Japanese still believe that Miss Japan and Miss Universe Japan should be pure Japanese meaning that Hafu should be excluded from the selection process.
This news made me somewhat emotional. Hafu children often experience bullying in school and face employment discrimination because Japanese society has still a long way to go to in terms of diversity and immigration. But there is an exception. If you are half Japanese and half White, you are more likely to be admired by Japanese media and people. I am not saying that these Hafu children wouldn’t be bullied in school or discriminated because of their mixed heritage. But Japanese people tend to assume “Hafu” children are cute and they are specifically referring to those with white parents.
Many of these Eurasian models work for popular fashion magazines. So Ariyana Miyamoto is essentially challenging the Japanese beauty standard. She has a dark skin tone and isn’t half White. This is definitely a risky move for Miss Universe Japan as other countries may also criticize Japan for not selecting someone who represents the face of Japan. My American friend also said it was not appropriate for Japan to choose someone who does not look “Japanese” to represent the country. But she doesn’t know what she is talking about, so I don’t really care what she thinks or what some people say about the 2015 Miss Universe Japan!
I am so excited to see Ariana Miyamoto getting more attentions and hope more Japanese citizens/residents would really think what it really means to be Japanese. I think she is probably more Japanese than me, for instance. I am Hafu but can totally blend in Japan as if being fully ethnically Japanese. 🙂
What is so inspiring about Ariana Miyamoto is the reason behind her decision to participate in Miss Universe Japan. She didn’t think she was going to be selected because of her race but wanted to do something to challenge commonly-held Japanese prejudices about foreigners. She attended high school in the U.S. after being bullied in Japanese public school. Kids wouldn’t touch her because her color might rub off and she has trash thrown at her in school. Then her multiracial Japanese friend committed suicide after enduring racism in Japan. Because of her friend’s death, she became even more determined to do something to raise awareness about the importance of diversity.
I wish her the best of luck and truly admire her for staying strong despite the criticisms.
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