The Face of Japan: Japanese and Black-American Ariana Miyamoto is Miss Universe Japan 2015

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Miss Universe Japan Ariana Miyamoto
Congratulations to Miss Universe Japan 2015, Ariana Miyamoto (宮本 エリアナ). Born 1994 in Sasebo City, Kyushu, Nagasaki, she will represent Japan at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant.

According to Angelopedia:

Standing tall at a height of 5’8, Ariana after completing her graduation from the local Nagasaki junior high school went to USA to complete her studies. Ariana has an inclination towards cooking and sports, volleyball being her favourite sport. Before entering the glamorous world of modeling, Ariana worked as a bartender, which was a learning experience for her. The scintillating beauty is passionate about bikes and desires to buy a Harley Davidson if she wins a lottery someday.

According to “Kotaku, a Japan and technology-focused online media outlet, reported that Miyamoto expressed uneasiness on whether a half-Japanese contestant could represent Japan at an international beauty pageant.

Miyamato, who also spent portions of her childhood in Nagasaki, said that despite her non-Japanese looks, she has many Japanese personality traits. Miyamoto’s victory drew criticism on Japanese websites, with some questioning whether she could represent Japan as a “hafu,” or half-Japanese. One commenter wrote, “It makes me uncomfortable to say she’s representing Japan.” Other commenters called such criticism “outdated.””

Let’s be clear. She is Japanese. She’s a Japanese citizen. She grew up here. She was born here. She’s Japanese. Yet, out of politeness or even humility, she explained herself to the Japanese press. After this was out of the way, the rest of her interview progressed fairly normally with questions about how she felt when her name was announced or if she’s thinking of entering the Japanese entertainment industry.

Her selection has caused controversy online in Japan. Website Byokan Sunday and Naver Matome have a good round-up of comments that appeared on Twitter. Comments like, “Is it okay to select a hafu to represent Japan?” or “Because this is Miss Universe Japan, don’t you think hafu are a no-no?” When not wondering if this was “okay,” others said things like she didn’t look Japanese, her face was “too gaijin” or that the country deserved a “pure-blooded Japanese” (純日本人 or “junnihon”) beauty instead. Elsewhere online, one commenter wrote, “It makes me uncomfortable to say she’s representing Japan.”

Because the vast, vast majority of Japan is filled with Japanese people from homogeneous backgrounds, you get comments like this from people who have no idea what it is like to be different or not to be part of an overwhelming majority. There’s a lack of empathy, and unfortunately, that can reflect poorly on Japanese society.

Ariana Miyamoto and runner-ups
Rina Inoko from Oita – First Runner-up

Hikaru Tsuchiya from Chiba – Second Runner-up

Ariana Miyamoto

Additionally, via Kotaku:

On GirlsChannel, a popular site that allows readers to vote on comments, many of the highest-rated comments said that they wanted a more “Japanese” contestant to represent Japan—with the explicit implication that half-Japanese people do not reflect the country. However, not everyone thinks that way. This is extremely important to point out. There were comments supporting her selection, with people saying that the only thing that matters is whether or not she’s a citizen and loves this country or whether or not she was born and raised in Japan. Others said criticizing the selection because she wasn’t “Japanese” enough was “pathetic” and outdated thinking
Kotaku, on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft was correct in eloquently stating the following support: “I wish Miyamoto-san the best as she represents her country to the world, even if her country doesn’t always do the best job of representing itself.”

ariana miyamoto
Check out additional pictures of Ms. Ariana Miyamoto.

Check out Ms. Miyamoto’s interview video here:

Here are the tweets on #宮本エリアナ

2 Comments

  1. […] I’m going to let the pictures and video speak for itself. What a gorgeous talented and beautiful and well-spoken lovely woman we got here to represent Japan. All I’m going to say is I would be so proud and happy if she was my daughter. Shout out to the brothas focused in Japan (BlackTokyo/Shux) for the H/T on this. (http://www.blacktokyo.com/2015/03/13/the-face-of-japan-japanese-and-black-american-ariana-miyamoto-i&#8230😉 […]

  2. เจ๋งดี น่าจะเป็นลูกครึ่งคนแรกของประเทศนี้ไหมที่ชนะตำแหน่งนี้ แถมเป็นลูกครึ่งผิวสีด้วย ฉีกกฎของสาวยุ่นขาวๆ คาวาอิไรงี้ อิอิ

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