Half Indian-Half Japanese Priyanka Yoshikawa’s was crowned Miss Japan on Monday. However, her victory has drawn some mixed reactions in the country, with some people expressing their dissatisfaction on social media, stating that they were disappointed that a ”pure Japanese” did not win.
Before Priyanka it was Ariana Miyamoto, a black woman, who had won the contest last year, and that had garnered many negative reactions. ”Before Ariana, ‘haafu’ girls couldn’t represent Japan”, she told AFP, using the Japanese term for children born to mixed marriages. She added. “I didn’t challenge it until this day. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and showing all mixed girls the way.”
Born in Tokyo to an Indian Father and a Japanese Mother, Priyanka is a trained and certified Elephant Trainer. “We are Japanese,” she said. “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”, she stated, as reported by Japan Times
Ms. Yoshikawa, speaks fluent Japanese and English, and will represent Japan at the Miss World contest in Washington later this year. She is an avid kick-boxer whose roots go back to India to the time when her politician great-grandfather welcomed Mahatma Gandhi for a two-week stay at their home in Kolkata.
She has been in Japan since her birth, and understood that initially not many accepted her for her mixed race, but now no one questions her about it. “As Miss Japan, hopefully I can help change perceptions so that it can be the same here too. The number of people with mixed race is only going to increase, so people have to accept it,” she told AFP.