Miss World Japan proud of Indian roots : Priyanka Yoshikawa
A half-Indian woman has been crowned Miss World Japan.
The newly crowned Miss World Japan is hardly a typical Japanese woman. Being half-Indian is only a part of it.
Priyanka Yoshikawa, crowned Monday after outshining more than 6,900 other applicants, has a certificate in elephant training, teaches English to children, enjoys kickboxing and volunteers as a translator at medical meetings.Critics complained then that a "pure" Japanese should have won. The 22-year-old is preparing for the worldwide pageant in Washington, D.C., in November.
She told The Associated Press on Wednesday she has ambitions: Go to Bollywood, while pursuing her goal of building a children's home in India. She told The Associated Press on Wednesday she has ambitions: Go to Bollywood, while pursuing her goal of building a children's home in India.
A national debate was sparked in largely homogeneous Japan last year when Ariana Miyamoto, a half-American of African descent, was chosen Miss Universe Japan, another international beauty contest. Miyamoto faced criticism that she doesn't look Japanese enough, even though she mostly grew up in Japan.
So far, Yoshikawa has faced less criticism. She says her victory is perhaps a sign that Japan is becoming more tolerant of diversity.
"We are Japanese," Ms Yoshikawa told news agency. "Yes, my dad is Indian and I'm proud of it, I'm proud that I have Indian in me. But that doesn't mean I'm not Japanese."
She credited her win to Ms Miyamoto, saying she had helped show "mixed girls the way".
"Before Ariana, haafu girls couldn't represent Japan," said Ms Yoshikawa. "That's what I thought too. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and all mixed girls the way.
A few years ago, a woman of Indian descent, Nina Davuluri, faced Twitter abuse after being crowned Miss America. Some called her an "Arab", some a "terrorist", and some an "Arab terrorist". Indians, in large numbers, came to her defense.
Now, Ms Yoshikawa is being criticised for having an Indian father and some Indians have taken to social media to advise the Japanese to "get over it". One Twitter user said she won because she "must have deserved it" while another said "after Gautam Buddha, Ms Yoshikawa is the only Indian to make it big in Japan".
As one Twitter user said: "Talent cannot be controlled or ruled by caste, colour, gender or country of origin."
The pageant winner, also an avid kick-boxer and qualified elephant trainer, said that she hoped to change perceptions.