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Ukrainian-born model winning Miss Japan re-ignites identity debate

Ukrainian-born model winning Miss Japan re-ignites identity debate
Фото: BBC 25.01.2024 12:35 1913

"There have been racial barriers, and it has been challenging to be accepted as Japanese", El.kz cites BBC.

That's what a tearful Carolina Shiino said in impeccable Japanese after she was crowned Miss Japan on Monday.

The 26-year-old model, who was born in Ukraine, moved to Japan at the age of five and was raised in Nagoya.

She is the first naturalised Japanese citizen to win the pageant, but her victory has re-ignited a debate on what it means to be Japanese.

While some recognised her victory as a "sign of the times", others have said she does not look like what a "Miss Japan" should.

Her win comes nearly 10 years after Ariana Miyamoto became the first bi-racial woman to be crowned Miss Japan in 2015.

Back then, with a Japanese mother and African American father, Ms Miyamoto's victory raised questions about whether a person of mixed race should be eligible to win the competition.

Now, the fact Ms Shiino has no Japanese parentage has upset some on social media.

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