The recent winner of the Miss Japan contest has sparked controversy for not being ethnically Japanese.
Carolina Shiino is a Ukrainian-born model who moved to Nagoya when she was 5 years old after her mother married a Japanese man. For around 80% of her life, Shiino has lived in Japan and been raised Japanese.
On stage, Shiino expressed her frustration at past experiences where her upbringing has been marginalized due to being white. “There have been racial barriers, and it has been challenging to be accepted as Japanese.”
Opinion appears to be split on Shiino winning the title, some Japanese users feel that her language and upbringing as a patriotic Japanese citizen should mean more than her ethnicity. Meanwhile others accuse her victory as being politically motivated in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Individuals both inside and outside of Japan have been watching with interest as the company grapples with its ageing population due to its low birth rate. Some users see Shiino’s victory as representative of Japan’s growing immigrant population, exacerbated by Japan’s fertility crisis.