Home Carolina Shiino faces controversy as Miss Japan 2024

Carolina Shiino faces controversy as Miss Japan 2024

carolina shiino faces controversy as miss japan 2024

Carolina Shiino, a 26-year-old Japanese model with Ukrainian heritage, stirred controversy when she was crowned Miss Japan 2024 on Monday, January 22.

Shiino, hailing from Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, secured victory in the Tokyo contest on Monday, becoming the inaugural naturalized Japanese citizen to clinch the pageant.

Having relocated to Japan at the age of five when her mother remarried a Japanese man, Shiino has asserted her identity as Japanese in both speech and mindset. Her mission is to promote a culture that does not judge individuals based on their appearance.

“I’ve had to face barriers that often prevent me from being accepted as Japanese, so I am filled with gratitude to be recognised at this competition as a Japanese person,” she said. 

Nevertheless, there has been widespread criticism about her triumph on social media. Many questioned the legitimacy of awarding the title of “Miss Japan” to someone who does not have Japanese ancestry.

“This person who was chosen as Miss Japan is not even a mix with Japanese but 100% pure Ukrainian. Understand she is beautiful, but this is ‘Miss Japan’. Where is the Japaneseness?”  netizen posted on X. 

“If she was half [Japanese], sure no problem. But she’s ethnically 0% Japanese and wasn’t even born in Japan,” another comment said. 

Others said her win was sending the “wrong message” to others in the country.

“I think that Japanese people naturally (would) get the wrong message when a European looking person is called the most beautiful Japanese.”

Others questioned whether choosing the Ukrainian-born model was a political decision.

“If she were born Russian, she wouldn’t have won. Not a chance. Obviously the criteria is now a political decision. What a sad day for Japan,” one person alleged.

Ai Wada, the organizer of the Miss Japan Grand Prix pageant, assured the BBC that the judges selected Ms. Shiino as the winner with complete confidence.

“She speaks and writes in beautiful and polite Japanese,” Ms Wada said. 

“She is more Japanese than we are,” she added.

Last year on Instagram, Ms. Shiino revealed that upon acquiring Japanese nationality, she acknowledged that she might not appear Japanese, but emphasized that her mindset had become Japanese due to her upbringing in the country.

And as she accepted her trophy as Miss Japan 2024, she said winning the title was “a dream”.

“Being recognised as a Japanese in this competition fills me with gratitude,” she said. 


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