Ukrainian-Born Woman Wins Miss Japan Beauty Pageant, Sparks Controversy

A 26-year-old model who was born in Ukraine and moved to Japan at the age of five was recently crowned Miss Japan, sparking a heated debate regarding national identity.

Carolina Shiino speaks and writes impeccable Japanese, she spent most of her life in Japan and identifies as Japanese. But she wasn’t born in Japan and, most importantly, she doesn’t look Japanese, and for many, as the newly-crowned Miss Japan, that’s a big problem. Ukrainian-born Carolina is the first naturalized Japanese citizen to win the national beauty pageant, and while some accepted her win as a “sign of the times,” for others it is a tough pill to swallow. Everyone acknowledges the young woman’s beauty, but the fact that a European woman was voted Miss Japan is simply unacceptable.

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