When the Ukraine sends women to Japan, they’re not sending their best
She doesn’t have a single drop of Japanese blood in her veins; her last name is Shiino because her mother remarried a Jap.
The crowning of Ukrainian-born model Karolina Shiino as the winner of the Miss Japan contest this week has triggered a social media debate on what it means to be, and look, Japanese.
The 26-year-old model, who was born in Ukraine and looks Caucasian, has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and is a naturalised citizen. Over the years, Japan has further opened its doors to foreigners as a way to reverse its declining birthrate, one of the lowest in the world.
“I live as a Japanese person, but there have been racial barriers and many instances where I wasn’t accepted,” Shiino said in fluent Japanese during a tearful acceptance on Monday.
“I’m just filled with so much gratitude that I have really been accepted as a Japanese person today,” she said.
Several people took to social media to question whether Shiino is truly the face of Japan. “So, someone who doesn’t have a drop of Japanese blood and has no trace of Japanese-ness is going to represent Japanese women?” said one person on the social media platform X.
Welcome to the new world, nip.
It’s all about citizenship.
We did “nation-states,” now we’re just doing “states.”
At least the last non-Japanese Miss Japan was half Japanese