While Ariana Miyamoto should be excited that she was chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant, she now has to defend being mixed race. The beauty queen was accused of not being "Japanese enough" because her father is African American.
The 20-year-old, who was born and raised in Nagasaki and speaks fluent Japanese, used her first TV appearance to explain how she is Japanese despite her appearance. Her defense comes after people took to social media calling her a "hafu," a Japanese term used to refer to someone who is biracial, and saying the country deserved a more "pure-blooded Japanese" girl to represent the country.
Ariana is the first biracial Miss Japan and that is a huge step according to filmmaker Megumi Nishikura . "The selection of Ariana Miyamoto as this year's Miss Universe Japan is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese," the filmmaker and co-director of the film Hafu told NBC News. "The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go."
The newly crowned beauty queen says that Mariah Carey is her inspiration because of her multiracial background. "She went through a lot of difficulties before becoming a popular singing sensation," she told RocketNews24. "She faced some racial hurdles, similar to myself, but she overcame them and became a top star, so she's been a big influence on me."
Despite the controversy, the Miss Universe contestant is focused on winning the main title. "The world competition is going to be tough," she told Rocket News 24. "But I'll believe in myself and continue doing my best."