Japan's newest beauty queen is fighting back against critics inside the country arguing that she is a foreigner because the 20-year-old is half African American.
Ariana Miyamoto was born in Nagasaki, Japan, on May 12, 1994, from a Japanese mother and an African-American father.
Miyamoto won the Japan Miss Universe title on March 12, 2015, and her victory instantly stirred controversy on various websites and social media platforms from the Japanese public questioning her eligibility in representing their country.
“Is it okay to select a hafu [bi-racial] to represent Japan?" one Twitter user wrote, according to the Japanese cultural news website Kotaku, while others said she didn't look Japanese and that her face was "too gaijin [foreign]."
In response, Miyamoto said she wasn't surprised because she was a target of discrimination when she was younger. Now, she wants to raise awareness against racial discrimination, according to an interview with Bloomberg.
“If there hadn’t been this kind of criticism, there would be no point in me competing,” she said, adding, “I don’t want to ignore it. I want to change those people's attitudes.”
“Change happens slowly in Japan, but it does happen,” blogger Brian Ashcraft wrote on Kotaku.
Miyamoto will be competing in the 2015 Miss Universe contest.