Priyanka Yoshikawa, a 22-year-old of Indo-Japanese descent, is the new Miss Japan. Priyanka is a trained kick-boxer and has an elephant trainer's licence. For the second consecutive year, a biracial person has won the title, despite considerable backlash.
The beauty pageant winner has an Indian father and a Japanese mother, and has been facing a lot of racial backlash after her historic win. Twitter erupted with racial slurs. One Twitter user called her 'a dirty face', while another called her a 'mahout'.
The turn of events is similar to last year, when Ariana Miyamoto, who is half-African American and half-Japanese won the title. Another such incident occurred in 2014, when Nina Davuluri faced racial attacks after she became the first contestant of Indian descent to win the Miss America title.
In Japan, only about two percent of the babies born every year are biracial, or 'haafu', the Japanese word for half, reports BBC. "I know a lot of people who are haafu and suffer. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ. Like if they touched me, they would be touching something bad. But I'm thankful, because that made me really strong," Priyanka said.
Priyanka told AFP that her background did not disqualify her from participating in the contest. However, before Ariana won the contest last year, it was unimaginable for girls of mixed race to participate, The Guardian reports. “We are Japanese. Yes, I’m half Indian and people are asking me about my purity — yes, my dad is Indian and I’m proud of it, I’m proud that I have Indian in me. But that does not mean I’m not Japanese,” she said.