Thursday, September 8, 2016
Indo-Japanese woman Priyanka Yoshikawa, who was recently crowned Miss Japan 2016, is now facing the ire of the purist Japanese, for being a haafu or only half-Japanese
While many people supported her and portrayed her as the icon of the racial diversity of Japan, some took it to social media to question her ethnicity of being a haafu, the Japanese word for “half,” used to represent a mixed race person. Many people supporting the haafu argument raised questions whether people from mixed-race backgrounds were given preference over racially pure Japanese in beauty contests. “I don’t mean to discriminate against races or appearances, but are the haafu people given preferential treatment in beauty contests these days?” tweeted a user going by the Twitter handle @cyokuri. Some people went on to say that the contest should have been won by a racially pure Japanese. This is the second year in a row, that a bi-racial person is winning the Miss Japan beauty contest. Last year, Ariana Miyamoto, a 22-year-old half-African was crowned as Miss Japan and she represented the country on the world stage. Born in Tokyo to an Indian father and a Japanese mother, Yoshikawa is a trained kick boxer and holds an elephant trainer’s license. Despite raising questions about her ethnicity, Yoshikawa has decided to fight against the racial prejudice. “Before Ariana, haafu girls couldn’t represent Japan. That’s what I thought too. I didn’t doubt it or challenge it until this day. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and showing all mixed girls the way,” Yoshikawa said. Yoshikawa has gone through many bad experiences in Japan because of her racial background. She was bullied because of her skin color when she returned to Japan after spending about 10 years in the United States and in India. “We have problems, we’ve been struggling and it hurts. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ,” she said about the struggles of bi-racial people in Japan. Multi-racial children make up only 2% of those born annually.