I offer a simple message to the great Japanese people: Never stop being racist. Your country will no longer be Japan as you know it if you accept even one mixed race person into your world. Your country suits you. Keep your country. Shun and shame any Japanese person who marries outside your race.
Japan will be represented at this year’s Miss World contest by a woman with a Japanese mother and Indian father after Priyanka Yoshikawa became the country’s second mixed-race contestant in a row chosen for a major international pageant.
The qualified elephant trainer who counts kickboxing among her hobbies said she would use her title to promote greater inclusiveness in Japan where, according to government statistics, haafu – those born with one non-Japanese parent – comprised 2% of all children born in 2012.
The 22-year-old Yoshikawa, who was born in Tokyo but also spent some of her childhood in India and the US, praised Ariana Miyamoto, who won Miss Universe Japan in 2015, for giving her the confidence to enter Miss World.
Miyamoto, the child of a Japanese mother and African American father, endured a racist backlash on social media, with some asking why the title had not been awarded to a “pure” Japanese, although many other commenters celebrated her victory.
“Before Ariana, haafu girls couldn’t represent Japan,” Yoshikawa told AFP after winning the title in Tokyo on Monday night. “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 her background did not disqualify her or other mixed race people from representing Japan. “We are Japanese,” she said. “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.”
Miyamoto, who was born and raised in Nagasaki, complained in 2015 that she had been bullied as a child for looking different. “In school people used to throw rubbish at me,” she said in an interview with CNN. “They also used racial slurs.”
Some social media users questioned her right to represent Japan, with one saying that her title was a “contradiction” given her parentage.
The response to Yoshikawa’s victory was more muted, although some Twitter users wondered if a “pure” Japanese contestant would ever win the title. “What’s the point of holding a pageant like this now? Zero national characteristics,” one poster said. Another complained: “It’s like we’re saying a pure Japanese face can’t be a winner.”
The Indian embassy in Tokyo congratulated Yoshikawa on her victory, which entitles her to represent Japan at the Miss World contest in Washington in December.
Yoshikawa said she was confident she could challenge the perception that mixed race children are not quite Japanese enough. “We have problems, we’ve been struggling and it hurts,” she said.
“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.
“As Miss Japan, hopefully I can help change perceptions so that it can be the same here too. The number of people with mixed race is only going to increase, so people have to accept it.”
Japanese children born to international marriages were also in evidence at the Rio Olympics. They included Mashu Baker, who took gold in the men’s under-90kg judo, and Aska Cambridge, who was part of Japan’s silver medal-winning men’s 4x100m relay team.
No matter how much the lady doth protest, she is NOT Japanese.