On Monday, half-Indian, half-Japanese Priyanka Yoshikawa was crowned Miss World Japan.
This is the second year in a row that a mixed-race woman has won the pageant. In 2015, Ariana Miyamoto, who is African-American and Japanese, was crowned Miss Universe Japan.
In fact, Yoshikawa has openly said that Miyamoto was an inspiration for her to participate in the pageant. She said:
“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.”
“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.”
"Hāfu" is what people who are ethnically half-Japanese are called in the Japanese language.
Even the Indian Embassy in Japan congratulated Yoshikawa on her win with a tweet.
Since the debate around being mixed-race in Japan is murky, there were people who were unhappy with the result.
There were also those who were openly supporting her victory and dismissing the mixed-race debate.
Yoshikawa told the AFP that she initially believed that haafu girls couldn’t represent Japan. An earlier version of this post misstated that.