Miyamoto, whose father is African-American, had to spend her first television experience apologizing to reporters because she does not “look Japanese.” She assured the media that there were “many Japanese things about her.”
Many people across the country are expressing their doubts that a “hafu” (the term for someone who is biracial) could represent Japan, with some on Twitter asking questions like, “Is it okay to select a hafu to represent Japan?” and “Because this is Miss Universe Japan, don’t you think hafu are a no-no?”
Some have said that she does not “look Japanese” and that her face is “too gaijin,” meaning “outside person.” A few are even complaining that Japan is not getting a “pure-blooded Japenese” girl to represent Japan.
Japan is one of the least ethnically diverse countries, with 98 percent of its people Japanese nationals, and there is generally a feeling that people of mixed lineage are not fully Japanese. Not only is Miyamoto’s father an American but he is also an African-American, compounding the problem of “foreign” and mixed-race negativity.
One thing is for sure: Miramoto’s journey as the first mixed race Miss Japan will be a hard one … but hopefully, it will be worth it.