Tokyo,Sep 06 :A half-Indian-Japanese girl Priyanka Yoshikawa, 22, has been crowned as Miss Japan in the Miss Universe pageant.
Racism in Japan is quite out in the open as is discrimination against women and the beauty pageant has brought these old festering wounds out in the open again with Priyanka as the latest victim.
Priyanka was born and raised in Tokyo to an Indian father and a Japanese mother and she says because of her mixed race, she has been branded a ‘haafu’, meaning not ‘pure’ Japanese. She also faced backlash after many complained that Miss Japan has to be “pure” Japanese rather than “half”.
She appreciated and thanked Ariana, a Japanese-African woman Ariana Miyamoto who was crowned as Miss Japan last year.
“Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and showing all mixed girls the way” she said.
Overcoming the racial discrimination,she said she will not take the criticism negatively and highlighted her links with her country by saying, “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.”
“There was a time as a kid when I was confused about my identity,” she admitted. “But I’ve lived in Japan so long now I feel Japanese.”
“We’ve been struggling and it hurts. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ. Like if they touched me they would be touching something bad.” she added.