Carolina China A CNNShe applied to participate in the Miss Japan contest because she wanted to be recognized as Japanese.
As he said, he has lived in the country since he was five years old, where he moved with his Ukrainian mother and Japanese adoptive father. The naturalized citizen speaks native Japanese after living with her family in Nagoya for more than 20 years.
Shino said it was difficult for her to be accepted as a local citizen because of her appearance, so she hopes her win will change people's opinions about who is considered Japanese.
After all, we live in an age of diversity, and we need diversity. There are a lot of people like me who worry about the gap between their appearance and their identity. I've always been told that I'm not Japanese, but I am completely Japanese. That's why I entered the beauty pageant with sincere belief in myself. I'm very happy that the audience recognized me in this way
– said China.
The young woman's victory received a mixed reception among local residents. Many people have supported him, saying that he is more patriotic in some ways than some genetically Japanese people.
However, others wondered how someone who was not of Japanese descent could represent the country's ideal of beauty.
The last time Japanese society was divided by a similar question was ten years ago, when Ariana Miyamoto, who is half Japanese and half African American, represented the country in the Miss Universe competition in 2015.
(Cover photo: Karolina Shino (K), winner of the Miss Japan 2024 pageant, with other winners in Tokyo on January 22, 2024. Photo: Miss Japan Association/Bulletin/Reuters)