Half-Indian girl wins Miss Japan 2016; faces Japanese purists' ire

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Old 07-Sep-2016
Miss Alone
Half-Indian girl wins Miss Japan 2016; faces Japanese purists' ire

A half-Indian girl has been crowned Miss Japan 2016, and would go on to represent Japan in the Miss World beauty pageant later this year. Now, this may be considered good news for some, but for Japan's purists, it's a thing of loathe.

The 22-year-old was born to an Indian father and Japanese mother, and holds an elephant trainer's licence.
This is the second year in a row that a bi-racial girl from Japan would be representing the country on a world stage. Last year, Ariana Miyamoto became the first black girl to represent Japan, opening a wide door of possibilities for bi-racial girls in Japan.
Priyanka's victory this year, however, has sparked complaints about a "pure Japanese" not winning the beauty pageant.
"Before Ariana, 'haafu'--'half' in Japanese--girls couldn't represent Japan", Priyanka told AFP. "That's what I thought too," she added. "I didn't 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".

"I know a lot of people who are haafu and suffer," said Priyanka, who is also an avid kick-boxer. "We have problems, we've been struggling and it hurts. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ," she added.
"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," she told AFP.

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