Ukrainian-born beauty Carolina Shiino, stirs debate as first naturalized Miss Japan
Carolina Shiino was born in Tarnopol in 1998. At the age of 5, she immigrated to Japan after her mother, Svitlana, married a Japanese man. Shiino herself claims that growing up in Nagoya from such an early age makes her feel and think like a Japanese.
In 2022, Shiino received a Japanese passport. Later that same year, her grandmother moved to the Far East to join the family following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Shiino is the first ever naturalized Japanese to win the competition.
"I'm glad to be accepted as Japanese", Shiino expressed
In her interview with BBC, competition organizer Ai Wada openly praises the winner. She states that Shiino won the title because she embodies the humility and dedication often seen in Japanese women, demonstrating a strong sense of concern for others:
"The judges chose Miss Shiino as the winner with full conviction. She speaks and writes beautiful, polite Japanese. She is more Japanese than any of us," said Ai Wada
Wave of discussion
Shiino's victory has sparked hot debates on social media about the definition of "being Japanese" and the changing demographics in the Land of the Cherry Blossom.
It's worth noting that Shiino is not the first Miss Japan winner to stir controversy. Ten years ago, Ariana Miyamoto, the multiracial daughter of a Japanese woman and an African American man, won Miss Universe Japan 2015 eliciting a huge public response.