And there’s been an uproar online about her looks… her “non-Japanese” looks.
Priyanka Yoshikawa feels like she represents modern Japan. She was born in Tokyo to her Japanese mother and Indian father, and grew up living in India, California and Japan. Her hobbies include kickboxing, traveling, reading and art.
In addition to being a licensed art therapist, she works as a model, a translator, volunteers as a medical interpreter, and oh, did we mention she also has an elephant trainer’s license?
▼ Watch out most Interesting Man in the World, you have a rival coming up.
PriyankaYoshikawa (@Miss_priyanka20) August 26, 2016
Priyanka was recently chosen out of a pool of 31 finalists to represent Japan at the 2016 Miss World beauty contest. While that’s certainly another accomplishment to add to her already impressive life resume, what’s polarized the Japanese internet is the fact that Priyanka is a “half,” someone of half-Japanese parentage.
Last year, when half-Japanese Ariana Miyamoto was crowned Japan’s Miss Universe contestant, there was an ugly racist backlash about it. People questioned how someone who wasn’t “pure” Japanese could possibly represent Japan, and some slurred insults such as “She has too much black blood in her to be Japanese.”
This year, as expected, there was criticism about Priyanaka and the judges that chose her as well:
▼ “Why do they only ever pick ‘halfs?'”
disneyworld (@disneycruise200) September 05, 2016
▼ “Does Japan really need to participate in these Miss. World things? Our sense of beauty is different than the West, so it seems like you can’t win unless you’re a half or covered in makeup.”
関根げん (@123vai83) September 08, 2015
▼ “I’m not trying to be racist here, but it seems like recently these contests have given priority to half contestants. I’d like to see what criteria the judges are making their selection on.”
【日本代表（）】「ミスワールド2016」吉川プリアンカさんが日本代表に : もえるあじあ(･∀･) moeruasia.net/archives/48385… 人種や容姿を差別する訳ではないが、最近のミスコンの選考基準はハーフに優遇措置があるのだろうか？ 選考委員の基準と見識を聞きたい。—
チョックリー(sait) (@cyokuri) September 06, 2016
Yes, the fact that one half-Japanese contestant in the past 60 years has been selected for Miss World and one half-Japanese contestant in the past 18 years has been selected for Miss Universe means the judges are obviously biased.
Despite the naysayers, this time around things are a bit more evenly balanced for Priyanka. It seems just as many online are happy about the decision:
▼ “Priyanka Yoshikawa, congratulations on the grand prix win!”
Takahiro Ishikawa (@sgr_mj) September 05, 2016
▼ “She has an elephant trainer’s license? That’s cool.
Good luck at the competition and congratulations!
ヤフーニュース。「象使い」の資格なんてあるのか。おもしろいなあ。世界大会がんばって。おめでとうございます。 「「象使い」の資格持つ日印ハーフの吉川プリアンカさん ミス・ワールド日本代表に」 headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160905-…—
Katsunori Iwasaki (@k_iwap) September 05, 2016
▼ “Even in Miss. America, it’s not uncommon for someone of Mexican, Italian, or whatever descent to win. If Japan’s representative is a ‘half,’ that doesn’t make her any less beautiful.”
ミスアメリカでも、純血のアメリカ人が選ばれなあかんとかないって。笑 メキシコ系イタリア系の人多いし 選ばれてもおかしくない！ 日本はそこの偏見がありすぎ まず移民を受け入れも厳しい 国際基準の美しさを評価する それが、ミス・ワールド。 日本代表がハーフでも 美しいには変わりない👏—
Yuzu Bambou (@Byuzu0301) March 13, 2015
▼ Agreed! How could anyone say bad things about
someone hanging out with their mom like this?
この前ママに会ったんだヾ(＠⌒ー⌒＠)ノかわいかった😘😚 今日はリハだよ〜！日本大会もう明日だ🇯🇵👑❣️30人に出会えてよかった。最高の夏をありがとう。 https://t.co/U4aS3YzvTP—
PriyankaYoshikawa (@Miss_priyanka20) September 04, 2016
There’s only a few months left before the Miss World competition this upcoming winter. Will Priyanka manage to dazzle the judges there as she did in Japan? We can only hope. Be sure to give her a follow on Twitter if you want to keep up with what she’s doing.
Although would it be too much to ask of her to do an elephant training routine on stage? Now that would be a way to earn major points with the internet.