When Tokyo native and half-Indian Priyanka Yoshikawa was recently crowned as Japan's representative in the Miss World contest, Japanese social media was polarized with reactions similar to when half-Japanese Ariana Miyamoto was selected as the Japanese representative of the Miss Universe contest. While many were congratulatory and made note of Japan's recent advancements in racial diversity, others expressed disappointment with not having a "more Japanese" representative.

"I don't want to discriminate against race or appearance, but don't haafu (biracial) get preferential treatment in these beauty contests lately?"

While it's likely that Yoshikawa's diverse background (living in India and the U.S. in addition to Japan) and hobbies, which include kickboxing, volunteering as a medical translator, and even holding an elephant's trainer's license make her an appealing representation on the global stage, the more negative sentiments regarding Yoshikawa's victory bring up an often encountered and unfortunate narrative in Japan that seems to stress that aesthetics and cultural background sometimes trump nationality when determining if someone is "truly Japanese", with most negative comments lamenting that a "pure" Japanese woman was not chosen and that Yoshikawa, who was born in Tokyo to an Indian father and a Japanese mother, is not an accurate representative of popularized ideals of Japanese beauty.

Fortunately YouTuber Japanese Man Yuta. who conducts interviews regarding social issues in Japan, took to the streets to ask a sample of Japanese people for their takes on Yoshikawa's victory, and specifically how they felt about the backlash. While it's not exactly an academic sampling, it's always refreshing to see these views explored in a healthier back and forth than you might see on certain social media outlets.

"It doesn't really make sense to stay a monoethnic country in the first place...old images of Japanese people aren't necessarily applicable anymore."


Source: YouTube

"That isn't a bad thing, but I don't think she's 100% Japanese."


Source: YouTube

"Her appearance is not very Japanese...I'm not sure if she should be chosen as someone who represents Japanese people."


Source: YouTube

"I think people were simply expecting a typically Japanese-looking person."


Source: YouTube

"Some flat-faced Japanese girls are jealous, because even though she is Japanese, she has foreign features and is very beautiful.


Source: YouTube

"I'm Japanese so I will wholeheartedly support someone who represents Japan."


Source: YouTube

By - grape Japan editorial staff.