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Half-Indian Priyanka Yoshikawa crowned Miss Japan

A half-Indian girl, Priyanka Yoshikawa, was crowned Miss Japan on Monday

Tokyo, Sep 6 (UITV)- While ethnicity, religion and nationality continue to divide the world, a half-Indian and half-Japanese woman was crowned Miss Japan 2016. Priyanka Yoshikawa, born to an Indian father and a Japanese mother in Tokyo, will represent Japan at the global platform of Miss World beauty pageant.

With this win, Priyanka became the country’s second mixed-race contestant in a row chosen for a major international pageant. Priyanka Yoshikawa’s inspiration was Ariana Miyamoto, who won Miss Universe in 2015 but faced criticism from the purists who disapproved her mixed Japanese status. Miyamoto has Japanese mother and African father.

However, not all welcomed Yoshikawa’s victory. Yoshikawa faced backlash on social media after several users commented saying that the beauty pageant should have been won by “pure” Japanese contestant, instead of a “haffu” – a word used in Japanese to refer someone who is bi-racial.

“We are Japanese. 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,” the 22-year-old was quoted as saying.

She speaks fluent Japanese and English and is an avid kick-boxer and a certified elephant trainer. But it wasn’t easy for her to find acceptance among her peers, who bullied her because of her skin color when she returned to Japan at the age of 10.

Her win was greeted with disappointment on some online sites, with one anonymous poster demanding: “Just pick a proper Japanese.”

Yoshikawa hoped that her victory will put an end to the debate. She was confident that perception of people will change and they will not bring racism into a beauty pageant or any other walk of life.

The Indian embassy in Tokyo congratulated Yoshikawa on her victory, which entitles her to represent Japan at the Miss World contest in Washington in December.