Ariana Miyamoto’s victory in the Miss Universe Japan contest has raised debates about race, representation, gender, and identity. While hāfu women are very visible in fashion and mass media in Japan, these women are rarely Blackanese. Recent events, like a blackface performance by Momoiro Clover Z and a call for apartheid, in Japan have reminded us that Japanese society has a long way to go in acknowledging and accepting the diversity of its population. Thus Ms Miyamoto’s victory gives hope that maybe, just maybe, things are changing in Japan. Mitzi Uehara Carter’s blogpost shares some important insights on these issues.
Originally posted on Grits and Sushi:
The newly crowned Miss Universe Japan is Blackanese. No, she’s Japanese. No, she’s Haafu. Multiracial? Mixed? Japanese enough to represent Japan in a silly beauty contest? Ariana Miyamoto is from Nagasaki, Japan and her win has whipped up both excitement and disdain. The issue of representation has emerged yet again for those anxious about the nation’s performance on the global beauty stage. These pageants, the spectacle of “national authentic beauty” are always a site where race and gender intersect in convoluted, messy ways and Miyamoto’s racial difference has sparked a series of interesting questions about how to identify “Japaneseness” through the body of women.
Weather you’re a pageant supporter or not, the social commentary these kinds of wins generate in everyday discourse is telling of how race is framed in mainstream Japanese and transnational media circuits and they should not be easily dismissed. While people outside Japan seem…
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