Beauty queen brings light to Japan’s racial issues

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Videos on 2015-04-13 21:58Z by Steven

Beauty queen brings light to Japan’s racial issues

CBS News

Walking through the Shibuya section of Tokyo, Ariana Miyamoto certainly turns heads — and she wants to use that attention to change attitudes.

When Miyamoto was crowned Miss Universe Japan in March, selected by a panel of seven Japanese judges, her surprise on stage was real, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane. She was the first-ever winner to be biracial. Her father is African-American, and her mother is Japanese.

“At first, I didn’t want to compete,” Miyamoto said in Japanese. “But then a close friend who was also biracial committed suicide. That’s when I decided to do something about the suffering he’d endured.”

She said the friend “really hated being half Japanese and not being fully accepted into Japanese society.”

“Japan still has racial issues, and I wanted to do something about it,” she said.

Japan, an island nation that didn’t open to the world until the late 1800s, still lacks real diversity today. Mixed-race children made up less than 2 percent of births in 2013.

At the Tokyo gym where she works out twice a week, it’s hard to imagine this now confident, stunning 20-year-old was once a bullied kid…

Read the article and watch the video here.

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