Badass elephant trainer and kickboxer -- but half-Indian Miss Japan 2016 draws flak

8 September 2016 / 2 months 4 weeks ago

She's gorgeous, and she's a badass elephant trainer. But newly-crowned Miss Japan 2016 Priyanka Yoshikawa is getting tons of criticisms... because she's only half-Japanese.

The half-Indian girl has been crowned Miss Japan 2016, and would go on to represent Japan in the Miss World beauty pageant later this year, reports India Today.

The 22-year-old was born to an Indian father and Japanese mother, and holds an elephant trainer's licence.

This is the second year in a row that a bi-racial girl from Japan would be representing the country on a world stage. 

Read also: Gorgeous Miss Universe Japan has had trash thrown at her

Last year, Ariana Miyamoto, who is half-black also faced similar criticisms when she was crowned Miss Universe Japan.

Both women sparks comments about not being 'pure Japanese'.

According to Refinery29, they are considered "haafu," the Japanese term for people who are ethnically half Japanese. 

"Before Ariana, 'haafu'--'half' in Japanese--girls couldn't represent Japan", Priyanka told AFP.

"That's what I thought too," she added. "I didn't challenge it until this day. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and showing all mixed girls the way."

"We are Japanese," she said. "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".

"I know a lot of people who are haafu and suffer," said Priyanka, who is also an avid kick-boxer. "We have problems, we've been struggling and it hurts. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ," she added.

"Like if they touched me they would be touching something bad. But I'm thankful because that made me really strong.

"As Miss Japan, hopefully I can help change perceptions so that it can be the same here too. The number of people with mixed race is only going to increase, so people have to accept it."

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