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Ariana Miyamoto Meet the black Japanese who won Miss Universe

Miss Ariana Miayamoto is a 20 years old black Japanese who won the Miss Universe Japan 2015 pageant.

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Miss Ariana Miayamoto is a 20 years old black Japanese who won the Miss Universe Japan 2015 pageant.

After winning Miss Universe Japan, she began to face criticism for not being 'Japanese enough'.

Ariana Miyamoto has been and is still fighting to change the conception of mixed-race people in Japan.

Ariana, who is the child of a short-lived marriage between an African-American sailor in the United States Navy and a local Japanese woman, Ms. Miyamoto grew up in Japan, where she says other children often shunned her because of her darker skin and tightly curled hair.

Race is based off what heritage you link back to, while ethnicity is the learned cultural behaviors of a certain region.

This means because Miyamoto is half African American and half Japanese, her race is African-American and Japanese, while her ethnicity is Japanese because she was born and raised in Japan.

According to NY Times:

Ms. Miyamoto is one of only a tiny handful of “hafu,” or Japanese of mixed race, to win a major beauty pageant in proudly homogeneous Japan. And she is the first half-black woman ever to do so.

Ms. Miyamoto’s victory wins her the right to represent Japan on the global stage at the international Miss Universe pageant expected in January. She said she hoped that her appearance —and better yet, a victory — would push more Japanese to accept hafu. However, she said, Japan may have a long way to go.

Even after her victory in the national competition, local journalists have had a hard time accepting her as Japanese.

“The reporters always ask me, ‘What part of you is most like a Japanese?’ ” said Ms. Miyamoto, who has the long legs of a foreign supermodel, but shares the same shy self-reserve of many other young Japanese women. “I always answer, ‘But I am a Japanese.’

“I had hoped winning Miss Universe Japan would make them notice that,” she added.

That experience has driven her to use her pageant victory as a soapbox for raising awareness about the difficulties faced by mixed-race citizens in a country that still regards itself as mono-ethnic.

“Even today, I am usually seen not as a Japanese but as a foreigner.

At restaurants, people give me an English menu and praise me for being able to eat with chopsticks,” said Ms. Miyamoto, who spoke in her native Japanese and is an accomplished calligrapher of Japanese-Chinese characters. “I want to challenge the definition of being Japanese.”

Ariana is still facing some of the same criticism and being seen as a foreigner in her own homeland.

Say no to any kind of discrimination in your environment.

Our heart goes out to her and hope she pulls through this.

View photos of her and her family, in gallery.

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