Miss Universe Japan, Ariana Miyamoto, Faces Harsh Criticism for Her Mixed Heritage

20-year-old beauty queen and model Ariana Miyamoto was born and raised in Nagasaki, Japan, speaks Japanese as her first language, and has a Japanese mother. She also holds a fifth-degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy! There is no doubt that this tall, tan-skinned beauty has more to her than meets the eye…and she definitely does not look like who you would expect to be “Miss Universe Japan.” Her father is African-American and from Arkansas, and the fact that Ariana is a “haafu” or is biracial does not sit well with most Japanese pageant followers who were hoping for a representative of pure Japanese descent. Miyamoto faced backlash when she became the first ever mixed-race pageant winner in Japan upon winning Miss Nagasaki; a preliminary competition to the Miss Universe Japanese crown. She hoped that the criticism would subside if she won Miss Universe Japan in an effort to inspire other mixed-race girls in her country, but the reaction stayed the same.


Miyamoto told CNN’s Will Ripley that she was bullied for being different ever since she was a young girl. “They used racial slurs,” she said. One social media user said, “Even though she’s Miss Universe Japan, her face is foreign no matter how you look at it.” High school students also debated on the fact that the beauty pageant should not accept contestants who are not pure Japanese. However, other comments posted on the online community defended Miyamoto’s coronation and appreciate that Japan is going through a slow but sure change, saying the criticism about Ariana not being a pure Japanese woman was “pathetic” and “outdated thinking.”


Standing at 6 feet tall, Ariana Miyamoto keeps her head and her hopes high. She has the long, lean legs and Barbie-doll body shape identical to the contestants that Miss Universe has favored in the past, so many believe she still has a high chance of winning the prestigious beauty pageant. Still hoping to inspire young women on a global arena, Miyamoto is focusing on the positives as she prepares for the Miss Universe pageant where she will compete against other beautiful women from around the world for the coveted crown.