Ariana Miyamoto is Japan’s first ‘hafu’ (a person of a mixed background) to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. Miyamoto’s mother is Japanese and her father is black. Even though she speaks fluent Japanese and was raised in the country most of her life, there are some who object to her being chosen as Miss Japan. Sentiments have ranged from Miyamoto not looking Japanese, to why a ‘hafu’ is able to represent the country.
ミスユニバース『ジャパン』 だよ？ ハーフとか絶対ダメだろ。
— だいきちakaチーバくん (@DAIKICHiiiiii) March 12, 2015
(“Miss Universe ‘Japan’ I? How can you get half Toka absolutely useless.”)
Although Miyamoto expressed her own hesitancy when it came to winning the crown, she said she looks to Mariah Carey for inspiration.
“She went through a lot of difficulties before becoming a popular singing sensation,” Miyamoto told Rocket News 24. “She faced some racial hurdles, similar to myself, but she overcame them and became a top star, so she’s been a big influence on me.”
Miyamoto doesn’t compete in the Miss Universe competition until next January, but until then, she says, she’s trying to remain focused.
“The world competition is going to be tough,” Miyamoto told Rocket News 24. “But I’ll believe in myself and continue doing my best.”