Photo and text borrowed from Japan Today, 3/16/15.
...For the second year in the row, the Japanese representative for the Miss Universe competition hails from Nagasaki, with last year’s crown holder being Keiko Tsuji. As cool as that is, the real story of the year is that the 2015 representative, Ariana Miyamoto, is half-Japanese.
It’s no surprise that Western features are considered beautiful in Japan. Sometimes, due to their alluring features, “haafu” are not always treated the same, or even as Japanese, as their native peers. Miss Nagasaki faced her fair share of race-related challenges too and although some people are against her acting as a representative for Japan due to her mixed heritage, she is also receiving a lot of support.
The final of the 18th Miss Universe Japan contest was held in Tokyo on March 8. As you’d expect, Miss Nagasaki faced some tough competition of equally beautiful and graceful young ladies, but it’d be a stretch to say that she didn’t stick out. However, it really was only her looks that set her apart, being born and raised in Japan, she is not only a Japanese citizen, but she identifies with Japanese culture and considers herself Japanese.
Twenty-year-old Ariana was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, the location of a major American naval base. After junior high graduation in Sasebo, she spent her high school years studying in the U.S. Upon returning to Japan as a young adult she set her sights on becoming a model.
Working part-time as a bartender, Ariana hesitantly entered the pageant scene, feeling that with her “foreigner look,” she would never make it far. How wrong she was!
But she’s not just a 173-cm bombshell; Ariana is described as a “saishoku kenbi,” “a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty.” Growing up in Japan, she is no stranger to Japanese culture and even has a 5th degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy. She lists her hobbies as cooking and “touring,” having obtained her motorcycle license, a rare thing for a young woman in Japan.