Ariana Miyamoto, 20, speaks Japanese fluently, was born to a Japanese mother, and reared in Nagasaki but she’s a minority. She’s “hafu,” which means biracial in Japanese. The beauty queen is the first-ever biracial Miss Japan. Her father is African American.
Miyamoto, grew up in Japan in Sasebo, Nagasaki, near an American naval base, but later moved to the United States for high school,
A former model and bartender, she is forced to defend herself against critics who says she isn’t Japanese enough to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. More than 98 percent of the population are Japanese nationals.
Those who do not embrace her diversity have displayed their prejudices on Twitter saying she’s “too gaijin,” meaning literally “outside person,” had “a foreigner look” and that the country deserved a “pure-blooded Japanese” beauty.
During her first television appearance, Miss Japan made a plea to detractors about her ethnically diverse heritage saying while she may not “look Japanese” on the outside, on the inside, there are “many Japanese things about her.”
Miyamoto regards Mariah Carey as an inspiration because “She went through a lot of difficulties before becoming a popular singing sensation. 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.”