Priyanka Yoshikawa is a half-Indian, half-Japanese 22-year-old
She was crowned Miss World Japan 2016 on September 5
Yoshikawa is also a certified elephant trainer
Many beauty queens boast creative resumes. But it’s rare to come across one that holds a license in elephant training.
Priyanka Yoshikawa, a half-Indian, half-Japanese beauty pageant contestant does, however. She was crowned Miss Japan 2016 Monday, becoming only the second biracial beauty queen in the country’s history.
Born to an Indian father and a Japanese mother in Tokyo, the 22-year-old’s big win came just a year after Ariana Miyamoto, a half-black, half Japanese woman, won the title of Miss Universe Japan 2015. Miyamoto was the first Japanese person of mixed race to win a major beauty pageant in a largely racially homogenous country, and she received a firestorm of negative comments after she was crowned.
But Miyamoto’s victory encouraged others to follow in her footsteps.
“I don’t know Ariana in person, but I’ve been a big fan of her. She has inspired me to win the competition,” Yoshikawa told CNN.
After Yoshikawa’s win on Monday, social media commentators have been mostly supportive.
Some wished her fame, others are proud that she is representing Japan in the Miss World competition in Washington, DC this December.
However, some responded negatively. “Can’t racially pure Japanese apply?’ asked one Twitter user.
Yoshikawa, who has spent stints in the US and India, said that when she moved back to Japan from her travels abroad, sometimes people would ask her about her origins.
“If I was in India, people wouldn’t ask,” she told CNN.
The beauty queen, however, hasn’t let any negative comments or overly inquisitive questions get her down. She told CNN that she felt that both Japan and the world were becoming more diverse.
Tomoko Morikawa, director of the Miss World Japan Office, told CNN that Japanese beauty standards are changing, and that Yoshikawa had been chosen this year based on both her looks and contribution to society.
“We have not received any critical comment on her so far. She is bilingual and international, she is a totally suitable person represent Japan on the world stage,” said Morikawa.
CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout, Junko Ogura contributed to this report.