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Ariana Miyamoto recently broke barriers in Japan by becoming the first biracial woman to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. Miyamoto, whose mother is Japanese and father is black, should be celebrating this achievement, but she’s defending her crown against naysayers who don’t think she should hold the title because of her “hafu” status.

In Japanese, hafu means half, and people have been speaking out against Miyamoto ever since she won the Miss Japan crown. The 20-year-old model is a Japanese citizen, a native of Sasebo in Nagasaki and speaks perfect Japanese, but because her father is black, it’s just not good enough for some. Miyamoto even expressed her own feelings of uneasiness when she won the crown. But despite some people’s opposition to her wearing the crown, she’s drawn inspiration from Mariah Carey, who is also biracial.

“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.”

On social media, people in Japan have expressed their issues with Miyamoto’s being hafu:


(“It’s foul to have a hafu to compete in Miss Universe Japan.”)


(“Is this Miss Universe Japan?” [laughs])


(“Miss Universe ‘Japan’ I? How can you get half Toka absolutely useless.”)

Although many online share similar sentiments, there are those who are fine with Miyamoto’s being half-Japanese. On one popular Japanese website, some users said that it’s fine that Miyamoto is representing the country, based solely on the fact that she speaks the language and embraces the culture.


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.”