February 28, 2024

(CNN) — The Ukrainian-born magnificence queen who sparked a debate on cultural identification by being named Miss Japan has relinquished her title simply two weeks after being topped.

Karolina Shiino, the primary particular person of predominantly European heritage ever to win the Miss Nippon contest (which takes its title from the nation’s Japanese title), on Monday introduced her choice to step down following an area newspaper’s allegations of an affair with a married man.

In an announcement posted to Instagram, the 26-year-old mannequin apologized to the person’s household and people concerned. She additionally introduced that she was parting methods along with her expertise company, writing: “I’m actually sorry for inflicting loads of hassle for many individuals and betraying those that have supported me.”

Organizers of the occasion in the meantime launched an announcement saying that Shiino had “requested to withdraw from the competition resulting from private causes.” Kaoru Wada, chair of the Miss Nippon Affiliation, added that the 2024 title will stay “vacant.”

Regardless of being a naturalized citizen who speaks fluent Japanese and has lived within the nation since she was 5 years previous, Shiino’s pageant victory proved controversial, with some critics questioning whether or not somebody with out Japanese ethnicity might encapsulate the nation’s magnificence beliefs.

“I wished to be acknowledged as a Japanese particular person,” Shiino advised CNN in Tokyo following her win final month. “I saved being advised that I’m not Japanese, however I’m completely Japanese, so I entered Miss Japan genuinely believing in myself. I used to be actually comfortable to be acknowledged like this.”

The choice to choose a winner with European heritage prompted debate on social media, elevating questions on what it means to be Japanese and the affect of Western magnificence beliefs in Asia.

“If the Miss Nippon contest relies on the idea of magnificence, I personally want that it will be primarily based on requirements of Japanese magnificence,” historian Hiroe Yamashita wrote on X following Shiino’s victory. “However With Karolina Shiino’s look, an (ethnically) Japanese woman has no probability of profitable beneath the trendy values of magnificence.”

Recounting to CNN the difficulties she confronted rising up in Japan — an ethnically homogeneous nation with comparatively low ranges of immigration — Shiino known as for a broader definition of who must be thought of Japanese. “In spite of everything, we reside in an period of variety — the place variety is required,” she stated on the time.

The winner in 2015, Ariana Miyamoto, had additionally raised questions on who must be eligible for the prize. She is blended race, with a Japanese mom and an African-American father. Neither of Shiino’s mother and father are ethnically Japanese.