Ariana Miyamoto has become the first bi-racial woman to be crowned Miss Japan. The question of whether a person of mixed race should be eligible to win the competition has since provoked a heated argument on social media in Japan.
Watch this BBC clip and answer the questions below.
1 Who are Hafus in Japan?
2 What has been the Japanese media's reaction to Ariana's victory?
3 What is the myth on Japanese people?
4 What nationality are Michael's parents?
5 How many mixed raced children are there in Japan?
She looks like an aspiring supermodel, but this young woman is something a little more special. Ariana Miyamoto is the first mixed-race woman ever to win the title of Miss Japan. Ariana is what is known here as (1) a Hafu, not foreign, but not fully Japanese either.
I’ve lived in Japan all my life, but if I’m say I’m Japanese people reply, no you can’t be, they don’t believe it. It sounds strange but for us, mixed kids, we need this word Hafu, it gives us an identity.
While the foreign media is flocking to meet her, the Japanese media has all but (2) ignored Ariana’s victory.
I’m definitely getting more attention from outside Japan. When I walk down the street here no Japanese people recognise me. A lot of foreign tourists stop and say, congratulations.
In fact, the reaction of some Japanese on social media has been downright hostile: Is it okay to select a hafu to represent Japan? tweeted one. It makes me uncomfortable to say she’s representing Japan, another.
This place still looks incredibly homogenous, and Japan still has a very narrow definition of what it means to be Japanese. (3) It’s built on a myth that Japanese are special, unique, even genetically separate from the rest of us. Of course, it’s not true. Japanese are an ethnic hotchpot, part Korean, part Chinese, part south-east Asian, but the myth is still strong, and that makes being different here very hard.
Michael was born in Japan to (4) Japanese mother and German father. Now she lives in Australia.
I feel like I... that Japan belongs to me but I don’t belong to it. It’s hard for me to say I am Japanese because like I said before I feel resistance from other people if I say that, you know, they’ll say, no, you’re half. I feel like I just accepted my place in this society as what I am and who I am, so it only hurts when I try to be Japanese.
But people like Michael and Ariana are part of a growing trend. (5) One in fifty children born in Japan today is biracial, 20,000 thousand babies a year.