26-year-old Karolina Shiino from Ternopil, Ukraine, emerged victorious in the Miss Japan 2024 competition, making her the first naturalized citizen to claim such a title.
"If you're not Japanese, it is very difficult to find a good job," said Shiino's mother, Svitlana, who also participates in beauty contests.
Shiino moved to Japan at the age of five when her mother married a Japanese man. Her grandmother also relocated to Japan, In March 2022.
“I feel Japanese. Japan needs to change; there are many foreigners like me. I remember how we ate borshch and dumplings. I gained 10 kg. I still feel that Ukraine is dear to me."
"I think in Japanese,” said Shiino, who has not been to Ukraine for six years.
Nevertheless, she did face some criticism after her victory due to her non-Asian appearance.
“I was very worried whether they would accept me as Japanese and, in general, whether they would take me. I was in shock."
"I didn't think I would win,” Shiino said in an interview with Ukrainian news channel TSN on Jan. 27.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine