miss japanWhat would you call the daughter of an African- American Naval officer and a Japanese woman?

Miss Universe Japan. At only 21 years old, Ariana Miyamoto not only stunned the Japanese in March but rocked the world by

becoming the first half-black woman to win the title Miss Universe Japan.

Born and raised in Japan, Ariana has endured a lot of the things we as black people have been through here in the U.S. and abroad like being called “kurombo”, the Japanese word for n****r. Kids didn’t even want to be near her growing up for fear that her color would rub off on them. She was even mad at her mother for making her different, as it was told. Once she had the chance to live with her father and his family in Jacksonville, Arkansas she finally felt like she belonged, she felt a since of normalcy because they had the same face as hers.

In the states she also dealt with the pressures of racism from both blacks and whites for not being able to speak English well. Being homesick drove her back to Japan where she did not finish high school and worked as a bartender. Even though as Miss Universe Japan, she presents herself as an ethnically mixed Japanese from a multi-cultural background or hafu (half), it was in the states that she came to know and speak of herself as black.

It was the suicide of a close friend that impacted her decision to enter the pageant and eventually win it. He too, was of a mixed Japanese heritage (white- American and Japanese) and felt like he didn’t belong anywhere as she once did. By competing in the pageant, she wanted to prove all Japanese do not have to look the same and by winning she has done just that and more.

She will compete in the 2015 Miss Universe competition. When and if she wins she wants to use the money to launch a modeling career and attend college here in the states. Ariana Miyamoto has proved to us beyond the shadow of a doubt, that black is beautiful wherever it originates from and by having black beauty and knowledge of self is “Black Power”.

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