Miss Japan winner gives up crown due to affair scandal
The 2024 Miss Japan winner has returned her title after revelations emerged regarding her involvement in an affair with a married man.
Karolina Shiino, a 26-year-old model originally from Ukraine, captured the 'Miss Japan' crown just a few weeks ago, marking a historic moment as the first naturalized Japanese citizen to clinch the pageant's top honor.
Shiino, who moved to Japan at the age of five following her mother's remarriage to a Japanese man, was raised in Nagoya.
She tearfully addressed the audience in Japanese upon being crowned the winner of the Miss Japan Grand Prix pageant on January 22, expressing the challenges she faced in overcoming racial barriers and earning acceptance as a Japanese individual.
While Shiino's victory was celebrated by many, some viewers expressed discontent on social media, asserting that she lacked Japanese ethnicity or was not born in Japan. In response, pageant organizer Ai Wada defended the decision, asserting the judges' confidence in Shiino's Japanese identity, noting her fluency in the language and cultural assimilation.
However, Shiino's triumph was short-lived.
Recent reports from Japanese newspaper Shukan Bunshun revealed that the Miss Japan winner was romantically involved with a married man, identified as an influencer and doctor.
Initially, pageant organizers refuted the allegations, claiming the man had misrepresented his marital status to Shiino. Yet, earlier this week, the Miss Japan association admitted that Shiino was indeed aware of the man's marital status and apologized for their earlier denial.
In light of these developments, Shiino made the decision to relinquish her title. The Miss Japan association accepted her resignation and announced that the title would remain vacant until the next competition.
In a statement posted on her Instagram page, Shiino expressed deep regret for the turmoil caused by her actions and apologized to her supporters for betraying their trust.
Shiino's relinquishment of the title marks another milestone in her journey, adding to the initial controversy surrounding her as the first person of European descent to win the Miss Japan title. Despite the challenges she faced, Shiino remains grateful for the recognition she received as a Japanese individual.
In her winning speech, she remarked, "I had not been accepted as Japanese many times, but I am filled with gratitude to have been recognized as Japanese today."