Ariana Miyamoto

Recently, I have been curious about the Japanese language and when I found out that Ariana Miyamoto was Japanese, I immediately wanted to know more about her! Ariana Miyamoto was the first multiracial person to win Miss Universe Japan in 2015. Her mother is Japanese and her father is African American. She was inspired to win this pageant due to her friend committing suicide because of all the racism he had endured.  She wanted to take a stand against racism, specifically in Japan.  Miyamoto continually felt unaccepted by the Japanese society. As a child, it was particularly hard.  Her peers would mistreat her because of the color of her skin.  They would not hold hands or even swim in the same pool, because they thought “my color would rub off” according to Ariana.  At age one, her parents got divorced. When she was 13, she moved to America, to live with her dad because she was sick of all the racism she faced in Japan. While living in America, she attended high school in Arkansas, where she experienced a different way of thinking compared to back home in Japan.

Ariana Miyamoto, 24, was born on May 12, 1994 in Japan in a city called Nagasaki.  Miyamoto is just like any other Japanese person.   In fact, she has a 5th degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy!  Ariana said: “I sit on the floor, I take my shoes off when I go into the house, I use chopsticks — I know nothing but a Japanese lifestyle.” Despite all the racial criticism Miyamoto faced, she also had much support from her fans. They would encourage her via social media.  She currently has over 34k followers on Instagram. They would support her by saying:

“Don’t lose to discrimination and with a strong heart do your best to go win the Miss Universe prize,” and “Having a different ethnicity in you doesn’t make you ANY LESS JAPANESE!”

Ariana made it her mission to help change racial discrimination in Japan. “Japan is trying to change itself,” she said. “I’d like to help it change even more.”  She believes that her success in the pageant is progress for a change against racial discrimination.  I chose Ariana Miyamoto because she stood up for what is right even through all the discrimination and racism she faced.  Ariana never gave up!  She wanted to make a positive difference in Japan because Japan had a negative effect in her friend’s life. I found inspiration when writing this article because Ariana is making a difference through what she is good at and enjoys. I would love to do the same!

Madelyn Rempel

Project RACE Kids President