Proud of Indian roots, says Miss Japan

Published on Sep 08 2016 - - Entertainment, Featured, Special, Women, World - -

1473271272552373000TOKYO: The newly crowned Miss World Japan is hardly a typical Japanese woman. Being half-Indian is only a part of that.

Priyanka Yoshikawa, who was crowned Monday, has a certificate in elephant training, teaches English to children, enjoys kickboxing and volunteers as a translator at medical meetings.

The 22-year-old is preparing for the worldwide pageant in Washington, D.C., in November.

Being fitted for a couture gown is part of the program, but fashion plays a small role in Yoshikawa’s life.
She told The Associated Press on Wednesday she has ambitions: Go to Bollywood, while pursuing her goal of building children’s homes in India.

Yoshikawa, born in Tokyo to an Indian father and a Japanese mother, vowed to continue the fight against racial prejudice in homogenous Japan, where multiracial children make up just two percent of those born annually.
“I think it means we have to let it in,” said the 22-year-old earlier this week.

“We are Japanese. Yes, I’m half Indian and people are asking me about my ‘purity’ — yes, my dad is Indian and I’m proud of it, I’m proud that I have Indian in me. But that does not mean I’m not Japanese.”

Yoshikawa was bullied because of her skin color after returning to Japan aged 10 following three years in Sacramento and a further year in India.

“I know a lot of people who are haafu and suffer,” said Yoshikawa, an avid kick-boxer whose politician great-grandfather once welcomed independence campaigner Mahatma Gandhi for a two-week stay at their home in Kolkata.
“We have problems, we’ve been struggling and it hurts. When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ,” she added.


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