Karolina Shiino, 26, won the 56th Miss Japan Contest held in Japan this year. 

However, the Ukrainian-born model's selection as Miss Japan 2024 reignited identity debates in the country.

Karolina Shiino was crowned the winner of the 56th Miss Japan Pageant organized by the Miss Japan Association on January 22. 

After being crowned, Karolina Shiino tearfully said in perfect Japanese (according to the audience), "It feels like a dream. I have struggled with racial barriers, there were many occasions when I felt that I was not fully accepted as Japanese. So I am deeply grateful that through this award I can feel accepted as Japanese." 

Karolina Shiino was crowned the winner of the 56th Miss Japan Pageant organized by the Miss Japan Association on January 22.

The 26-year-old model, who participated in the beauty pageant from the city of Nagoya, was born in Ternopil, Ukraine, to Ukrainian parents. Karolina Shiino came to Japan at the age of five and became a naturalized citizen of this country in 2022.

The controversy has led to comments that Karolina Shiino does not look like a Japanese beauty or that she does not have what it takes to be a Japanese beauty.

27 years of happy marriage on the rocks! 27 years of happy marriage on the rocks!

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This happened 10 years ago when Ariana Miyamoto, the daughter of a Japanese mother and an African-American father, was named Miss Japan in 2015. 

Miyamoto's victory sparked controversy over whether a person of mixed race was eligible to win the pageant.

In the latest pageant, Shiino's lack of Japanese ancestry has been hotly debated and criticized on social media.