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Is Japan a Racially Homogeneous Nation? Japan’s Half-Indian Miss World winner Priyanka Yoshikawa stirs Controversy

Students of Japanese schools who are of mixed ethnicity have been bullied due to their different appearance

Priyanka Yoshikawa, winner of Miss World Japan 2016, poses for a photographer as she chooses a dress which she is going to wear in the Miss World competition, at a designer's atelier in Tokyo, Sept. 7, 2016. Image source: VOA
  • Priyanka Yoshikawa, 22, daughter of a Japanese mother and Indian father has been crowned miss World Japan
  • Priyanka expects Japanese folks in her homeland to accept people from different ethnic backgrounds
  • She challenges Japans self-image as a racially homogenous nation

Tokyo, Sept 08, 2016:  Priyanka Yoshikawa says she hopes that being crowned Miss World Japan will spur greater acceptance in her homeland of people with parents from different ethnic backgrounds, such as herself.

With a Japanese mother and an Indian father, Yoshikawa, 22, offers the latest challenge to Japan’s self-image as a racially homogeneous nation, after she was selected on Monday to represent the country in the Miss World contest.

“I have a responsibility,” said Yoshikawa. “I have to make things happen because I made a difference, being crowned as a mix.”

Those with parents from different ethnic backgrounds are called “hafu” by the Japanese people, and she joins this prominent wave.Judo player Mashu Baker, who won a gold medal at the just-concluded Rio Olympics, and Asuka Cambridge, who anchored the silver medal-winning men’s 4×100 metres relay team is also among them.

Students of Japanese schools who are of mixed ethnicity have been bullied due to their different appearance.

Other “hafu” have won fame in entertainment, but may yet not be regarded as genuine Japanese.

Yoshikawa is the second Japanese of mixed ethnicity to win a beauty contest in as many years.

Last year, Ariana Miyamoto, whose father is African-American, was chosen as Japan’s representative to the Miss Universe contest, a victory that Yoshikawa said had inspired her to enter for Miss World.

Miyamoto’s win sparked a social media backlash, but the response to Yoshikawa has been more nuanced.

“Miss Japan is ‘haafu’. I’m so happy!” wrote one social media commentator. Others said the two mixed-race choices showed Japan was more accepting of ethnic diversity.

Some were puzzled or critical. Miss Japan should “look good in kimono,” said one person in a comment on Yahoo. Another said,

“She’s not bad, but wasn’t there a pure Japanese to represent Japan?”

Such reactions reflect a traditional mindset that is starting to change, said Yoshikawa, whose height of 1.76 m (5 ft 8 inches), exceeds that of the average Japanese woman.

“We’ve been told how Japanese look,” she added. “How our faces are. We have to be pale, or the Asian look. But things change. It’s a small island, but we have a lot of people from other countries and we have a lot more ‘hafus’ in every single year.”

International marriages are increasing in Japan, forming 3.3 percent of the total in 2013, government figures show, four times those in 1980. Mixed-race children accounted for 1.9 percent of 2013 births. (VOA)

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The Story Behind the Rise of Emojis and their Family

Even in barriers to communication such as language, a simple Emoji is powerful enough to dictate the entire message

Emojis originally became part of daily use in Japan. Wikimedia Commons
  • The use of Emoji can be traced back to the language of the term; Japanese
  • In the terminology, ‘e’ means picture while ‘moji’ means written character
  • The word Emoji won the award for ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2015’

July 30, 2017: Emojis are added entertainment to our conversations. Living subtly in our smartphones, the Emojis have come a long way from once where they started.

The first use of Emoji was in Japan. Emoji is a Japanese term where ‘e’ means picture and ‘moji’ means written character when translated into English. The popular characters emerged in smartphones before coming to social platforms.

Also Read: Obsession with the term ‘food Porn’: How it has become an Industry on Social Media!

In the 1990s, there was only a total of 172. People loved and encouraged them right away. However, the technology at the time did not support them. Communication issues persisted even as Emojis became widely popular. Among the different operating software, a consistent emoji was never established.

Emojis were given hope when they were adopted by The Unicode Consortium. The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit company from the Silicon Valley. But, Unicode needs to be convinced that a particular emoji is needed. A certain guarantee of their popularity has to be estimated. Moreover, they should be unique and not specific to few number of people.


As of May 2016, 1624 official Emojis exist on multiple platforms. From Japanese nationalism, Emojis have become global citizens used in different countries. Emojis represent the diversity that exists in the global village.

Various stereotypes have been exhibited through these tiny little friends. There have even been social movements criticizing the absence of equality, after which additional emojis were created. Now all genders and communities are represented in all aspects of life. Professions, sports and other activities are gender expressed and multicultural.

Unicode standards provide the Emojis with a ‘glyph’, or a unique code. The expression is consistent throughout platforms, however, the final presentation of the emoji is entirely in the hands of the platform. For Example, the laughing emoji is different for Apple, Samsung,  Microsoft, Android, Google and more. The basic expression of laughing is expressed in different ways.

Today, Emojis stand universal. Even in barriers to communication such as language, a simple Emoji is powerful enough to dictate the entire message. Emoji won the award for ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2015’ and it was the first time that a picture character won the award.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Has The Chinese Government Done Enough to Assist Victims of ‘Comfort Women’ System?

The Chinese government has not fully addressed the issue due to diplomatic condition with the Japanese government

Comfort women
Women in comfort stations in Shanghai. Wikimedia
  • The ‘comfort women’ system was started by the Japanese before and during World War II
  • Little girls and women were forced into military brothels known as “comfort station”
  • The Chinese government has not done enough in respect to this issue as compared to its South Korean counterpart

New Delhi, July 22, 2017: There exists an empty building on Ganging road with window frames painted red and it is one of the pre-world war II buildings in Shanghai. Sources reveal, it was once a military brothel and accommodates dark memories. It is amongst the comfort stations where a wide sexual slavery system was started by the Japanese for their armed forces during and before the time of world war II.

There were once more than 150 comfort stations in Shanghai alone, but these buildings are disappearing due to rapid development, demolishing historical remains.

Only a handful of these comfort women are still alive and they do not receive any assistance from the government. These women are 90-year-olds, covered with scars and some of them do not even have any family or children. An estimated 200,000 women, many of them mere girls from Asian countries are believed to have been forcefully employed in these Japanese brothels during the time of World War II.

Also read: Chinese political academy holds its first seminar for Catholic clergy in China

The building on Ganging road was scheduled to be renovated but was rescued by the efforts of a historian called Su Whiling who highlighted the building’s history and the Chinese media supported him. He wanted to initiate a movement in order to put the suffering of those comfort women on spotlight but unfortunately, he was prohibited from publishing his research by the authorities when he first studied the matter in the 1990s.


The government of China has not fully addressed this human rights issue in order to preserve good relations with the Japanese. As compared to South Korea, China has certainly not done enough regarding this issue. Su alone raises funds for the 17 known survivors who were dishonored and boycotted and did not receive any kind of aid from the government.

It was in the 1990s that the Japanese government finally accepted that the comfort women system actually existed and thereafter it has apologized and offered these women compensation. Under the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the issue has received some attention according to the experts.

A “comfort station” located in Nanjing, 300 kilometers west of Shanghai was transformed into a museum and was inaugurated in December 2015. Su was even allowed to upgrade display of his records and findings into a museum which opened on his university campus in October. Just outside that building, a statue of two comfort women was unveiled. The statue represents Chinese and Korean comfort women. The documents on comfort women have been made available and there can be seen an international effort to include these findings in the UNESCO International Memory of The World Register.

Su, in his statement, said that the first ever comfort station in the world has not been fully protected and in order to avoid this regrettable situation, we need to work hard.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025

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Bangladesh Killings: Plane carrying bodies of 7 Japanese Nationals arrives in Tokyo

Dead bodies of Japanese national arrives at Haneda Airport. Image Source: AP
  • The aircraft landed at Haneda Airport at around 5:50 am
  • Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda were at the airport to offer flowers and a silent prayer
  • On board were the seven victims, their family members, as well as officials of companies where the deceased worked

On Tuesday, July 5, an aircraft carrying death bodies of 7 Japanese nationals killed in terror attack at a café in Dhaka, arrived in Tokyo.

The aircraft landed at Haneda Airport at around 5.50 a.m., public broadcaster NHK reported.

Aircraft getty images

On board were the seven victims, their family members, as well as officials of companies where the deceased worked.

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Three of those deceased were Makoto Okamura, 32, Yuko Sakai, 42 and Rui Shimodaira, 27, all of them employees of the Tokyo-based consulting firm Almec Corporation.

Other victims were Hideki Hashimoto, 65, Nobuhiro Kurosaki, 48 and Hiroshi Tanaka, 82, who were working for Oriental Consultants Global and Koyo Ogasawara, 56, an employee of Katahira and Engineers International.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda were at the airport to offer flowers and a silent prayer.

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Tamaoki Watanabe, who survived the attack with injuries, also returned. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Fumio Kishidaoffer flowers and silent prayers to victim. Image Source: AP
Fumio Kishidaoffer flowers and silent prayers to victims. Image Source: AP

In terror attack, 20 hostages lost their lives, which include- nine Italians, two Bangladeshis, one American, one Indian and seven Japanese, and two police officers lost their lives in almost 12-hour terror siege on Holey Artisan Bakery. (IANS)



One response to “Bangladesh Killings: Plane carrying bodies of 7 Japanese Nationals arrives in Tokyo”

  1. After the attack, finally the family members would be able to see their bodies of beloved ones. This will be an emotional moment.

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