Miss Japan Resigns Over Affair

Ukrainian-born Karolina Shiino largely blamed for relationship with a married man
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2024 8:05 AM CST
Ukrainian-Born Miss Japan Resigns Over Affair
Contestants including Karolina Shiino, who won the Miss Nippon (Japan) Grand Prix, center, pose for a photo after the contest in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.   (Miss Nippon Association via AP)

The first woman of European descent to be crowned Miss Japan has given up her title following a report that she had an affair with a married man. Shukan Bunshun reported last week on Ukrainian-born model Karolina Shiino's relationship with Takuma Maeda, a married doctor and influencer. The Miss Japan organization initially stood by the 26-year-old Shiino, saying she didn't know Maeda was married and did nothing wrong, per the AP. However, Shiino later admitted that was a lie. "I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me," she wrote Monday on Instagram, where she specifically apologized to Maeda's family, per the BBC. Shiino said she offered to give up her title and resign from her modeling agency, and both offers were accepted.

It's the first time a Miss Japan winner has relinquished their title, per the Japan Times. The Miss Japan organization apologized Tuesday for its role in "causing the ruckus." It said the 2024 title would not be filled by anyone else. The scandal reignited criticism of Shiino, a naturalized citizen whose victory sparked a national conversation about what it means to be Japanese, "but also raised questions about why she was mostly blamed for the affair," per the AP. The Guardian reports she has "fallen foul of the puritanical culture that surrounds beauty pageants—in particular the expectation that contestants lead blameless private lives." On Instagram, Maeda apologized to Shiino and others and said he would devote himself to his work and family. (More Japan stories.)

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