The Miss Japan Grand Prix pageant has been surrounded by controversy after the winner of the 2024 competition, Karolina Shiino, decided to relinquish her title. This decision comes in the wake of a report by Shukan Bunshun, a Japanese magazine, which exposed the model’s affair with a married influencer.
The report, published on Wednesday, revealed that Shiino was in a romantic relationship with a married doctor. This revelation immediately sparked backlash and debate, not only on social media but also within the pageant community.
Initially, the Miss Japan organizers denied the allegations, stating that the doctor had misrepresented himself as single, and Shiino was unaware of his marital status. However, the situation took a turn on Monday when the association admitted that Shiino had indeed known about the doctor’s marriage. The organizers issued a public apology for their initial denial.
Amidst the growing backlash and controversy, Shiino offered to step down from her position as Miss Japan. While the association initially supported her, they eventually accepted her decision to relinquish her title. In a statement, Shiino expressed regret for causing any trouble and for betraying her supporters.
With Shiino stepping down, the 2024 Miss Japan Grand Prix title will remain vacant for the year. This marks the first time in the pageant’s history that the top honor will not be awarded.
The 26-year-old model was born in Ukraine and moved to Japan when she was five years old after her mother remarried a Japanese man. Her victory in the Miss Japan Grand Prix sparked a heated debate on social media, with many questioning the choice of crowning a non-Japanese woman. This led to a larger conversation about Japanese identity and the eligibility criteria for Miss Japan.
Shiino, who holds both Ukrainian and Japanese citizenship, was the first person of European descent to win the Miss Japan Grand Prix title. However, she is also the first winner to have voluntarily given up her crown.
In her previous interviews, Shiino shared her love for Japan and her dream of becoming a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world. Her victory was celebrated as a symbol of diversity and inclusivity in Japan. However, with the scandal surrounding her affair, her image has been tarnished and her impact on the pageant has been called into question.
Shiino’s decision to step down has raised concerns about the selection process for the Miss Japan Grand Prix. Many have criticized the organizers for not thoroughly vetting the contestants and their personal lives before awarding them the crown. This has led to calls for stricter eligibility criteria and a more transparent selection process in future pageants.
The Miss Japan Grand Prix has been held annually since 1951 and is considered one of the most prestigious pageants in the country. It is open to women between the ages of 18 and 26, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.