Ukrainian-born Miss Japan relinquishes title after magazine reveals affair

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The Ukrainian-born winner of this year’s Miss Japan beauty pageant and contest organizers said she gave up her title after a magazine published an article about her affair with a married man.

Karolina Shiino was crowned Miss Japan on January 22, sparking a new public debate about what it means to be Japanese in a country where homogeneity and conformity are still valued.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Shiino said that after the article was published, she offered to give up her crown and resign from her modeling agency. She said her offers were accepted.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Shiino for comment.

‘I am really sorry’

Weekly Bunshun magazine reported last week that Shiino was in a relationship with a married doctor. Initially, she seemed to confirm the relationship but said she didn’t know he was married.

She later said that his previous explanation “wasn’t true” and that she was aware of his married status and that he had a family. She apologized and said she was in a state of shock and fear because of the report and panicked, which was why she was unable to tell the truth.

“I’m so sorry for causing huge problems and acting like I betrayed everyone who supported me,” she said on Instagram.

Shiino also apologized to the man’s partner and his family, as well as other parties involved.

The organization said it “takes seriously our responsibility for this ruckus” and apologized to sponsors, judges and others involved. He said he defended Shiino at first, based on her initial explanation that the man she was involved with told her he was divorced and that she broke up with him when she learned otherwise.

The scandal reignited a wave of criticism against Shiino on social media, but also raised questions about why she was primarily held responsible for the affair.

Women are reprimanded more than men for their affairs

The man involved, Takuma Maeda, an influencer known as the “muscle doctor,” admitted on Instagram that he had no plans to divorce his wife and apologized for causing trouble to Shiino and the others. He is committed to devoting himself sincerely to his work and his private life.

In male-dominated Japanese culture, women are expected to be good mothers and wives and are publicly chastised more than men for extramarital affairs.

Last year, famous Japanese actress Ryoko Hirosue’s acting agency suspended her indefinitely from her employment contract over her alleged affair with a married celebrity chef.

Shiino has lived in Japan since he moved to the country at the age of five. Fluent in Japanese, she became a naturalized citizen in 2022. She has worked as a model and claims to have as strong a sense of Japanese identity as anyone, despite her Caucasian appearance.

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