Tokyo — The Ukraine-born victor of the Miss Japan pageant, Karolina Shiino, has made the difficult decision to surrender her crown following reports of an extramarital affair with a married doctor. The controversy surrounding Shiino’s nomination in January was further exacerbated when a weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun, exposed details of her private life – a breach of the stringent moral standards expected of beauty pageant contestants in Japan.
In a country where public figures facing scandals often face severe repercussions, including being shunned by both fans and employers, the revelation of Shiino’s affair sent shockwaves through Japanese society.
The Miss Japan Association announced on Monday that it had accepted Shiino’s request to step down from her title citing “personal reasons,” consequently canceling the Miss Japan competition for the year 2024.
Shiino, who migrated to Japan at the age of five, issued a public apology to all affected parties, including the wife of the man involved in the affair, on the same day her management agency confirmed the allegations.
In her Instagram post, the 26-year-old expressed remorse, stating, “I take the situation seriously and have relinquished the Miss Japan Grand Prix title.”
According to statements from Shiino’s agency, she initially believed the man, Takuma Maeda, to be divorced and only discovered his marital status after the relationship had commenced. Despite this revelation, she chose to continue the relationship.
Maeda, known as the “muscle doctor” on social media, addressed the situation on his Instagram account, expressing regret for the turmoil caused to Shiino and others. He affirmed his commitment to his marriage and vowed to focus on his professional and private life moving forward.
Criticism and support for Shiino flooded social media platforms following the scandal, reflecting the divided opinions within Japanese society. While some questioned her character and eligibility for the title of Miss Japan, others rallied behind her, praising her Japanese spirit and urging compassion amidst personal struggles.
Miss Japan, renowned for celebrating “Japanese-style beauty” encompassing inner beauty, appearance, and actions, faces a period of hiatus following this unexpected turn of events.
The controversy surrounding Karolina Shiino serves as a reminder of the complexities of fame and public perception in Japan’s conservative, male-dominated culture, where the private lives of public figures are often scrutinized and judged with harsh consequences.