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Karolina Shiino Relinquishes Miss Japan Crown Amidst Controversy Surrounding Affair

"Miss Japan Grandprix 2024" Model Karolina Shiino, Ukrainian, naturalized Japanese. Winner of the 56th "Miss Japan" Grand Prix. The oldest contest in Japan. Tokyo, Japan - 22 January 2024. Kazuki Oishi/Sipa USA

Miss Japan Karolina Shiino, originally from Ukraine, has voluntarily surrendered her crown following a tabloid report exposing her involvement in an affair with a married man. The 26-year-old, crowned just two weeks ago, faced public scrutiny over her non-Japanese heritage, with mixed opinions on whether she embodied traditional Japanese beauty ideals.

The controversy intensified when a local magazine, Shukan Bunshun, published an exposé detailing Ms. Shiino’s alleged relationship with a married influencer and doctor. The man involved has not made any public statements.

Initially, the pageant organizers defended Ms. Shiino, asserting that she was unaware of the man’s marital status. However, in response to mounting pressure, organizers reversed their stance on Monday, confirming that she had indeed admitted to knowing about the man’s marriage and family. Consequently, she offered her resignation, which the Miss Japan Association accepted.

In a public statement on Monday, Ms. Shiino apologized to her fans and the public, acknowledging her misjudgment and expressing remorse for the distress caused. She explained that her actions were driven by fear and panic in response to the tabloid report.

“I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me,” she conveyed in her statement.

As a result of this turn of events, the Miss Japan title will remain vacant for the remainder of the year, despite having several runner-ups in the competition.

Karolina Shiino made history on January 22 by becoming the first person of European descent to hold the Miss Japan title. Born in Ukraine, she relocated to Japan with her mother at the age of five, adopting her step-father’s Japanese last name. Fluent in Japanese and having acquired citizenship in 2022, she expressed gratitude for being recognized as Japanese during her acceptance speech, despite facing challenges of acceptance in the past.

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