Friday, April 27, 2018
News Roundup

Newly crowned Miss Japan proud of Indian roots

TOKYO — The newly crowned Miss World Japan is hardly a typical Japanese woman. Being half-Indian is only part of it.

Priyanka Yoshikawa, crowned Monday after outshining more than 6,900 other applicants, has a certificate in elephant training, teaches English to children, enjoys kickboxing and volunteers as a translator at medical meetings.

The 22-year-old is preparing for the worldwide pageant in Washington, D.C., in November.

Being fitted for a couture gown for the event is part of the program, but fashion plays a small role in Yoshikawa's life.

And she doesn't want to fit into any stereotype.

She told the Associated Press on Wednesday that being in a beauty contest is a way to achieve her ambitions: Go to Bollywood, while pursuing her goal of building a children's home in India.

A national debate was sparked in largely homogeneous Japan last year when Ariana Miyamoto, a half-American of African descent, was chosen Miss Universe Japan, another international beauty contest. Miyamoto faced criticism that she doesn't look Japanese enough, even though she mostly grew up in Japan and speaks the language perfectly.

So far, Yoshikawa has faced less criticism. She says her victory is perhaps a sign that Japan is becoming more tolerant of diversity.

"I think (being mixed race) is getting more acceptable," she said, citing her victory as the second in a row. It's a matter of "who can represent your country (best) and I think that's the answer," she said after a fitting at a Tokyo dressmaker's office and discussing the design of her gown for the November event.

She did think about her identity at length, but being called "hafu," or half, a term in Japanese for people of mixed-race, doesn't bother her, though it sometimes has negative connotations. Her roots have expanded her cultural experiences and perspective, she said.

While traveling in Asia, she is often mistaken as a local, while in Japan she is constantly scrutinized, Yoshikawa said. Japanese people seem to have stereotypes of how Japanese, Asians, or Americans should look. "I just let it go. . . . You can be anything now. We are all the same human beings."

Japanese with foreign roots or cultural backgrounds have faced discrimination, though less so as global exchanges prompt more international marriages. Mixed-race Japanese Olympians earned medals for Japan at the Rio Games.

Yoshikawa, who has an Indian father and a Japanese mother, grew up mostly in Japan but spent one year in India and three years in America. She says that living overseas gave her a broader perspective but that she still calls Japan home.

What struck her the most was a year in Kolkata. As a 9-year-old girl, she saw her peers living in poverty, up close.

"That totally changed my life. If I didn't live in India, or India was not inside me or part of me, I don't think I would have been here talking as Miss World Japan," she said. "Living in India has changed everything, how I see the world, how I want to live, my vision."

After returning to Japan with her family, cleanliness and safety here struck her again. She says the stark difference inspired her to work for a change — to improve the lives of children in India.

To help send her message out, Yoshikawa hopes the elephant training license on her resume will catch attention because, she says, there will be more mixed-race people in Japan and that will no longer be a way to stand out.

The license, which she obtained in Laos, is not just a decoration. She loves elephants, in part because of her Indian roots, and can ride an elephant with a passenger on the back and can bathe them. "That's me, I can do that."

Beyond Miss World, she wants to achieve her ambitions in India — in Bollywood's film industry and Kolkata.

"I would like to go into that industry. I need to learn dancing and Hindi but yes, of course I love to try anything," she said.

Comments
Carlton: Lessons from the NRA

Carlton: Lessons from the NRA

You would think these would be tough times for the National Rifle Association. You would think so even here in Florida, where the NRA practically dictates gun legislation, where it easily fends off gun limits and swiftly bullies lawmakers who dare s...
Updated: 0 minutes ago
Would you draft ex-Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway?

Would you draft ex-Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway?

Former Florida Gators receiver Antonio Callaway should have heard his name called last night during the NFL draft's first round.He didn't.He might hear his name called tonight, during the second or third round.He probably won't.Which means one of the...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Softball: Plant City perfect in district finals with Ashley Bullion on mound

Softball: Plant City perfect in district finals with Ashley Bullion on mound

PLANT CITY — Plant City softball coach Ashley Bullion is 4-for-4 after Thursday night.Four years at the helm, four district titles.The latest championship came in a 4-1 victory over East Bay in the Class 8A, District 6 final, a victory highligh...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Recent momentum carries Mitchell past Sunlake

LAND O' LAKES — Despite being on the wrong end of two lopsided outcomes to Sunlake during the regular season, recent events gave Mitchell hope in its Class 7A-10 district final rematch with the Seahawks.Just two days prior, the Mustangs be...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Daystarter: We recap the first night of the NFL draft; has Florida’s bet on cybersecurity worked?; NRA fundraising strong as ever

The Daystarter: We recap the first night of the NFL draft; has Florida’s bet on cybersecurity worked?; NRA fundraising strong as ever

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Expect some clouds this morning as a weak front moves in, though rain chances stay low, according to 10Weather WTSP. The afternoon high will be in the upper 70s. The weekend brings th...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Robinson makes it 10 straight wins vs. Jefferson

TAMPA — For the Robinson softball team, the perfect 10 was complete.The top-seeded Knights defeated No. 2 Jefferson for the 10th consecutive time Thursday and claimed their fifth district championship in a row, a 12-2 five-inning victory in the...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: It’s April, so Chamberlain is winning

TAMPA — Coach Bob Diez and his Chamberlain Chiefs have always believed in this motto: "Be good in April."This is their season.The Chiefs added another Class 7A-8 district title Thursday against Gaither with a 7-0 victory.With the win, the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: East Lake is aggressive from the start

TARPON SPRINGS — If strong pitching and defense are the bellwethers of a deep playoff run, consider East Lake ready.Playing second seed Pinellas Park on Thursday night for the Class 8A-7 title, the host Eagles (22-3) used that philosophy to mak...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida wants to build a cybersecurity sector. The question is how?

Florida wants to build a cybersecurity sector. The question is how?

TAMPA — In 2014, the Florida Center for Cybersecurity was established by the Legislature with several purposes in mind:Lawmakers tasked "FC2" with bringing high-paying jobs to Florida, attracting companies in industries such as defense, health care, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Educators see red in Arizona, Colorado; funerals set for some Waffle House victims; Ford ditches U.S. cars; more in U.S. news

Educators see red in Arizona, Colorado; funerals set for some Waffle House victims; Ford ditches U.S. cars; more in U.S. news

ArizonaEducators, students see redA sea of teachers clad in red shirts and holding "Money for Schools" signs reached the Arizona Capitol to press lawmakers for action Thursday, a key event in an unprecedented walkout that closed most of the state’s p...
Updated: 10 hours ago