The Ukrainian-born Miss Japan is relinquishing her title after a magazine revealed her affair

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

Carolina Shino was crowned Miss Japan on January 22, sparking a renewed public debate about what it means to be Japanese in a country that is still valued and homogeneous.

In a message posted on Instagram on Monday, Shino 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 Shino for comment.

‘I’m very sorry’

Weekly Bunshun magazine reported last week that Shino was having an affair with a married doctor. At first, she seemed to confirm the relationship but said she didn’t know he was married.

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

“I’m so sorry for causing this huge problem and for acting like I was betraying everyone who supported me,” she said on Instagram.

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

The organization said it “takes seriously our responsibility for causing this ruckus” and apologized to sponsors, judges and others involved. She said she initially defended Shino, based on her initial explanation that the man she was in a relationship with told her he was divorced and she had broken up with him when she learned otherwise.

The scandal has reignited a wave of criticism of Chino on social media but has also raised questions about why she is being blamed for the affair.

Discipline women more than men in affairs

The man involved, Takuma Maeda, an influencer known as “Muscle Doctor,” admitted on Instagram that he had no intention of divorcing his wife and apologized for causing trouble for Shino and others. He pledged to devote himself wholeheartedly to his work and his private life.

In male-dominated Japanese culture, women are expected to be good mothers and wives, and are subject to public reprimands more often than men for extramarital affairs.

Last year, popular Japanese actress Ryoko Hirusu’s acting agency suspended her indefinitely over her alleged affair with a married celebrity chef.

Shino has lived in Japan since moving 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 said she has a strong sense of Japanese identity like everyone else, despite her Caucasian appearance.

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