The Ukrainian-born winner of the Miss Japan beauty pageant has relinquished her crown after a tabloid report revealed her affair with a married man.
Karolina Shiino, 26, was crowned Miss Japan two weeks ago, but her victory sparked public debate due to her heritage.
While some welcomed the naturalized citizen’s coronation, others said she did not represent traditional Japanese beauty ideals.
Amid the furor, a local magazine published a complaint alleging an affair.
The Shukan Bunshun article reported that Ms. Shiino had entered into a relationship with a married influencer and doctor. The man has not made any public comments.
In their initial response to the report last week, pageant organizers defended Ms Shiino, saying she did not know the man was married.
However, on Monday, organizers said she had confessed to knowing about the man’s marriage and family.
She apologized for being misleading and organizers accepted her resignation from the title, the Miss Japan Association said.
Shiino also apologized to her fans and the general public in a statement on Monday, where she said she had acted out of fear and panic in response to the report.
“I am very sorry for the enormous problems I have caused and for betraying those who supported me,” he said.
The Miss Japan title will now remain vacant for the remainder of the year, although there were several finalists.
The pageant crowned Ms. Shiino on January 22, the first person of European descent to receive this honor. She was born in Ukraine before moving with her mother to Japan when she was five and she adopted her stepfather’s Japanese surname.
She speaks and writes Japanese fluently and became a naturalized citizen in 2022.
Upon receiving the title, she said in her speech: “I have not been accepted as Japanese many times, but I am full of gratitude to have been recognized as Japanese today.”