Miss Japan beauty pageant winner, Karolina Shiino returned her crown on Monday, February 5, after she was accused of having an affair with a married man. The 26-year-old had emerged victorious at the contest two weeks prior.
Shiino, born in Ukraine, moved to Japan at the age of five and later adopted her step-father’s last name. She became a naturalized citizen of Japan in 2022. Her accomplishment at the pageant had drawn flak with many claiming that it was unfair for someone to qualify as a winner with no real connection to Japanese beauty standards.
She had been crowned on January 22 as the winner of the 2024 Miss Japan Grand Prix winner; the very first woman of European-descent to have secured the title. In her acceptance speech, Shiino had stated, “I had not been accepted as Japanese many times, but I am filled with gratitude to have been recognized as Japanese today.”
Shūkan Bunshun, a Japanese weekly tabloid exposed the model oh having an affair with a married man, who happens to be an influencer and a doctor. The Miss Japan pageant’s team initially defended Shinno, claiming that she was oblivious to the marital status of the man.
However, on Monday, the pageant organizers stated that the pageant winner was in fact aware of the man’s marriage and had admitted to having been romantically entangled with him.
Miss Japan Issues Apology
The Ukrainian-Japanese model took to her Instagram to issue an apology. In her statement, the 26-year-old apologized to the public saying that “confusion” and “fear” had prevented her from revealing the truth. “I am truly sorry for conveying something that is not true to everyone who believed in me and supported me,” she further said. She also stated her decision to withdraw from the pageant by giving up the title and the crown.
The model also extended her apology to the man’s wife and family.