Karolina Shiino, the Ukraine-born winner of the Miss Japan beauty pageant, has given up her crown following reports of her affair with a married man.
On January 22, Shiino was crowned Miss Japan, becoming the first woman of European descent to receive the title.
Her victory, however, sparked criticism, with many saying that she was “not Japanese enough” to represent Japanese beauty.
Amid the controversy, Shukan Bunshun, a local magazine, revealed that the 26-year-old model was having an affair with a married man.
In its initial response to the report, the pageant organisers defended Shiino after she told her modeling agency that she had ended the relationship when she discovered the man was married.
But on Monday, the organisers of Miss Japan said Shiino confessed to knowing about the man’s marriage and family but continued to see him.
The organisers said she had apologised for being misleading and her title resignation has been accepted.
In a statement via her Instagram page, Shiino apologised to her fans, adding that she had acted out of fear and panic in response to the reports.
“I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me,” she wrote.
The organisers said the Miss Japan title will now remain vacant for the rest of the year.
Shiino was born in Ukraine to Ukrainian parents, who moved to Japan when she was five. She would later take on her stepfather’s Japanese last name.
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In 2022, the Ukraine-born model announced on social media that she had become a naturalised citizen of Japan.