The 70th Miss Universe pageant was held at the Universe Dome in Eilat, Israel. There were 80 contestants from all over the globe competing for the title.
In Japan, all eyes were focused on that Japanese participant, Juri Watanabe, who took to the stage in front of thousands to perform at the National Costume Show on the 10th of December. Although Watanabe looked stunning and behaved like the experienced expert she’s become, the people of Japan were awed by what she wore, some calling the outfit an “insult” towards Japanese cultural values.
The host states that this outfit was made to celebrate “the incredible Japanese Harajuku fashion scene in this video interview.” This is probably the source of the problem as, rather than showcasing the nation’s costumes to the rest of the world, in an innovative fashion that still reflects Japan’s culture, this costume ended in mingling stereotypes that have been known to put people from Japan off in the wrong manner.
Twitter replies were full of people criticizing how the cat figure and the anime-like dress highlighted the stereotypical view towards “cool Japan.” Not only that, the Kanji for Japan, “日本,” which scribbled across her chest, became another subject for controversy since tattoos are basically a taboo in Japan. This doesn’t stop here at all! Many people also criticized her use of the chrysanthemum crest of the Imperial Family on the belt.
And last but not least, the way she wore a kimono with its right side folded over left, which is the way the dead people wear the kimonos.
日本イスラエル国交樹立70周年を記念し、イスラエル人デザイナーのアビアド・ヘルマン氏がデザイン。— イスラエル大使館 Israel in Japan (@IsraelinJapan) December 2, 2021
📸OR DANON pic.twitter.com/IYuWSvoFJv
The costume was designed by Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman to celebrate the 70 years of official diplomatic relationship between Japan and Israel. Many speculate that the designer had great admiration for Japanese culture but failed to understand and interpret it accordingly.
But since the Japanese Embassy in Israel tweeted her picture along with the designer, people question why the embassy did not highlight these issues.
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