Locals Blasted Miss Universe Japan for Wearing Her Costume Wrong

Meanwhile in Japan, Locals Blasted Miss Universe Japan’s Costume

Yikes, maybe this was not a good idea!

In case you weren’t aware, the 70th Miss Universe Pageant recently concluded with India taking home the crown. A big congratulations to Harnaaz Sandhu for ending India’s 21-year Miss Universe drought! Indians must be celebrating right now and preparing for a grand homecoming. Meanwhile, Japanese netizens were reportedly triggered by the performance of Miss Universe Japan in the National Costume show. 

Miss Universe Japan costume faux pas

We all know that Japan’s national costume is the world-famous kimono. We’ve seen it in various styles and even depicting different countries all around the world. So we, along with the Japanese, thought we knew what we were expecting when Juri Watanabe would walk out onto the stage in a pageant-like kimono. But alas, locals in Japan were left disappointed, and to some degree, angered with what they saw. 

During the National Costume show, Watanabe walked the pageant runway confident and poised wearing a kimono that represented the Harajuku fashion culture. However, instead of modernising the Japanese kimono in an edgy way, Watanabe’s costume ended up merging so many stereotypes in Japanese culture that typically irk its own people. 

According to soranews, Japanese viewers thought the kimono went a bit overboard in portraying the image of “Cool Japan” with the Sailormoon-esque aesthetic. On the other hand, other locals wondered why “日本” (Japan) had to literally be spelt out on Watanabe’s chest. Nothing was more literal than the Japanese flags stitched on the sleeves of the kimono. 

But what really sparked the outcry of Japanese viewers was how the kimono was worn: right over left, which is how the dead are garbed in Japan. It also means you’d be attending a funeral if you were wearing your kimono that way. Wearing your kimono right over left is generally seen as a bad omen, so you can imagine how frustrating it was for the Japanese to watch their country be represented that way on global television. 

Also read: 15 Don’ts You Should Know While Visiting Japan

Who designed the kimono?

Well, you can be sure it wasn’t a Japanese designer. In fact, it was an Isreali designer named Aviad Arik Herman. According to him, he was chosen to commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Japan. Japan’s national costume for the Miss Universe pageant was inspired by the Eurovision winner and Israeli pop star Netta Barzilai, who wore a modernised kimono when she won Eurovision. 

The concept can sound completely inspirational or completely misled, depending on one’s perspective. You could praise it for being a collaborative effort of two nations, or you could blast it for being a collaboration at the expense of Japan and its being misrepresented in the pageant. 

Looks like Japanese viewers made up their minds though, especially considering that Netta Barzilai’s modernised kimono looked quite different from Watanabe’s. What do you think of the Miss Universe Japan national costume?

Featured image credit: Miss Universe | Official YouTube Channel

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