During the 70th edition of Miss Universe, Juri Watanabe, On the 10th of December, she came out on stage in front of millions of people for the National Costume Show. Whilst Watanabe looked stunning and carried herself with the composure of a true pro, her outfit sparked outrage in Japan, with many labeling it an “insult” to Japanese society.
The host says the outfit is created to highlight “the fantastic Japanese Harajuku fashion scene” at the hour and six-minute mark below. This design inspiration is likely where the troubles began, because instead of displaying the national costume to the world in a contemporary look that was sensitive to the country’s culture, the clothing ended up as a mash-up clichés that are recognized to irritate Japanese people.
JURI WATANABE Didn’t Win, but the Controversy Stole the Show
Those in Japan who have tattoos and are advocates for them were puzzled why “日本”, the kanji for “Japan,” was inscribed covering the model’s breast. Some objected to the country’s flag on the Watanabe’s sleeves and the Imperial Family’s chrysanthemum insignia on her waist. Another point of contention was the manner the kimono was crossed over the model’s breast – right over left, as seen solely on kimono donned by the deceased. Commentors explained this to those not sure why it’s an issue.
“Well, this is how a kimono is worn by the deceased; the chrysanthemum emblem is reserved for the Emperor; and tattoos are forbidden in Japan.”
“Don’t make fun of Japan!! Don’t make fun of Japan’s Imperial House!! Don’t make fun of Kimono!!”
“Because it is a style worn by the deceased, many Japanese people find it unsettling.” “Is she no longer alive?”
“It’s incredible to me that this (chrysanthemum) symbol was used on a costume with the same pattern as the lethal [sic] costume. It’s a heinous affront.”Twitter Thread Translation about Juri Watanabe Competing (See Tweet Below)
“It appears that no Japanese individuals were involved in this at all, despite the fact that it was supposed to represent Japan.”
“I get the impression that the designer admires and respects Japanese culture, but it appears that he doesn’t comprehend it…”
While the government and those engaged in Japan’s participation have not replied to the criticism, it’s probable that they were pleased with the outcome, given Japan finished in the top 16. However, for detractors in Japan, the outcome of a contest means nothing if the country’s culture is soiled in the midst. Photo originally from designer Aviad Arik Herman.