Apparently Black is also beautiful in Japan, despite the nation’s reputation for a lack of diversity.

Ariana Miyamoto, daughter of a Japanese mother and African-American father, recently became the first multiracial contestant to be crowned Miss Universe Japan, according to news reports. The former Miss Nagasaki will represent Japan in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Local media describe the 20-year-old as a “saishoku kenbi,” a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty. She holds a fifth-degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy, according to

But there have been mixed reactions to a “hāfu,” the Japanese word used to refer to half-Japanese individuals, representing the country.

“The selection of Ariana Miyamoto as this year’s Miss Universe Japan is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese,” Megumi Nishikura, filmmaker and co-director of the film “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan,” told NBC News. “The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.”

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has reported that one in 49 babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent, according to “Hafu.”

While the nation remains a center of global tourism and trade, it remains skeptical of diversity and actually prides itself on its homogeneity—more than 98 percent of the population comprise Japanese nationals, according to As such, it has a long and complicated history of racism.