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Japan's Miss Universe Contestant Blasted Online for Wearing 'Deadly Costume' With 'Imperial Crest'

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitJapan's Juri Watanabe performs as she takes part in the National Costume portion of the Miss Universe pageant, in Eilat, Israel, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021
Japan's Juri Watanabe performs as she takes part in the National Costume portion of the Miss Universe pageant, in Eilat, Israel, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.12.2021
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The costume in question was reportedly designed by Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman, “to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Israel”.
Juri Watanabe, the contestant who represented Japan in this year’s Miss Universe pageant, evoked a backlash online due to the costume she wore on stage during the event’s National Costume Show, SoraNews24 reports.
While the event’s host announced that Watanabe was celebrating “the incredible Japanese Harajuku fashion culture“ with the costume in question, the media outlet argued that Juri’s attire “ended up mashing together stereotypes that are known to rub people in Japan the wrong way”.
Elements of Watanabe’s costume, which reportedly displeased a number of social media users from Japan, included the Japanese flags on the sleeves and the Japanese Imperial Family’s chrysanthemum crest on the belt, the word “Japan” written in kanji on Juri’s chest, and the general “Sailor Moon-esque cosplay aesthetic” that has “played into the stereotypical image of ‘Cool Japan’”.
Also, Watanabe’s kimono was apparently folded over her chest in a manner in which the deceased in Japan are dressed for the burial, with the right side of the costume being wrapped over the left side.
Miss Universe winner Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu poses in a bathing suit during the Miss Universe pageant at the Red Sea resort of Eilat, Israel December 13, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2021
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“Well — this is how a dead person wears a kimono; The chrysanthemum emblem is exclusive for the Emperor; Tattoos are taboo in Japan,” one netizen reportedly complained.

“To use this (chrysanthemum) symbol on a costume with the same pattern as the deadly [sic] costume is unbelievable to me,” argued another, as quoted by the media outlet. “It is a horrible insult.”

The costume in question was the work of Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman “to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Israel”, the media outlet notes.
The Miss Universe 2021 pageant was held in the Israeli resort city of Eilat earlier this month, with Indian model Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu ending up being crowned as the latest Miss Universe to date.
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