Karolina Shiino, the Ukraine-born winner of the Miss Japan beauty pageant, has relinquished her crown after a tabloid report exposed her affair with a married man.

The 26-year-old was crowned Miss Japan just two weeks ago, sparking both admiration and controversy due to her non-traditional background.

While some celebrated Shiino's victory as a symbol of diversity and inclusivity, others criticized her for not embodying traditional Japanese beauty standards.

The situation escalated when a local magazine published an exposé detailing Shiino's alleged involvement in a relationship with a married influencer and doctor. The man implicated in the affair has refrained from making any public statements.

Initially, pageant organizers defended Shiino, asserting that she was unaware of the man's marital status. However, following further revelations, the organizers announced on Monday that Shiino had admitted to being aware of the man's marriage and family.

In light of this admission, Shiino tendered her resignation, expressing remorse for her actions and the distress caused to her supporters and the public.

"I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me," Shiino stated in her apology.

As a result of Shiino's resignation, the title of Miss Japan will remain vacant for the remainder of the year, despite the availability of several runner-ups.

Shiino's crowning as Miss Japan on January 22nd marked a historic moment, as she became the first person of European descent to receive the honor. Born in Ukraine, Shiino relocated to Japan with her mother at the age of five, adopting her step-father's Japanese surname. Fluent in Japanese and a naturalized citizen since 2022, Shiino's acceptance speech upon winning the title expressed gratitude for being recognized as Japanese despite facing previous rejection.

The scandal surrounding Shiino's resignation highlights the complexities of identity and societal expectations, underscoring the ongoing debate over representation and diversity in beauty pageants. Photo by ©Kyodo.