Priyanka Yoshikawa: From beauty queen to entrepreneur in the wellness world

13 Jun 2020 | Angelique Reyes

Priyanka Yoshikawa is a Japanese interpreter and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss World Japan 2016 and represented Japan at Miss World 2016 on 18th December 2016 at the MGM National Harbor, Washington, D.C., United States. She is the second hafu (multiracial) woman to be Miss Japan after Ariana Miyamoto, who won the Miss Universe Japan title in 2015. She was placed at Top 20 at the end of the Miss World 2016 pageant.

Born in Tokoyo to a Japanese mother and a Bengali Indian father, Priyanka was always raised as multicultural woman. Her great-grandfather Prafulla Chandra Ghosh was the first Chief Minister of West Bengal. From ages 6 to 9, she lived in Sacramento, California. She also lived in Kolkata for one year before returning to Japan. She speaks fluent English, Bengali and Japanese. Before becoming Miss World Japan 2016, she worked as a translator and art therapist and has a license to train elephants.



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When she was crowned Miss World Japan 2016, the people didn’t react very appreciative towards it and criticised her for not being authentic Japanese. To which, Priyanaka responded, “We are Japanese. Yes, my dad is Indian and I'm proud of it, I'm proud that I have Indian in me. But that doesn't mean I'm not Japanese. Before Ariana, hafu girls couldn't represent Japan. That's what I thought too. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and all mixed girls the way.”

Yoshikawa, like Miyamoto, was bullied because of her skin colour after returning to Japan aged 10 following three years in Sacramento and a further year in India. She remembers that when she was in fifth grade, she was the only half in her school and felt as if she wasn’t normal. “My classmates would make comments about my body hair, and if they touched me, they’d try and wipe off the ‘germs’ that they thought they would catch from me,” she stated. She struggled with her identity as biracial person for years before she decided to embrace her Indian origins. In one of her interviews, Priyanka stated that after moving to California and studying there, she was exposed to the formative experience as she crossed and met peers who looked like her.

Priyanka mentioned that she started modelling as an act of defiance to all the kids in school who made comments about how she looked. She believed in herself and thought it was a way to show people that what makes her different and beautiful.



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After her win at Miss World Japan 2016, the Indian embassy in Tokyo congratulated Yoshikawa on her victory, which entitles her to represent Japan at the Miss World contest in Washington. She aspired to start a charitable home for children in her father’s hometown: the city of Kolkata in India’s eastern state of West Bengal.

While she’s been a staple of the modelling world in Japan and abroad since finishing high school, Priyanka has used her media attention to shine a light on how important it is to embrace diversity in a nation as homogeneous as Japan. Priyanka believes that everyone has a right to live the life they want and taking her experience in line she wants to help the one who face the discrimination like she did. She used the platform of TEDxTalk to speak about her story and how she was always defined by others. She explained that she wanted to let people know that while the world may want to categorize you or put you in a box, only you can define you. Hence the title of the talk “Define Yourself.” “I think Japan is a little more progressive than it was a few years ago, sure, but I also think we still have a long way to go!” she stated.

In May she launched an ageless, genderless, and ethnically diverse CBD wellness and beauty range; ‘Mukoomi’ to help solidify her message, inspired by her experience as a multi-racial woman growing up in Japan and her excitement for aging. She explained, “The name is a play on the Japanese words mukou—beyond and miru—to see, I wanted people to see beyond the current status quo, and inspire. My dream is to build a community around the Mukoomi brand and showcase the beauty of diversity in all its forms, with a special focus on the Japanese market.”