|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Punters snub Miss Universe for lacking Japanese 'cuteness' 2007,6,11
Shukan Bunshun 6/14 By Ryann Connell
Japan has its own Miss Universe for the first time in almost half a century, but the average Japanese salaryman is hardly pleased as the winner doesn't look "Japanese" enough, according to Shukan Bunshun (6/14).
Riyo Mori, Japan's new Miss Universe, is certainly well-proportioned courtesy of practicing dance since the age of 4, but the 20-year-old has hardly tickled the fancy of the demographic most expected to be excited by her title win.
"One sports newspaper even ran of photo of the Thai representative in the belief that it was Mori," a sports newspaper editor tells Shukan Bunshun.
Gruff old salarymen are also annoyed that Mori chose to wear a geisha's garb for the National Costume part of the beauty contest, believing it was too much like "Hollywood glitz."
The weekly says Japan's new tack in approaching Miss Universe can be laid at the feet of Frenchwoman Ines Ligron.
Ligron, the overall producer of Miss Universe Japan since 1998, was brought here under the direction of U.S. tycoon Donald Trump, a co-owner of the Miss Universe pageant, and changed the way Japanese were taking part in the contest.
"Ines has no regard at all for cuteness. She respects traditional Japanese values of humility, earnestness and proper manners, but says taking them on to the world will only leave you crushed," a Miss Universe Japan spokesman tells Shukan Bunshun.
"Rather than these values, she encourages contestants to be independent, set goals, be intelligent and emphasize their strengths. Rather than pale-looking women, she wants women to be mature, glamorous and healthy looking. Japanese wouldn't think of beauties along these lines."
Kiko Matsuyama, a finalist in the 2007 Miss Universe Japan contest, said that Ligron is a hard taskmaster.
"My skin is really white, but she said that in the spotlights on stage I'd look deathly pale, so told me to go and get a tan," the beauty queen says.
Miss Japan 2004 Eri Machimoto also spoke of how Ligron improves the quality of Japanese contestants.
"One day while I was wearing monotone clothes, she shouted at me, saying that I was still young and should be wearing more colorful fashions," Machimoto says.
"And she was always on to us about how we need to read the papers to find out what's going on."
Don Konishi, a judge on the 2006 Miss Japan Contest, is also a Ligron fan.
"Models popular in Japan now, like Yuri Ebihara and Moe Oshikiri, just haven't got what it takes to make it on the global stage," he says.
"Frankly, I think women who look like little more than nightclub hostesses are more of an embarrassment to Japan than anything else."
Ligron knows what she's looking for and her results speak for her achievements -- three top five finishes, including Mori's win and Kurara Chibana finishing runner-up last year.
"In Japan, there's still too much of the idea of punishing those who stand out," Ligron tells Shukan Bunshun.
"Don't think the same things as everybody else and show more of your own personality. Don't just copy the fashions of popular idols. It's important to take care of your own personality."
(By Ryann Connell) June 11, 2007