TOKYO (Diya TV) — A half-Indian woman has been crowned Miss Japan, the second consecutive year a biracial person has won the annual beauty pageant.
The 22-year-old Priyanka Yoshikawa, who also has an elephant training license, said she would use her win to “change perceptions.”
Last year’s Miss Japan, Ariana Miyamoto was the first mixed-race person to win the pageant. Her crowning was met by critics who complained then that a “pure” Japanese woman should have won. Only about 2% of babies born every year in Japan are biracial, or “haafu,” the Japanese word for half.
“We are Japanese,” Yoshikawa said after her victory. “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.”
She credited her win to Miyamoto, saying she had helped show “mixed girls the way.”
“Before Ariana, haafu girls couldn’t represent Japan,” said Yoshikawa. “That’s what I thought too. Ariana encouraged me a lot by showing me and all mixed girls the way.
“I know a lot of people who are haafu and suffer,” she said. “When I came back to Japan, everyone thought I was a germ.”
“Like if they touched me they would be touching something bad. But I’m thankful because that made me really strong,” she added.
Similarly, just a few years ago, a woman of Indian descent, Nina Davuluri, faced Twitter abuse after being crowned Miss America. Some called her an “Arab,” some a “terrorist,” and some an “Arab terroris.” Indians, in large numbers, came to her defense.
Yoshikawa however, was not letting the doubters get to her. She’s since faced the same scrutiny Miyanmoto once did.
“There was a time as a kid when I was confused about my identity,” she said. “But I’ve lived in Japan so long now I feel Japanese.”
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Stock surge continues as Dow hits 20,000 for the first time
NEW YORK (Diya TV) — After weeks of close calls, the Dow Jones made history on Wednesday blowing past a key level for the first time in its history. The Dow climbed 156 points to 20,069, and was joined in the record territory by the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
The stock market milestone leaves the Dow up more than 1,700 points since the election of President Donald Trump last November, and speaks towards the enthusiasm investors have about the prospects for the U.S. economy.
Wall Street is clearly betting that Trump’s plans to slash taxes, ramp up infrastructure spending and cut regulation will make the American economy grow faster. If that happens, without any disruptions to global trade, it could propel corporate profits, the lifeblood of stock prices. However, the jump in stocks is also a reflection of the solid economy Trump inherited from former President Obama. The U.S. has added jobs for a record 75 straight months and the country’s unemployment rate is sitting near a 10-year low.
The milestone shows how much has changed in the U.S. economy over the past eight years. The index crashed to a low of 6,440 in March 2009 as Wall Street was gripping from the feared complete collapse of the American financial system.
While the economic rebound from the Great Recession has been slower than many hoped, the unemployment rate is now at the lowest level since 2007 and corporate profits have climbed to record highs.
Few expected the Dow to rise so much, especially after a Trump victory. In fact, many feared a market crash if Trump upset Hillary Clinton.
Instead, Wall Street embarked on a post-election rally that carried the Dow above both the 19,000 and 20,000 levels. The Trump rally cooled off in recent months and Wall Street hit a bit of a psychological roadblock leading up to the 20,000 level. On January 6, the Dow got incredibly close, rising to 19,999.63 before backing off. Traders on Wall Street had fun with it, with some creating hats that said: “Dow Almost 20,000.”
One reason for the pause: investors want more details on the timing and effectiveness of the stimulus plans rolled out by the new administration.
Bank stocks have been among the biggest winners since the election on Wall Street. JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have soared more than 20 percent, while Goldman Sachs is up nearly 30%, as investors bet on higher interest rates and less regulation under Trump.
Berklee Indian Ensemble presents “Arz-E-Niyaz” to honor Mughal Era poetry
BOSTON (Diya TV) — The Berklee Indian Ensemble, paying homage to Ghalib Sahab, who would have turned 219 years old Tuesday, presented its project, a poem titled “Arz-E-Niyaz” in collaboration with award winning vocal virtuoso, Vijay Prakash. The production also included Kathak dance elements from Meera Seshadri.
Arz-E-Niyaz was composed by Sashank Navaladi, a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where the Ensemble are located. The production is set to couplets by Mirza Ghalib, the last great poet of the Mughal Era, and one of the most influential Urdu poets of all time.
Prakash, the collaborator on this project, hails from Karnataka and is one of the world’s most sought-after Indian playback singers. He has multiple hits that have been recorded in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. The poem is written by the preeminent Urdu and Persian Sufi poet of the 19th century, Mirza Ghalib. Written in the form of eight couplets, ‘arz-e-niyāz-e-ishq’ literally translates to the ‘supplication for the blessings of love.’
The Ensemble have a history of rich and celebrated collaborations with other artists, including A. R. Rahman, Armeen Musa and Shankar Mahadevan.
Launched in 2013, the Berklee India Exchange is an on-campus initiative establishing a platform for cultural conversation about Indian music through artist residencies, musical collaborations and performances, according to the school’s website. Have a look at the new video below:
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