Ukrainian-born model Karolina Shino won the Miss Japan 2024 pageant at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo, last Monday.

Caroline Sino, the first ever winner born outside of Japan to win the grand prize at the age of 26, also set a record as the oldest winner in the history of the competition. In her speech after the ceremony at the Keio Plaza Hotel, Shino shared, "It was like a dream. The moment they called my name, tears flowed uncontrollably. I had to overcome various barriers that often prevent me from being accepted as a Japanese woman, so I feel grateful to be recognized as a Japanese woman in this competition."

Shino was born in Ternopil to Ukrainian parents in 1998. She moved to Japan at the age of 5 after her mother married a Japanese man, mastered the language and felt Japanese. However, over time, she developed a complex due to people's comments about her looking different. Her goal was to "create a society where people are not judged by their looks," which prompted her to apply for the Miss Japan pageant after she received Japanese citizenship in 2022.