Karolina Shiino, 26, stepped down as Miss Japan after a local publication released an article detailing her affair with a married man
Karolina Shiino has stepped down as Miss Japan after it was alleged that she was having an affair with a married man.
Shiino was crowned Miss Japan on Jan. 22 and was the first woman of European descent to earn the title of Miss Nippon, CNN and the BBC reported.
“I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me,” Shiino said in the Japanese-language apology she shared on Instagram, per the BBC.
Organizers originally suggested Shiino did not know the man was married with children but backtracked in their latest statement, according to the BBC. The man involved in the affair is a doctor and influencer.
In her apology, which was posted to Instagram, Shiino said she was too scared and confused to confess when the report came out, according to CNN and The Guardian.
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The Miss Japan Association has said it accepted Shiino’s decision to step down and said the role will remain vacant for the rest of the year, per the reports.
The association did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The doctor involved in the scandal, Takuma Maeda, also apologized for causing trouble with the affair, according to the AP.
In his statement shared Wednesday on Instagram, Maeda said he does not plan to divorce his wife and promised to invest time in his work and private life.
Shiino became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2022, according to the BBC and The Guardian. She moved to Japan with her mom when she was 5 years old and is fluent in Japanese, according to the AP.
But Shiino’s participation in the pageant has been controversial due to her predominantly European descent. After winning Miss Japan in January, she told CNN that she was “happy to be recognized” through the pageant.
“I wanted to be recognized as a Japanese person,” she explained. “I kept being told that I’m not Japanese, but I am absolutely Japanese, so I entered Miss Japan genuinely believing in myself.
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