Miss Japan
Miss Japan, Ukraine-born Karolina Shiino, relinquished the title after a scandal erupted about her private life.JIJI Press via AFP / STR

Karolina Shiino, the Ukraine-born winner of the Miss Japan beauty pageant, has been forced to relinquish her crown after a media report revealed she had an affair with a married man.

The 26-year-old was crowned Miss Japan just two weeks ago. Her win sparked a debate on social media, with people saying that she did not represent traditional Japanese beauty ideals. She had moved to Japan from Ukraine at the age of five.

A few days later, a local magazine, Shukan Bunshun, published a report claiming that Karolina was involved in an affair with a married doctor.

Initially, the pageant organisers defended her, saying that she did not know the man was married. But they later revealed that Karolina admitted to knowing the man in question was married. The man's identity has not been revealed yet.

The ex-beauty queen later issued a statement addressing the affair and apologised to her fans for the same.

"I couldn't speak the truth due to chaos and fear... I apologise to those who believed in me and supported me," the 26-year-old said on Instagram.

"I take the situation seriously and have relinquished the Miss Japan Grand Prix title," wrote the model. "I am truly sorry for the huge trouble I have caused and for betraying those who supported me," she said.

Miss Japan Association has said that it has accepted her request to return the crown for "personal reasons".

Meanwhile, some social media users have come to Karolina's support, stating that she was targeted because of her origins. "The people of the world have not accepted historical facts. The dynamics of this society are hard to accept. She naturalized and should be allowed to retain the peagent," a user wrote on Twitter.

"Surely its a personal matter ? How conservative is Japan?" commented another. "I don't get it: what's the relation between her lover and the crown?" quipped another X user.

In a similar but unrelated incident in 2018, Miss Plymouth County gave up her title as a sign of protest against the mocking of the #MeToo movement.

Maude Gorman was one of the contestants in the Miss Massachusetts pageant in 2018 when a skit making fun of the movement was performed on stage.

"While I'm grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply 'let this go,'" she wrote in an Instagram post.

Her resignation from her title forced the Miss Massachusetts organisation to issue an apology.

"The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night's skit. The skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the board. Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed," read the statement from the organisers.