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Sunday, September 4, 2011

2007 Miss Universe Japan

This is the story of Mori Riyo (surname first), Japan’s most recent—and second-ever—Miss Universe, crowned on May 28, 2007. Plus... there’s a Canada connection!

She is quite possibly the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen (though I have read reports from some stuipid blogger who believe she is not necessarily beautiful in the convention sense... what the hell does that mean? Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder – if it weren’t maybe only 10% of the population would ever get laid and half of that married!)

Mori was born on December 24, 1986 in Aoi-ku, in Shizuoka-ken (Shizuko Prefecture beside Mt. Fuji) in Japan. She’s tall at 1.73 meters (5’-8”), slender (duh), great figure, though I was unable to determine what exactly it is. Twenty years ago, I could probably have told you exactly what her measurements are.

As an aside... just so you know... Matthew and myself – we have dated women with similar great looks! And you can, too. Just go to Japan!

She has black hair and brown eyes – but some people say her beauty isn’t typical of the Japanese – I’ll explain why they say that in a moment.

As an only child, she was raised in a loving home and began dancing ballet at the age of four. She studied ballet at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada located in Bellville, Ontario. My first girlfriend went to high school in Bellville (Bryndis Swan – she lived in Roslin).

Mori did spend her Grade 11 year at Mount Douglas Secondary School in Victoria British Columbia, Canada, but did graduate high school from Centennial Secondary School in Belleville.

I’m guessing her English was and is pretty damn good! Matthew – who knew that she was that close to us... though we were both long married by the time she turned 18 in 2004! Dammit!

The pageant was held in Mexico. She immediately won the crowd over by saying “Hola Mexico!”

At the Miss Universe pageant, Mori, after moving into the final 15, competed in the swimsuit competition (that’s her in the photo above). She achieved the highest score in the competition – and is still the highest such score in the pageant since 2002. Obviously, her score got her into the top 10 – the evening gown competition, in which she placed fourth, wearing a kimono-inspired black floral gown from the 2007 spring/summer collection from Gucci.

In the final round – the question period – she was asked to speak about the one lesson she learned as a child that still affects her life.

Mori replied that since childhood, she has been dancing and was thus constantly surrounded by students and teachers, and because of these interactions, she has learned to always be happy, patient and positive in her life. She also said that because of this, she wants to teach the next generation the same principles.

It was enough to help her win the crown... the 2nd ever Japanese person, but also the 11th Asian winner. She was also the third Japanese woman to place in the top five of the competition for the past decade (Miyazaki Miyako was 4th runner-up in 2003, and Chibana Kurara was the 1st runner-up in 2006).

That's no way to treat your successor!
During her crowning, the previous Miss Universe (from Puerto Rico)had to place the crown on Mori’s head, but didn’t do a good job of it as her last official duty, as the crown nearly hit the floor but was caught by Mori’s keen reflexes. Good thing, too... the official Mikimoto crown is made of diamonds and pearls and has a valuwe well over $250,000!

Despite her impressive good looks and talents (it’s not merely a beauty competition), you might think that all of Japan would be happy for her. But, proving once and for all that you can never make everybody happy, some Japanese were not proud of her non-Japanese ways.

The major complaint was/is that she is not kawaii (cute) enough. Seriously. If you want to look at cute girls, go hang-out at the local junior high school. This woman is beautiful because she looks like a woman!

As well, Mori was accused of having a cosmopolitan look – which is not apparently indicative of the Japanese standards of beauty. I can tell you from experience, that the girls from Tokyo did not look as cosmopolitan as the girls from Osaka!

I’m going to say that the Japanese who are saying this are nuts. However, all one has to do is take a look at Miss Japan 2008, who looks kawaii, and is definitely more Japanese rather than cosmopolitan. Hell... this is a Miss Universe competition – not merely a Miss Japan competition.

Here's the only photo I found of Mori Riyo in her National Costume.
Other knocks against Mori is that during the National Costume (for the first time ever, there was no winner of this competition) segment of the competition (the first round), she wore a geisha-inspired outfit– which annoyed some people, complaining that that was buying into the American/Western concepts of what Japan is all about. Point taken. But when it comes to an iconic image of a Japanese person, geisha, samurai, ninja, fat guy in a Godzilla suit – this is what people think. She couldn’t wear a samurai outfit, as the 2006 Miss Universe Japan did that to win the Best National Costume competition. You don’t want to be a copycat! As well... a ninja costume or big rubber lizard suit costume is probably not going to be very flattering for her awesome curves.

Regardless... the criticism gets worse. According to an entertainment reporter (I’ve been a real reporter for the Toronto Star newspaper... writing about entertainment - like blog writing – isn’t exactly high brow entertainment) from the Shukan Shinco magazine (never heard of it) that ‘loads of reporters’ were surprised by Mori-san’s win at the competition because “making up her eyes to emphasize her ‘oriental exoticism’ isn’t a look that really appeals to Japanese.”

So... looking Japanese doesn’t appeal to the Japanese who are pissed off that her costume was not Japanese enough despite it being an iconic Japanese image.

Right. Got it. It’s Japan’s concept of itself that has always confused me. It has rushed to embrace a lot of Westernisms... like our housing styles, clothing, music, and even draws its Japanese anime (cartoons) and manga (comic book) characters with typical non-Japanese eyes! The Japanese seem confused about their identity. Even though they (Japanese) like to tell the gaijin that everything is Japanese-this or Japanese-that (Japanese chopsticks, Japanese rice, Japanese archery, Japanese kimono) we realize it's because they are proud of their (Japanese) contribution to the global society, still the Japanese are not very happy with the way they look... which is funny, because us gaijin guys don’t seem to have a problem with the way the Japanese women look. Oh well... maybe you’ll be happy with yourselves one day.

And, by the way, I know I don''t have a problem with the way anyone on this stupid planet looks.

More crap. The magazine then says that though Mori was born in Japan to Japanese parents, she spent few of her teen aged years in Japan, as she was living in Canada. In Canada. And that she was clueless about Japanese etiquette and was so full of herself.

After her win at the Miss Universe competition, Mori-san returned to her hometown - no not Belleville, Canada, but rather Aoi-ku in Shizuoka, and apparently left a bad impression with the local media as she placed her hands akimbo (on her hips) and pointed her microphone at the reporters when they asked HER a question.

Apparently, both acts are considered impolite. Okay... maybe I can see the rudeness of her hands akimbo. Maybe. But turning the microphone towards the reporter asking her questions is just a way to ensure the rest of the people around her could hear his/her questions. That was a courtesy. Not rudeness. And if you think it’s being rude – why? It’s hardly some ancient Japanese rule of life. It’s a pretty damn recent rule – since the advent of microphones. She was just being smart and polite to the rest of the audience listening in on the question and answers.

One local reporter said: “That might be the way they do things in America, but a female Japanese performer would never act that way.”

Three things wrong with that statement. Number 1: the fact some reporter even made this statement; Number 2: Apparently a male Japanese performer can act that way, but a female cannot – sexist pig; Number 3 – America? She lived in Canada. This might be the way we do things in Canada. Why, if it’s offensive behaviour, point at the Americans? It was us Canadians that did this to her to causing Japan so much friggin’ anguish. How about some hate for Canada, rather than our poor American cousins?!

These yokels in the media also had the gall to say that just because Mori-san said she did not have a favourite Japanese performer, it meant that she was looking down on her own country.

Really? Just because she doesn’t have a favourite Japanese performer? Great. She isn’t 12-years-old. Also, maybe she likes many different Japanese performers and didn’t want to insult any Japanese performers... or maybe she really just doesn’t care for any performers at the moment.

Ask me who’s my favourite performer... I dare you. I don’t friggin’ have one. Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian – like Mori-san.

Poor Mori – apparently the other Miss Universe contestants didn’t like her either. Miss Norway, Kirby Ann Basken (a half Filipino/Norweigian) told the Philippine Dairy Inquirer (I’m always leery of any magazine that uses the word Inquirer in its name) that only half the divas in the pageant had been happy for Mori-san after the win. Apparently Miss Brazil did not congratulate Mori-san after the win, according to Miss Norway.

Meow! Saucer of milk for table #2!

Catty or what?

Anyhow... because Mori-san dared to state in her online diary that she would ‘definitely win the crown because other favourites were losing steam’ – well, that was arrogance according to some... ego. That’s what Miss Norway said.

Let me just go on record here... my self-confidence can always been seen by others as ego.

In a bit of confusing opinion from Miss Norway, she says that Mori ‘could have done better’, even though ‘the way she presented herself during the pageant was outstanding’.

She won didn’t she? How could she have done better, especially if she presented herself in an outstanding manner.

This Miss Norway is an idiot.

Anyhow... at least Mori-san didn’t have to take all of the blame for daring to become 2007 Miss Universe. That blame fell onto Ines Ligron of France who has been training and running the Miss Uuniverse Japan competition since 1998.

I think the Japanese media hates her because she is not Japanese.

Just because she grooms her charges to be independent, confident, goal-oriented and glamorous rather than the traditional Japanese look of cute, shy, cute (I know I said it twice), humble, earnest and mild-mannered.

Well... welcome to the 21st century Japan. The samurai are long gone.

Mori says that Ligron has changed her: “I learnt how to have confidence, poise and be myself.”

Wow – how horrible. That’s sarcasm, by the way.

Ligron, in an interview with the respected newspaper The Japan Times, said that the Japanese concept of kawaii (cute) and sekushii (sexy) is ‘long mistaken.’

“The kawaii concept is for 12-year-old girls,” she said.

Again... on record, I had no idea she had said that about 12-year-old girls when I made my comment of 12-year-old girls earlier in this blog.

“Real beauty for women comes from the inside. It’s a mental thing. It’s about sensuality and intelligence,” explains Ligron expressing her admiration for Mori’s transformation from a “chubby dancer” to Miss Universe.

Ligron continues: “Men might become upset that we killed the kawaii trend, but women are going to feel liberated. They can finally look like a woman and not like a 12-year-old girl.”

When I was in Japan, I hated seeing women dress like a 12-year-old. I didn’t want to screw a 12-year-old girl. I wanted a woman.
Riyo Mori - dancer and Miss Universe 2007 Japan. Simply awesome.

Here’s the last word from Mori-san herself regarding her career ambitions:

“To open my own dance school in Tokyo! My mother runs a successful dance school outside of Tokyo and we plan to expand my family’s love for the performing arts by opening an international dance school in Tokyo, the capital of Japan and a crossroads for many cultures. My plan is to hire teachers who speak a number of languages so that I can host students from around the world. Opening my own school will allow me to live and teach my passion for dancing while being an independent businesswoman.”

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph


  1. Wow - she was 5YO when we arrived in Japan!

  2. You described the traditional Japanese look of cute, shy, cute, humble, earnest and mild-mannered. You forgot a third cute.