A beauty contest held at Keio University in Tokyo has been banned after allegations were made against the organisers. It has been claimed that the group was forcing minors to drink and that male members of the group gang-raped a female student.
The banning of the beauty contest has sparked outrage amongst some students who saw the show as an opportunity to kick-start their career in the TV industry. Large cosmetic companies also benefited from the pageant, using the candidates to promote their products.
Like many major beauty pageants around the world, the contests at Japanese universities have sparked much controversy. One group from the university released a statement regarding the nature of these pageants: “We stand against beauty pageants because they have a history of reinforcing a unitary concept of ‘women’s beauty,’ which is highly racialised, somatically normative, and classed, as well as a history of functioning as a tool for sexual objectification of women.”
Other universities in Japan have opted not to endorse these contests, with Meiji University holding a fashion show instead and the elite Waseda University banning all forms of beauty contests whatsoever.