The many faces of Miss International 2012 Ikumi Yoshimatsu.
Let’s backtrack the host countries of Miss International before moving on with the topic. Only a total of three (3) countries – four if you don’t consider Macau as part of Mainland China – has staged and continue to stage the search for the most peace-loving and unity-adhering beauty queen. From the pageant’s inception in 1960 till 1967 and for the years 1971 and 1972, Long Beach, CA took charge of the annual beauty congress. From 1968-1970 and then from 1973 till 2003, Japan was at the helm running the event year after year, decade after decade, up until 2004 when China started to handle the same. Japan was host once more for the years 2005 and 2007, with Macau eking out a one-time effort in 2008 before relenting to the Chinese back in 2006 and from 2009 till last year. For 2012, Miss International returned home to where it stayed the longest and then Miss Japan finally won.
What’s the point in all of these? Simple. Japan has not taken full advantage of hosting duties to favor its own candidates until now. Sure, it frequently made the Top 15 or (on some occasions) even Top 3 , but nothing where the deliberations were as long and as hard as last night when the judges must have lengthily discussed the matter of letting Ikumi Yoshimatsu win or just a runner-up. I’m inclined to believe that a near-equal number of them were on opposing sides of the table dilly-dallying. In the end, the side of a pro-Japan victory got the edge. Their delegate is one of the more good-looking and better-prepared in decades of participation.
Do I consider Ikumi the best among the 69 contenders? No. At one point during the final phase, I was thinking that the likes of Sri Lanka’s Madusha Mayadunne or Haiti’s Anedie Azael or United Kingdom’s Alize Mounter (and even our Nicole Schmitz) are capable of getting the top nod. But Miss Japan wasn’t letting her guards down. She remained in the hunt up until close to the fifth hour. Her speech may have sounded too practiced to the ears of most, but so were the monologues given by a good number of the Top 15 reachers. And this is where the decision-makers exercised their authority to give the long-awaited first win to one of their own. Surprised? Yes, especially as it was coming close to the heels of Wenxia Yu winning Miss World in China. Disappointed? Yes, because our Nicole Schmitz should’ve been in the Top 5 at least. Can I peacefully move on? Most definitely. This can only mean that Japan will most likely host next year’s edition once more, and with the certainty that another country will succeed Ikumi for sure.
I would like to echo the sentiments of reader Glenn Dyer, though. The winning of a host country’s rep should be temporarily stopped. The scenario has already reached more than its quota for the next three years or so. If someone asks me, ‘What if she is really the most deserving to win?’, then I will plainly reply with ‘Just think of how the visiting delegates will answer that question.’ Blame it on my delicadeza, or sensitivity if you will.
Let’s hand the spotlight to the host country for now. If it’s any consolation, this is just their first time capturing the crown they could only stare at for several decades. We already had four. The fifth may come in 2013 or 2014 or 2015, even later. But it will come. That I am positive of. ;-)