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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2015 Autumn Issue]>Finalist in Miss World representing Japan

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Global Professional

Natsumi Oshima was selected as a finalist Japan at Miss World 2015(Courtesy of the Miss World Japan Secretariat)

Finalist in Miss World representing Japan

Chuo University student Natsumi Oshima (21 years old; fourth-year student in the Faculty of Law) represented Japan at Miss World 2015, one of the world’s three major beauty pageants. Oshima was selected as a finalist at the contest, which features fierce competition from a total of 6,820 women.
Natsumi Oshima (fourth-year student, Faculty of Law)
The main member of world’s best Chuo University Cheerleading Club

Scene from the Miss World Contest

Every single one of the remaining finalists was beautiful. Thirty-two women had passed through countless judging and been selected from the 6,820 applicants. The competition ratio was an astounding 213 times.

Based upon her final results, Oshima was selected as one of the semi-finalists (the 11th-place to 17th-place contestants). Although she had narrowly missed competing in the Grand Final, she had grown greatly during the approximately six-week judging period from selection of finalists to the start of the Grand Final. “It was an invaluable experience,” she said with a bright smile.

The finals-judging includes a day experiencing the lifestyle of a member in the Japan Self-Defense Forces. This judging is also called the beauty trial. Other activities include sports, acting, multimedia (PR for products of corporations supporting the contest), showroom work (using SNS applications to realize smooth communication with ordinary voters), runway walking, swimsuit modeling, speeches given in English, and social contribution activities (including submission of a report). It is enough to exhaust a normal person.

The applications guidelines defined by the Miss World Japan Secretariat are as follows:

“A healthy, cheerful and unmarried woman with Japanese citizenship. Must possess knowledge, dignity, and be between the ages of 18 and 27.
The applicant must understand the theme of ‘Beauty with a Purpose,’ and must possess knowledge and interest in volunteer activities.
The applicant must possess outstanding language skills.
The applicant must be able to compete in international contests (November 19 to December 20, Hainan Island, China).”

Number of applicants and finalists for the last three years
Year Applicants Finalists
2015 6820 32
2014 6755 37
2013 6520 19

Wearing camouflage clothing

Oshima at the Self Defense Forces judging

“I was interested in experiencing the lifestyle of a member in the Japan Self Defense Forces,” explains Oshima. “I thought that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I even wore camouflage clothing. I was surprised that there were many women in the forces, even mothers. When I had a chance to talk with these women, I asked them why they had joined the Self Defense Forces. Their answer was straightforward—‘To serve my country.’ I felt strength from these women. These women stated that they had never felt or sensed any difference between men and women.”

The program took place at a garrison in Camp Nerima, Tokyo. The Self Defense Forces section of the finalist judging for Miss World started with a salute. Although Oshima enjoyed taking a commemorative photograph in front of a helicopter, she was surprised at being forced to crawl near an armored vehicle. Next, the finalists were instructed on how to use a medical device known as an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) to save a person who had suddenly suffered a heart attack. There was also instruction on artificial respiration, cardiac massage, and stopping bleeding. The contestants were tested on what they could do while waiting for emergency medical staff to arrive. They also worked to transport injured people on stretchers.

These tasks cannot be performed alone. Teamwork is required. Oshima’s team posted the top results (tie) in the Self Defense Forces judging. The Miss World Contest is more than just beauty; it also poses themes which require physical strength, mental fortitude, and the spirit of cooperation.

The Self Defense Forces judging took place on an extremely hot summer day in August, right in the middle of job search activities. The frequent Miss World judging overlapped with job search activities, and Oshima was always pressed for time.

“Day after day, I was so busy,” said Oshima with a sigh. “Still, I was determined to give it my best, since I would never have the chance again after graduating university.”

Despite such a hectic schedule, Oshima couldn’t let herself get out of shape or have any kind of skin problems. After all, Miss World is also judged on beauty.

“About three or four times a week, I would blow off stress by going to a sports club at night after finishing my job search activities,” explained Oshima. “Afterwards, I would work on SNS. There were some harsh opinions against me. I was being judged on how I handled such posts. Even a seemingly inconsequential comment could turn into a really big problem.”

Oshima truly had to be careful of everything going on around her. The repeated judging challenged the limit of her humanity, and caused Oshima to grow and become stronger.

Born in Hawaii

Due to her father’s work, Oshima was born in Hawaii. While being raised in an American society, she naturally became conscious of Japan. “It was really frustrating to be told that the Japanese couldn’t compete with people of other countries,” recalled Oshima. “I couldn’t stand not being taken seriously.”

This summer, during her fourth year at Chuo University, Oshima’s spirit of taking on challenges led her to embark alone in cheerleading training in America.

Oshima was selected for the “Ambition Support Scholarship—Overseas Language Training Division,” an independent program of the Chuo University Faculty of Law. This scholarship is supported through the generosity of benefactors.

In America, a camp is held where many cheerleaders from professional sports teams gather together to give performances and learn from each other. Oshima was one of only three Japanese women to participate in the camp.

Afterwards, Oshima participated in dance auditions for the Phoenix Suns, one of the strongest teams in the National Basketball Association.

“The other women had doubts about me and looked down on me because I am Japanese,” said an indignant Oshima. “However, I did my best and expressed myself through dance.”

Oshima was recognized for her ability and selected as a semi-finalist for the Suns dance team. She was provided with a private space in the locker room—the same space as a regular dancer. Oshima had finally achieved her childhood dream of proving her ability to the world.

The performing skills Oshima learned abroad were put to good use at Chuo University. Oshima belongs to the Chuo University Song Leading Club (nicknamed the “Garnett Girls,” or “GG”), a powerhouse team which has won three consecutive championships in the Pom Division of the All Japan Cheer Dance Championship (intercollegiate championship). The Garnett Girls also won the Pom Division this year at the World University Cheerdance Championship held in Florida in January.

As one of the leading members of the team, Oshima took advantage of her height to stand out through dynamic dancing. The GG are extremely popular, with more than 4,000 total fans gathering to watch them perform over a four-day period at the central stage on Tama Campus during the Hakumon Festival.

The stage performance by the Chuo University Song Leading Club (GG) is one of the main events of the Chuo University Hakumon Festival.

When representing Japan at the Miss World Contest, Oshima carried the cheerleader spirit which she learned as a member of the Chuo GG. At the contest, her rivals were aspiring stars who belonged to talent agencies, hoping to become tomorrow’s television stars or top models. In the midst of this fierce competition, Oshima focused on bringing joy to people and gently encouraging others. This innocence made Oshima an “oasis” for other finalists in the contest.

“I would recommend the Miss World Contest to younger students,” gushed Oshima. “While at university, you should take on as many challenges as possible. Some people told me that our performance made them happy. Although I didn’t make it to the Grand Final, I hope that I have inspired someone to accomplish what I couldn’t.”

Taking on the challenge of cheerleading in America

Oshima has a unique aura that makes it easy to call her by her nickname of “Na-Chan” even when first meeting. Although she is known for her soft expression and kind personality, she doesn’t compromise during cheerleading activities and can be quite strict.

She truly possesses the qualities of health, cheerfulness, knowledge and dignity which are required to compete in the Miss World Contest.

Oshima is now in her fourth and final year at Chuo University. Her final summer at Chuo University will surely be filled with more great accomplishments.

Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths (Walt Disney)

Miss World—the contest to decide the world’s queen was held in China

Together with Miss Universe and Miss International, Miss World is known as one of the world’s top three beauty pageants. In particular, Miss World is a dignified contest with a long history. The contest has been held every year since the first Miss World took place in London in 1951.

This year’s representative from Japan (Grand Finals) will be determined on September 14, and will compete in the 65th Miss World Contest to be held on Hainan Island, China. The contest will take place from November 20 to December 19.

■Details of judging

Through the cooperation of supporting corporations in each field of the finals judging, finalists get valuable experiences and are able to gather invaluable lifestyle information.

There are also countless items for supports judging. Under the guidance of an expert trainer, contestants do intervals of one-legged standing, sit-ups , knee push-ups, side kicks, grip training, repeated short distance sprints…

In the “Health and Beauty Seminar,” contestants learn the basics of dental hygiene from a dental clinic. Beauty consultants provide advice on creating a beautiful bust line and body line, and contestants are required to perform yoga exercises. Contestants also learned how to use the latest electronic devices from an internet service company.