Hometown Advantage: Miss Japan, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, was crowned Miss International 2012 after a marathonic 5-hour gala with endless breaks and performances held at the Budokan Martial Arts Hall in Okinawa, Japan.  It is the first time Japan wins the competition.

1st runner-up was Finland, 2nd runner-up Sri Lanka, 3rd runner-up was Dominican Republic and 4th runner-up Paraguay.

Philippines, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Namibia, United Kingdom, Venezuela, USA, India and Haiti completed the Top 15.

Special Awards

Declared the “belle” of the night, Japan’s Ikumi was also named Miss Photogenic. Haiti was declared Miss JOICP (Social Work), while Mauritius won Miss Friendship elected by her fellow contestants; Myanmar was named Miss Internet, Honduras won Best National Costume and Russia walked away with the Best in Talent award.

Judges’ decision was not well received by fans

After it was announced that Miss Japan was Miss International 2012, a wave of complaints  inundated the social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Check Global Beauties’  Facebook Page. Miss Japan was never considered a favorite for the crown, and some even believed she would not  be in the Top 15. “Lack of facial beauty” is the main criticism she has been getting.

Walking backwards

Miss International had been evolving tremendously production-wise, when the pageant was held in China, in recent years. Now back in Japan, it has walked backwards: it was over 5-hour-long, with endless breaks, and a very slow (nearly boring) production. Overall, the level of contestants has gone down as well.

Okinawa was a great host

If the production lacked in agility and modernity (at least lighting and camera work was way better than when it used to be held in Japan), it must be said that Okinawa did quite a good job hosting the pageant, with great pre-final activities and making news and photos constantly available to the general press.

History making for Japan, Sri Lanka and Paraguay

Since the pageant moved its HQs to Japan, in 1968, the Japanese had been constantly placing among the semi-finalists, however, it had never won the title, and very few were finalists (its best result was a 3rd place in 2002).  Ikumi is Japan’s first winner, a victory when it was least expected.

Up to today, Sri Lanka had placed among the semi-finalists only 3 times, but had never reched the Top 5. 3rd place is its best result in history. The same goes to Paraguay, who had had two semi-finalists, back in 1960 and 1961. 51 years later, a Paraguayan beauty reaches Miss International’s finals (5th place). Haiti debuted in the pageant with a Top 15 semi-finalist. Namibia also participated and placed among the Top 15 for the first time. African beauties are usually ignored in Miss International.

Ikumi, the first Japanese Miss International, will reign supreme until October 2013

The Top 15 Semi-Finalists