Modest civil servant transforms into Miss Universe Japan 2010

Modest civil servant transforms into Miss Universe Japan 2010 Miss Universe Japan Maiko Itai

TOKYO —

Maiko Itai, 25, of Oita Prefecture, who was crowned Miss Universe Japan 2010 this month, beat out about 4,000 applicants. Until December last year, she was a civil servant working at a municipal office in her hometown. A graduate of Sophia University where she studied, and fluent in English and Portuguese, one would think she must have stood out at her former workplace.

Not so. Says one former coworker, “She wore little make-up and came to the office in gray suits every day. We never even saw her wear shoes with heels. And she didn’t seem to care much about accessories either.”

The young woman who will now represent Japan in the upcoming Miss Universe beauty pageant used to bring her home-cooked lunch to the office, which she ate at her desk. There were no rumors of boyfriends and her job as secretary to the superintendent of municipal schools consisted mainly of attending to visitors. Needless to say, colleagues at the city office were flabbergasted when she submitted her resignation letter to concentrate on preparations for the final selection.

Those who knew Itai from her high school in Oita commented that they couldn’t believe how much she had changed. While she excelled in her studies, she was not involved in extracurricular activities. Even as a teenager, she certainly was not what one would describe as a colorful figure.

Her transition from a low-keyed civil servant to Miss Universe Japan has truly been amazing.

  • 0

    sfinyoko

    CONGRATULATIONS to the girl next door making it big. It is nice to see a beautiful young lady from an ordinary background succeed. I have an admin assistant that is very similar to this woman.

  • 0

    5SpeedRacer5

    How modest could she be?

  • 0

    Sheeple

    there are at least 75 millions Japanese girls that are more pretty than her...

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    Sadly shows how little benefit learning foreign languages are in Japan.

    She didn`t do extracurricular activities, my god!!! maybe that is why she is bettre adjusted than becoming a brick in the wall of conformity.

  • 0

    paulinusa

    Just as Clark Kent became Superman, Maiko Itai tranforms herself into Miss Universe Japan.

  • 0

    movieguy

    Sheeple, with this picture I'd agree that there are many PRETTIER girls in Japan, but I've seen other pictures where she looks hot.

  • 0

    Sarge

    That is a splendid dress.

  • 0

    Junnama

    Not so. Says one former coworker, “She wore little make-up and came to the office in gray suits every day. We never even saw her wear shoes with heels. And she didn’t seem to care much about accessories either.”

    Wow, they should make a Disney movie about this!! Didn't even care about accessories?? Are there still people like this?!?!?

  • 0

    USARonin

    What a nice story. If it's true, I wish her happiness and success.

  • 0

    bicultural

    Why do they keep picking girls that don't look Japanese?

  • 0

    netrek

    She is a nice girl - God bless her!

  • 0

    fondofj

    She now finds herself as new Cinderella.

  • 0

    sctaber56

    Too bad so many superficial comments...Good luck, Ms. Itai, in all of your endeavors.

  • 0

    presto345

    Too bad so many superficial comments

    Superficial is putting it mildly. It's more like 'dumb comments'. I've seen a couple of pictures and video of her. She's nice. Congrats, Maiko.

  • 0

    The758

    Do a Google image search for her: she's friggin HOT.

    ays one former coworker, “She wore little make-up and came to the office in gray suits every day. We never even saw her wear shoes with heels. And she didn’t seem to care much about accessories either.”

    Just my type : ) Enough of these trashy, empty-headed girls wearing PJs or hooker clothes all the time

  • 0

    TofuUnion

    She looks average at best...

  • 0

    Ranger_Miffy

    What? She sure DOES look Japanese. All you ladies busy with soul-less accessories, super-high tramp heels, please rethink. A nice girl makes good, (of course she's hot...she's only 25, goes with the age). The758: totally agree. Best of luck!!! I do wonder though what set her on this new course from office frump. Must be an interesting story. Imagine: bringing your own lunch to work! (sarcasm alert).

  • 0

    nipponreddog

    In this photo, she really doesn't look like a viable candidate for Miss Triumph bras Japan. There must be better pictures of her that lazy JT could have posted with this article.

    Many of the comments thus far, especially from the male posters, point out that she is hardly a raving beauty, in fact, that she can't even compare with many of the "hot" younger women one can observe on any sunny day shaying along Omotesando. Astonishment and wonder of why a relative "plain Jane" like this has been somehow mysteriously catapulted to the role of representing Japan as the pinnacle of Japanese beauty.

    The answer is the "Becky Syndrome".

    Most gaijin guys and Japanese men too, shake their heads at Becky's popularity and high-profile model role. She seems totally unsexy and unattractive to us.

    But it is the JAPANESE WOMEN who define what is considered attractive, beautiful, and desirable in Japanese women, whether it be the Miss Universe Japan candidate or "Becky". And since OL's and other Japanese younger women have the purchasing power which fashion and other cultural merchents seek to tap, It is what they select, not what we males consider worthwile that wins the day.

    Mystery solved...

  • 0

    ramenbaka

    Please don't be jealous of her. She is beautiful and smart (fluent in English and Portuguese ... and Japanese). Maybe she has a nice personality also.

  • 0

    nipponreddog

    "There were no rumors of boyfriends..."

    Is it a bad thing if a 25 y/o Japanese woman happens to have a boyfriend?

  • 0

    newgreatyear

    what a brave, brave, girl! Very heartwarming, and she speaks 3 of my favorite languages. Now does she; LAMBADA, and, sing like, Susan Boyle??? And maybe with that dress, she's letting us know, she can Hula?

  • 0

    DaiSukiDesu

    @Sheeple: 75 million? More like 65 million if you ask me. Maybe someone has a link?

    She's not my type, but looks okay to me.

  • 0

    gyouza

    Surprising that even in 2010, the world is obsessed with beauty competitions. Is it realy a good way to judge people? There will be arguments that it isn't just based on looks, but tell me it isn't MAINLY based on looks (and figure). Glad she is a nice girl and hope she finds success, but isn't it time to move on from these superficial contests?

    I love the superfluous info like "no rumours of boyfriends" - did anyone ask? Also, "her job as secretary to the superintendent of municipal schools consisted mainly of attending to visitors" - hardly an advert for graduation from Sophia University and speaking 2 foreign languages is it?

  • 0

    herefornow

    Good for her. Better than the usual "models" who have won of late. When will her "Proactive" commercial start airing anyway?

  • 0

    misoshiro

    The Kimono looks very nice. But I do not find her pretty.

  • 0

    HeyLars

    gyouza said: Surprising that even in 2010, the world is obsessed with beauty competitions. Is it realy a good way to judge people?

    As society gets richer and finds itself with more spare time, more time will be spent on performing and art. Its not surprising at all.

    Beauty competition are a way of judging beauty, just as golf tournaments are a way of judging golfing ability. If people are so daft they use them to judge people beyond that, I don't think the solution is to do away with the competitions.

    So what is with this Miss Universe Japan stuff? Can't we just send Miss Japan to to the Miss Universe competition? Does it have to be separate?

    And I have personally dated several girls more beautiful than this one. She is ok, but not Miss Anything in my book.

  • 0

    bcbrownboy

    She was in my class! It was a bit tough to teach strictly.

  • 0

    DeepAir65

    She's a trilingual university graduate and she was a secretary making tea for visitors - what a waste! I hope this opportunity opens some more doors to her - other than the talento rubbish...

    good luck to her

  • 0

    DJ_Fuzz

    In the article, the co-worker is surprised because Maiko-chan didn't wear high-heels, didn't wear much make-up, didn't seem to care for accessories, wore grey suits everyday and mainly just attended to visitors.

    The woman worked in a municipal office (city hall?) in Oita, for crissakes. If she had done anything OTHER than what is listed above, she would have been hammered down like any other nail that sticks up! (ESPECIALLY as a civil servant!)

    These same naive salarymen would be surprised by how many of the 地味 (by day) office-ladies around them are working in the 'water-business' at night.

  • 0

    papasmurfinjapan

    In a competition where looks mean everything, this is a peculiar choice. She may not be ugly, but she isn't anything special either.

  • 0

    misoshiro

    Wow, I could not help it but she has a very long neck. No offense meant. Just an honest observation.

  • 0

    misoshiro

    She was not in the miss universe web page: http://www.missuniverse.com/members/contestants I wonder why? Maybe it is not updated yet.

    Moderator: The page you clicked on is last year's.

  • 0

    hcrPortlander

    Maiko Itai is truly cute, not in a supermodel way, but in a girl next door way. However, she could stand about 10 pounds on her hips. A little thin, but not dangerously so. A truly cute girl.

  • 0

    nisegaijin

    she actually looks like a nice person, she definitely has this girl next door appeal, but not miss universe material.

  • 0

    presto345

    the world is obsessed with beauty competitions

    Don't fret about it. These competitions have been in existence since humans made their appearance on this earth.

  • 0

    Lerner

    Hmmm...gee my taste must be really bad but I don't find her attractive at all - neither face nor body. To each his own I guess. She's won and that's an achievement.

  • 0

    maryhinge

    Met her at Rop Hills once. She is a smokes those horrible slim thins things too.

  • 0

    missy25

    Apparently so does cosmetic surgery:)

  • 0

    marialenit

    Well, in a beauty contest either one who is so elegant wins or one who is so simple.Her lucky and blessfull day comes.I wish her more on good luck and GOD BLESS HER in everything she does.

  • 0

    WhatMeWorry

    First runner up Momoka Yoshida is smoking! Probably failed in the talent division.

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