Direct descendant of Date Masamune becomes first Japanese entrant to win talent portion with her beautiful opera vocals.

Recently, Miss Universe Japan turned heads by cosplaying as Sailor Moon. It turns out, though, that fellow beauty pageant contestant Miss World Japan also has a connection to a famous icon of Japanese culture, and one who’s an actual historical figure.

Tokyo native Kanako Date has a name that might sound familiar to Japanese history buffs, because one of her ancestors is Date Masamune, lord of the Date samurai clan during Japan’s feudal Sengoku era. Nicknamed “One-Eyed Dragon” after losing an eye to smallpox as a child, Masamune ruled the area near present-day Sendai, in Miyagi Prefecture, until his death in 1636.

▼ Date Masamune

While they’re obviously many generations removed from each other, there’s not much lateral space between Kanako and her famous ancestor on the Date family tree. She’s a direct descendant of Masamune, and is in fact his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter, with the two of them spanning 21 generations.

Given her aristocratic samurai lineage, it’s not so surprising that Date looks regal dressed in traditional Japanese attire or armed with traditional Japanese weaponry. The 22-year-old lists Japanese dance, archery, and playing the koto (a stringed Japanese instrument) among her hobbies as well.

However, Date’s interests and ambitions go beyond the borders of her homeland. She speaks multiple languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, and Korean, and also has studied abroad in China. Currently a fourth-year law student at Japan’s prestigious Keio University, she hopes to work for an international organization in the future, and has also been involved in charity activities with the Red Cross and World Vision.

▼ Date, appearing at an event to promote tourism to Fukushima Prefecture

Her cultural interests have an international element to themselves as well, as Date is also an amazingly talented opera singer, as you can hear for yourself in the video below.

It’s not just her online followers who’re impressed with her vocals, either. During the talent portion of this year’s Miss World finals, currently taking place on Hainan Island in China, Date elected to sing the aria “Vissi d’arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, and her performance wowed the judges so much that she was awarded first place in the talent portion, a feat no other Japanese contestant has achieved since the pageant’s first iteration in 1951.

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Due to the multi-day nature of the pageant, an overall winner won’t be chosen from among the 118 contestants until December 8, but regardless of how that turns out, Date’s unprecedented talent portion win is something to be proud of.

Sources: IT Media, PR Times, Miss World Japan
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: Miss World Japan, Wikipedia/Panoramio upload bot, PR Times