“These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive,” the model wrote on Twitter on Wednesday 15 February.
“My goal is, and will always be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission.”
The photos were shared on social media on Tuesday 14 February, with posters claiming they were leaked from Vogue’s March 2017 issue, which focuses on diversity - and which has already faced criticism over it’s cover image.
Nymag also featured photographs of the images appearing as magazine spreads.
Photographer Mikael Jansson confirmed the photos were taken by him for Vogue, by sharing an unpublished shot from the shoot on Instagram.
People shared their views on the problematic photos on Twitter, with many questioning why a Japanese model had not been cast for the shoot.
Mire Koikari, a professor of women’s studies and affiliate of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Hawaii, told The Huffington Post it’s hard to judge the photos outside of their full context in the magazine. But the images alone, she said, raise questions.
“It strikes me as an example of ‘Asian face’ or ‘Yellow Face,’ a problematic practice long existent in the history of racism in the U.S., where white men and women alter their facial features to ‘pass’ as ‘Orientals,” Koikari said.