Hafu in Japan

by Kie Maruoka

From the reading and the slides we saw in the last class, the Japanese population is changing. The number of people who get married to non-Japanese is increasing and the number of mixed-ethnic children increase. Then Japanese society should change and need to be adapted to the current world situation. However, according to the reading material, the recent emergence of the community of mixed-ethnic children is very challenging the Japanese traditions. This is because many Japanese regard our country as a homogeneous country or a single-race society for a long time. Can’t we change? We have to see the current situation and try to change the traditions. Unless we change, many mixed-ethnic children will continue to be discriminated from the school and society in Japan.

Also, in Japan, many people often use the word “hafu” to call people who are born from Japanese and non-Japanese parents. I’ve never thought that this use might not be well for people who are called like this. So I was very surprised when I knew this fact. According to the reading, parents who have mixed-ethnic children do not feel well if their children are called “hafu”. This is because this word sounds like special or different from others. In my opinion, many people who use the world “hafu” do not intend to discriminate those people or treat them as different person from others. But if they feel like being discriminated from others, we have to refrain from using this word and have to consider which word we can use. Before reading the material we used in the last class, I did not know the word “hybrid identity” to use in this topic. When I hear the word “hybrid”, I think about cars or technical machines. But the reading says that this word may connect to the privilege or self-esteem. Perhaps this word “hybrid” is better than the word “hafu” or “double”. Now I can’t say clearly which world is the best to use. However, I thought that we have to know that even if we take granted to call people who are born from Japanese and non-Japanese parent “hafu”, those people who called so might not feel well.

In conclusion, if we become one of the majority society, we tend not to think about the minority. Therefore Japanese society can’t catch up with the changing society within the increase of mixed-ethnic children. I want to know well more about this topic in order to be able to say my opinion clear.

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