Hafu People in Japan

by Akifumi Kamamoto

I focus on the topic “hafu people in Japan”. When I chose this topic, I recalled what Prof. Robert said to us. His telling was like that: when we, Japanese people, meet hafu people who have Japanese parent and parent from foreign countries such as Europe or America, we regarded them as cool. Also we try to communicate them in English and asked them to speak English. Then we think them as hafu people. However, we regard them as foreign people when we meet hafu people whose parents are from Japan and foreign countries like Africa or Asia. This is because they look like “foreign people”. I could image this situation easily because I think Japanese people generally have the image of hafu people that they look cool or cute and they can speak two languages. However this image changes when we meet the latter hafu people. This division is wrong. Even though I don’t know how all hafu people think that they are called “hafu” and whether it makes them disgusted or not, I think this division is rude to them.

In order to understand hafu people, it is important for us to think about this question “how they want to be called or how should we call them? For example, should we call them hafu, mixed, double or other expression?” If I want to know correct statistics, I have only to take questionnaire, but now I can’t do that. Then, I can state just my opinion. The term “hafu” came from the origin of a word “half”. We can understand that it means that they are not one person but half person. The term “hafu” is a well-known word, but I think it is not suitable expression. Next, the term “mixed” is sometimes used. I think this is the worst expression because this term has discriminatory meaning. I have watched movies in which the term “mixed” was translated into “konketsu”, and in these movies the term included discriminatory meaning. So it is not good expression, I think. In my opinion, the term “double” is the most suitable expression. The term “double” has a nuance that they have two nationalities. The term has a nuance to force them to choose which nationality they will have, too. I think this choice is needed in order to make equal society that all people have just one nationality.

In conclusion, it is difficult to understand “hafu” people correctly, but we need to know them more and more.

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