What are you?

by Koichi Sugimoto

In this class, the professor said ‘’what are you’’ again and again, so this phrase has been repeated in my heart again and again, too. What does it mean? If I am hafu, I’ll answer ‘’I am Koichi. I have parents who have different nationalities’’. In this case, I am supposed to be hafu. Why they have to be called like that? I don’t think whether nationalities have to belong to countries which exist in this world or not. Nationalities or citizenship is certainly important to identify who he/she is, but they are not necessarily needed. I mean we all are human-being. We have each name, sense of values, thought, brief and identity. That is my thought.

By the way, in Japan, ‘’hafu’’ is a widespread word when we call someone who has one Japanese parent and non-Japanese parent because this word was coming in Japan first, used widely and which is derived from English word ‘’half’’. I learned that there is some areas in which people who call hafu ‘’double’’ live. It is because ‘’double’’ has a kind of positive meaning than hafu. How to call is occasionally formed under the influence of situation, so it’s hard to identify which words are better, but we can rethink how important it is for hafu/double. Why do they ask only hafu? We don’t have to be limited by nationalities. I am I, and hafu is hafu. That’s fine.

From readings, I pick up one example about hafu which is seems to give us something positive meaning to be hafu. Her name is Tanya Akiko Cornish, born and raised in UK. She stated when she is in London, she can identify with people living there, and also she doesn’t feel like she is something different, but in Japan, it is not comfortable for her to live in there because she is hafu. However, she stated in the last part, ‘’I’m fully happy with my racial and my class background and I feel like I’ve got an insight into all different areas and that it’s made me a better person’’. This made me more understanding, that is, there are not only necessarily bad things but also good things for them. They are in surroundings where they can learn, study and feel two different cultures and background. This is very precious things because that is a thing which almost all people cannot experience.

Finally, I could get deeper understanding of hafu through this class so far. People have each opinion, so some people are asking, ‘’what are you?’’, but that’s reasons why they don’t know hafu well, and they regard hafu as something rare or uncommon. However, hafu is coming to be close to us now. Hafu may be a main nationality in the future.

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