Understanding about another: The most important thing to understand foreigner or “hafu”

by Tomoya Yamaguchi

Recently, in Japan there are a lot of “hafu” who is one parent is a foreigner who is white people.  Their faces are different from so-called “Japanese” and they are often thought as a foreigner in Japan, because consciousness of Japanese people is “Japanese is Japanese”.  This means that people think Japanese has a similar face as Asian ethnicity, so they are thought as a foreigner.  Another reason why people think they are foreigner is also that Japan is said to be a mono-racial country.  Hafu is rare to ordinary Japanese.  These facts result in that situation in Japan.

Hafu has a Japanese citizenship, and they have lived in Japan since they were born.  Some of the hafu has an identity as a Japanese citizen.  However Japanese people have a consciousness as mono-racial country.  This is a serious problem to hafu.  In order for them to be accustomed to Japanese society comfortably, Japanese government should create a class about multiculturalism or different culture from the elementary school.  By taking a class in the early period of children, they can understand or learn hafu or another culture and foreigner.  International school is a good example.  In our class, we watched a movie about discrimination and the identity of hafu.  In the movie, one hafu said that his company forced him to use his French name because he could be forgiven by customer when he mistook.  This is a terrible discrimination.  I think that the boss of him who forced him to use the name hasn’t touched another culture or foreigner in his childhood and he doesn’t understand the feeling of them.  If he understood the feelings, he would not say such a terrible thing.  In Japan, a lot of people don’t have an opportunity to contact with foreigners who have different culture and racial background.  This contributes to that discrimination indirectly, so it is important for children to take the class.

I think that it is difficult for us to change this situation because Japan is said to be a mono-racial country and people don’t have a consideration as to foreigner or hafu even today when globalization has progressed.  Besides, Japan doesn’t have a lot of immigrants and the policy toward foreigner is also hard or rigid.  I don’t intend to say that Japan should take an action drastically to multiculturalism because the measures about it are not prepared for.  However Japanese education should be changed to multiculturalism because globalization is progressing now and from now, more people will come to Japan from foreign countries.  In addition to it, the number of the hafu will increase more and more.  According to it, for children to take the class must be so valuable and to be a person who can understand foreign stuff is important.

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