Hafu in Okinawan Society

by Mei Satoi

My Japanese friends told me “I want hafu kids! Hafu child is very cute!” Hafu’s images are cool, cute, bilingual, and frequently speak English or other language. Nowadays, a lot of Japanese have positive images of “Hafu”. The reason why is that a lot hafus are active as famous person in TV or fashion magazines. However it images are almost stereotype. In fact, hafu have a dilemma as hafu. In the last class, I reminded my hafu classmate of high school in my hometown Okinawa. Therefore I try to think hafu case in Okinawa.

There are a lot of hafus who have American father and Japanese mother in Okinawa. Actually hafu of this parent pattern exist large number in Okinawa because of existing military bases. This type hafu are called “AmerAsian”. There is AmerAsian school in Okinawa. This school respect American and Japanese culture as equal. In this school, hafu children are educated by using English and Japanese. This school’s curriculum makes children have pride as “double”. However in normal school like my high school could not take enough care of hafu students. My hafu classmate was considered as special. He was not normal friend in our class society. We thought he is American, he can speak English without studying. However I noticed that maybe he also did him best studying and distressed his position.

In my experience, “Okinawan” is the most superiority in Okinawa. Japanese society is said to be a racially homogeneous nation. Japanese seek similarity as Japanese. In Okinawa, many Okinawan people feel that we are minority and discriminated by Japanese from their experience of base and Okinawan war in 1945. However Okinawan also discriminate against hafu, minority people in the society. Hafu is considered as foreigner. People think that hafu can speak English frequently and they have ability as foreigner. Many people have stereotype. Following that they judge hafu before they communicate with them. It is unfair for hafu to arrive in Okinawan community. They have little opportunity to reveal real voice as themselves. In this situation, hafu would be distressed about their identity which countries they belong. It is dilemma of hafu.

In conclusion, we should build society which is able to consider hafu as one human. Actually hafu has two identities but they are only human like Okinawan or Japanese. Before judge person by surface or race, we have to try to get sympathy through communication. I believe we will be able to have respect hafu through good relationship with them.


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