by Kanami Hirokawa
One in 30 children is born as a hafu today in Japan. Hafu have parents who have different nationality and looks. Therefore, hafu tend to have different looks with Japanese and they may catch people’s eye easily. In such a situation in Japan, how do hafu people build their own identity? Do they have only one identity or hybrid identity? Why do many Japanese think hafu is cool and beautiful?
First of all, it is necessary to think about identity of hafu. When I watched a video about hafu in class, many of hafu said that they have a hybrid identity, but they said that they can not become complete and true Japanese. Many of hafu in this video grow up in Japan and know the Japanese culture. Moreover, some of them can speak Japanese fluently. However, why can’t they become ‘true’ Japanese? In order to have the consciousness of belonging, to have same value and culture is needed. For example, if they live in Japan, they try to speak Japanese. In addition to this, it is also important that hafu are appropriated by Japanese, regarded as a member of Japan and they can join Japanese society.
Next, Japanese often regard hafu as a ‘stranger’ even if they know Japanese culture and can speak Japanese. Hafu often attract people’s eye and they are regarded not as Japanese but as a special people. Today, in Japan hafu and foreigners are minority and many Japanese still have the fixed idea that Japan is a homogeneous nation. This is why hafu and foreigners are regarded as a ‘stranger’ in Japan. Such a fixed idea should be broken because Japan has been a multicultural country since the old days. For example, Ainu people lived in Hokkaido as native people and in the 20th century many foreigners like Koreans and Brazilians came to Japan. I suggest that Japanese must change their fixed idea and appropriate hafu.
Japanese tend to ask hafu questions like “where are you from?” even if they grow up in Japan and have Japanese values and Japanese culture. Japanese must know that people who have different looks with Japanese live in Japan as Japanese. Moreover, Japanese should accept hafu as a member of Japan and should not make borders between Japanese and hafu because they grow up in Japan and have same identity with Japanese. In order that hafu become Japanese completely, not only Japanese accept hafu as a member of Japanese in Japanese society but also Japanese government should begin the approach to make Japan a ‘true’ multicultural country. Japan is based on the idea of jus sanguinis and conservative to foreigners. Today, in the world, globalization is developing now and Japan should review their principle.
In conclusion, hafu are often regarded as special people in today’s Japanese society. In order that hafu become true Japanese, Japanese should break their fixed ideas and Japanese government should change their policy. Furthermore, in the future Japan may have to accept more foreigners because of the declining birth rate and the lack of workers. If such a situation comes, foreigners will come to work in Japan and have more opportunities to get on with foreigners. The number of hafu will be increasing from now on. Therefore, Japanese need to appropriate hafu and foreigners.
Hafuwokangaeyou [Let’s think about hafu].(2010). Sandra, H. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://half-sandra.com/qa/
Natalie, M. W, and Marcia, Y. L. (2010). The Hafu Project. The Hafu Project.
Seichisyugi [Jus Sanguinis]. (n.d.). Murato Lawyer Office. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://www.japan-immigration.com/article/14579964.html
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