Hafus’ citizenship and their identities

by Ryota Ochiai

You might have looked at a situation that a lot of hafu are living in Japan, today. In this article, hafu mean the people who are half-Japanese and half-something else. They spend days while they are often bound by that stereotypes like being seen as “cool” or “cute”.

However they are faced an important choice seriously until being 22 years old. The thing is “choosing own citizenship between two countries”. Dual citizenship is not accepted in the current Japanese Nationality Act (JNA). Therefore, hafu who chose Japanese citizenship have to withdraw another citizenship. In fact, however, hafu should leave the foreign citizenship when they will be foreign public such as police and member of National Diet. If in this case, hafu may only lose Japanese citizenship. However, the foreign citizenship does not disappear only by having reported that hafu chose the Japanese citizenship. Moreover, in Japan, there are no penal regulations about not withdrawing the foreign citizenship. It is approved by the government if I declare that “I choose Japanese citizenship.” However this declaration also means “an acting as for the withdrawal of the foreign citizenship” because JNA is telling. It is not compulsory to withdraw own foreign citizenship. These mean that “dual citizenship” might be accepted legally.

Nevertheless, the problem of the citizenship of hafu is not solved easily because of relating one country and another country. The time when hafu were born and family-forms maybe include in these factor. Ms. Sandra said that “If there are 10 hafus, there are 10 different stories about citizenship.”

We just see that hafu could have dual citizenship in Japan legally. Well, how about their identity? A problem of the identity for hafu is not “a problem in adult”, but “a problem facing you since you were child”. I felt unconsciously, that the way of thinking of human relations in “my foreign blood” is different from that of Japanese. I did not understand identity when I was a child. However I can felt what’s called “sense of estrangement” somehow. What distinguishes a Japanese from a foreigner? I fell into such a problem deeply in a childhood. However, an answer for oneself was found now. The answer is “not to distinguish own”. Even if two or three kind of bloods is flowing my body, it does not matter. Recognizing the environments that imposed on myself and taking it balance is my answer. I would like to take Japanese citizenship but I don’t want to waste my experiences and environment which are bound myself. Therefore I want to help hafu who are troubled with identity and say to them “Take it easy!”

Thank you for reading my post. I’m waiting your comments or feedback.

References

http://half-sandra.com/ <Thinking of Hafus’ Problems (Hafu ni tsuite kangaeyou)> written by Sandra Heferin.

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