Japanese aspect toward Hafu

by Ryota Takatsuka

What image do you have of hafu? Hafu means people who have one Japanese parent and one foreign parent. In Japanese, they are sometimes called “Ainoko” or “Konketsuji” and so on. What we can know from these word is that Japanese regard them as a not pure Japanese but as a half blood people. In fact, there are still discrimination against hafu in everywhere. For instance, according to the movie “Hafu project” almost all hafu people who interviewed have an experience that they were not treated as Japanese. In some case, when they were young, they were called “Gaikokujin” (means foreigner) and bullied. In general it is said that child is cruel because they do not cover word. However, what hafu people states is that they are still feeling as if they are outsider of Japanese society and they lost identity “Who am I”. This feeling gives Japanese a question”What make us treat hafu that way”.

In the movie “hafu project”, there some interesting interview of a Japanese young woman. She was asked the image of hafu people she has, and she answered”hafu people is cool and beautiful than us”. The point is she thinks hafu people has different characteristics and hafu is different from other people. In addition to this example, one man stated that he envy hafu, because they are bilingual.  From date which the director of this movie took, Japanese people pointed out almost same image they have such as cool. bilingual, and something about the differences what hafu have. Japanese tend to have image that hafu have a one Japanese aspect and other aspect from parent from oversea. This is why Japanese sometimes treat hafu as a foreigner because of such kind of image.

Due to this,what hafu people think of themselves? Many hafu people states they confuse whether they are Japanese or not. Once they in foreign country they feel I am Japanese, but in Japan they feel like different. This seems related with japanese image of Japanese people.

In my experience, some Japanese have narrow aspect against multiculturalism. Japanese have no education about culture in obligation education system. Japanese have less ability to understand the other aspect from other country, because we do not have knowledge about way of thinking. For example, I met person who is polychronic. He does not care about the time even when I rush him. I learned that there is such kind of idea in the world. As this experience shows Japanese people have to know the difference of other sense so that Japanese people adapt hafu.

Japanese society face aging problem and declining birth rate problem together. Therefore world tend to promote internationalization in terms of society, education and so on. In order to these situation around Japan, foreigner who try to get Japanese citizenship will be precious length for many field. My conclusion is Japanese should set an education about multiculturalism and promote reception of immigrants. Understanding of hafu people will be the key to develop internationalization in Japan.


Views from street on hafu (English Version), Hafu project, from  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi2r23e7fpA

Hafu’s identity, Hafu project, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96SbzJX1Jlw


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