'Haafu' to represent Japan at Miss Universe 2015

'Haafu' to represent Japan at Miss Universe 2015

TOKYO —

Whoever said that Niigata Prefecture is home the most beautiful women in Japan may need to think again. For the second year in the row, the Japanese representative for the Miss Universe competition hails from Nagasaki, with last year’s crown holder being Keiko Tsuji. As cool as that is, the real story of the year is that the 2015 representative, Ariana Miyamoto, is half-Japanese.

It’s no surprise that Western features are considered beautiful in Japan.  Sometimes, due to their alluring features, “haafu” are not always treated the same, or even as Japanese, as their native peers. Miss Nagasaki faced her fair share of race-related challenges too and although some people are against her acting as a representative for Japan due to her mixed heritage, she is also receiving a lot of support.

The final of the 18th Miss Universe Japan contest was held in Tokyo on March 8. As you’d expect, Miss Nagasaki faced some tough competition of equally beautiful and graceful young ladies, but it’d be a stretch to say that she didn’t stick out. However, it really was only her looks that set her apart, being born and raised in Japan, she is not only a Japanese citizen, but she identifies with Japanese culture and considers herself Japanese.

Twenty-year-old Ariana was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, the location of a major American naval base. After junior high graduation in Sasebo, she spent her high school years studying in the U.S. Upon returning to Japan as a young adult she set her sights on becoming a model.

Working part-time as a bartender, Ariana hesitantly entered the pageant scene, feeling that with her “foreigner look,” she would never make it far. How wrong she was!

But she’s not just a 173-cm bombshell; Ariana is described as a “saishoku kenbi,” “a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty.” Growing up in Japan, she is no stranger to Japanese culture and even has a 5th degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy. She lists her hobbies as cooking and “touring,” having obtained her motorcycle license, a rare thing for a young woman in Japan.

In an interview she revealed that the most influential person in her life is American pop-star Mariah Carey.

“She went through a lot of difficulties before becoming a popular singing sensation… She faced some racial hurdles, similar to myself, but she overcame them and became a top star, so she’s been a big influence on me.”

It’s wonderful that she has such a strong woman she can look up to, as well as a lot of very supportive friends, fellow contestants and fans. But unfortunately, not all Japanese people are excited about a half-Japanese girl representing their country. Being a very homogenous society, some people still have a time considering haafu as truly Japanese.

Although this should be a joyous occasion for the young beauty, Ariana is facing challenges that no other Japanese Miss Universe contestant to date has had to face, with those opposing Ariana voicing their dissent online with statements such as “She has too much black blood in her to be Japanese.”

As sad as it is, luckily, Ariana also has a very supportive fan base who are making an even bigger impact on social media with praise and congratulations.

“Don’t lose to discrimination and with a strong heart do your best to go win the Miss Universe prize.”
“Having a different ethnicity in you doesn’t make you ANY LESS JAPANESE!”

Ariana appreciates the support that helped her get to this point and promised, “The world competition is going to be tough, but I’ll believe in myself and continue doing me best!”

She has a long road ahead of her before the Miss Universe pageant in January of next year. She will be trained in walking, talking, make up, style and even physical training. We would love for her to win the world competition, because who better to represent the world (and universe) than a woman with a racially diverse background?

Sources: Model Press, Naver Matome, Twitter

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  • 14

    Sabrage

    Not 'haafu'.

    Should be called 'duburu' (double).

  • 6

    sillygirl

    Lovely young woman.

  • 11

    YongYang

    Ms Miyamoto, you go kick some butt young lady. Well done.

    Haafu? From the waist down or up? Left side or right? While the Japanese, on the whole --pardon the pun-- seemingly use the awful 'haafu' with no malicious intent, if they are going to use a katana-ized foreign word to describe something attributed to people they should be aware of its negative connotations. Half? Half of what? AS Sab wrote double, is much more positive, for a start.

  • 22

    sighclops

    2015 and we're still using the term 'haafu'.

  • 19

    Mark Lawrence

    Really hate the term Half. It's negative, mixed is much better.

  • 8

    375sensei

    Congratulations to Ariana and I hope she does Japan proud! The use of the term "haafu" always makes me laugh because it naturally leads to the notion then of who is "full" ? (or as many people in Japan say "pure") In fact, based on the study of mitochondrial DNA, no one is "pure" as "everybody on the planet carries the midochondrial DNA of one woman who lived 150 thousand years ago in East Africa". (One African "Eve" for All World's People, Charles Cobb Jr 2002) A timely reminder that we all came from the same place.

  • 13

    Yubaru

    She lists her hobbies as cooking and “touring,” having obtained her motorcycle license, a rare thing for a young woman in Japan.

    This author lives with her head in the sand. This is just one stereotype that needs to get slapped down quick. I know plenty of young women who have motorcycle licenses and enjoy "touring" . As a foreign writer one would think that the author would do a better job of researching her story before publishing it, but I guess she is a female version of Nathan Algren.

    But she’s not just a 173-cm bombshell;

    Again, the author here, in an attempt to titillate the readers, has no idea what the word "bombshell" means in the context she is using it in her article.

    The word "bombshell" was the precursor the word "sex-symbol" and used mainly during and prior to WWII. Ms Miyamoto is definitely NOT a sex symbol, and the author here degrades her by stereotyping her and making her out to be something she is not. The author should be ashamed for printing this, and even more so because she is a woman as well.

  • -24

    Frederic Bastiat

    Mulatto seems more accurate than "half".

  • -5

    cleo

    Really hate the term Half

    But it isn't half (an English word), it's haafu, a Japanese word. The only negative connotations are in the mind of the individual.

    What's really depressing is that a pretty lady is being defined in terms of her ethnicity, as if it mattered. And that she rabbits on about it in the video.

    if this is the Miss Universe contest, I'd like to see an article introducing Miss Mars, Miss Venus, Miss Alpha Centuri, Miss Vulcan, Miss Klingon, Miss Ewok...... we never hear about them.

  • 13

    zones2surf

    I read the big title with a big sigh! Really, Japan Today?? I get that this term is popular in Japan and some may view the term positively, but, c'mon, when you get past the "attention grabbing appeal of the term, it actually is rather offensive.

    I mean, half what? Half not Japanese? She is a Japanese citizen. Her ethnicity may not be 100% "Japanese", whatever the heck that is, but that does not make her any the less Japanese. And a publication like Japan Today should understand that. If a "100% Japanese ethnicity" young person were to grow up overseas their whole life, would they be "more Japanese" than her?

    Japan is going to have to begin to figure out that more and more Japanese nationals are of mixed race/mixed ethnicity. It may be a small percentage of the population, but I would think it is growing. And Japan is going to need to come to grips with the fact that being Japanese is not just about ethnicity. Or, shouldn't be.

    In the meantime, kudos to this lovely young lady. Go get 'em!

  • 6

    Yubaru

    Mulatto seems more accurate than "half".

    Cripes, what era are you living in? Must be the same as the author and her use of archaic vocabulary. The word mulatto while technically accurate is NOT used today and is considered by many to be just as bad as using the more offensive word that starts with an "N" that I can not write here due to the "automatic" censor.

  • 17

    NZ2011

    I look forward to the day when these distinctions don't need to be made.

  • 12

    Strangerland

    I knew the comments section would blow up with people complaining about the term half/haafu.

    When I was growing up, we would often talk about our background. "I'm half French, 1/4 English and 1/4 Russian", or "I'm have German, half Dutch" were common replies.

    Never once, not even once, did someone have to make a wise crack about which half/quarter was which country. It's a natural way of speaking, and there is no disrespect about it, it's simply identifying which county your parents/grandparents came from.

    I'm the proud parent of two haafus. They are half-Japanese, and half-[my country]. Nothing wrong with saying that at all, it's an accurate representation of their breakdown from their parents.

    being born and raised in Japan, she is not only a Japanese citizen, but she identifies with Japanese culture and considers herself Japanese.

    I understand the writing choosing to write it this way, but I think it would be more accurately written "she is not only a Japanese citizen, she is Japanese".

  • 3

    Farmboy

    It's a natural way of speaking, and there is no disrespect about it

    That's the way it should be, but not the way it usually is. Your parents may have been blessed with a good experience, but haafu is not a neutral term in Japan. The tone used when saying the word is rarely positive. Haafus need to be a little tough to put up with all of this.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    I'm the proud parent of two haafus. They are half-Japanese, and half-[my country]. Nothing wrong with saying that at all, it's an accurate representation of their breakdown from their parents.

    I guess you do not realize that you are perpetuating a stereotype when you talk about your own children in this manner. You do not even realize that you are helping to make them think they are different that any other Japanese person and in a negative manner not a positive one.

    Accepting diversity is not something you nor many other Japanese understand.

    I understand the writing choosing to write it this way, but I think it would be more accurately written "she is not only a Japanese citizen, she is Japanese".

    Wrong......It would be more accurately written this way..."She is Japanese." nothing else needed, actually I correct myself here, the MORE accurate way would to not even need to write it in the first place, Miss Universe Japan, Arianna Miyamoto......if folks can't accept her diversity they should keep their heads in the sand.

  • 2

    YongYang

    @Stranger: I disagree, anyone is undoubtably whole from each, two wholes, not two halves. Your children don't know half a cultural aspect from each contribution but the whole, again, it's not how it is used or received in Japan and by the Japanese, but internationally, "haafu" as the now dated and inappropriate half-cast is another way to divide, a 'us and them' soundbite, that categorises 'others' as different. Nationalities are a human abstract, so defining yourself as such immediately restricts your definition, we can be more than that. Just look at Miss Universe.

  • 5

    Commodore Shmidlap (Retired)

    Fantastic story. The part about the motorcycle license reminds me of years ago when I was taking Japanese lessons at the local community center. Our teacher brought us a bunch of magazines to use as realia in our lesson and I ended up with a motorcycle magazine. I stupidly assumed this magazine was her husband's or boyfriend's. During our break, I started thumbing through it and our teacher asked me (in Japanese) if I like motorcycles. I answered yes (in Japanese). She broke into a huge grin and mimed revving a motorcycle engine with the handlebar throttle and said loudly and proudly, "I LOVE MOTORCYCLES!"

    (In Japanese)

    And I love people who do whatever it is they love to do. Good luck to Ms. Miyamoto at Miss Universe 2015!

  • 3

    oldman_13

    The beautiful irony in this is many.

    When elements of Asian nations talk about the 'beauty' of mixed race people, for the most part everyone assume it's a mix of Asian and White. So, for the judges to choose a mixed raced contestant of African descent, how wonderful is that.

    Also, it sends yet another statement about all the negative stereotypes about all Japanese being 'racist' and all. No doubt the haters will fixate on those certain Japanese that do not agree with her representing Japan, but there's haters in every race/ethnicity/nationality (who can forget Rima Fakih).

  • 5

    marcelito

    Half or double... You go Ariana and show those racist twits with their " she is not Japanese enough " BS. Hope you make it to the final stage and shut them up. Power to you.

  • 3

    papigiulio

    half, mixed, double.....perhaps we can just stop using these terms altogether. In a couple of decades the whole planet will be one giant mix anyway.

  • 9

    Strangerland

    haafu is not a neutral term in Japan. The tone used when saying the word is rarely positive.

    I disagree. In fact, I don't recall ever hearing the word used negatively.

    Do you speak Japanese?

    I guess you do not realize that you are perpetuating a stereotype when you talk about your own children in this manner.

    No, I refuse to consider it a stereotype. Not the same thing.

    You do not even realize that you are helping to make them think they are different that any other Japanese person and in a negative manner not a positive one.

    No. I tell my kids they are Japanese-plus. They get to be fully Japanese, with extras that the average Japanese doesn't get - English from birth, family in multiple countries, a perspective of Japan from outside Japan that most kids don't get, an additional culture (within our home).

    My kids aren't the same as other Japanese. They are lucky enough to get these extras. That is most definitely not a negative.

    Accepting diversity is not something you... understand.

    What a ridiculous comment. You obviously know nothing about me, my experiences, the circumstances I grew up in, nor my thoughts on diversity. You are just uppity because you don't like the fact that I disagree with your and other poster's thoughts on the word haafu.

    anyone is undoubtably whole from each, two wholes, not two halves.

    This is categorically incorrect for my kids. They are not two wholes. While they are fully Japanese, they only have limited experiences with my culture, from the few trips we have had to my homeland, and growing up with me in the house. To say they are wholly of my culture is not correct. So if you are going to take issue with the term 'half', then you should also take issue with the term 'double', as neither are entirely correct.

    internationally, "haafu" as the now dated and inappropriate half-cast is another way to divide, a 'us and them' soundbite, that categorises 'others' as different.

    It's not international at all. In fact, it's only a few foreigners in Japan, who rarely are halfs themselves, who have issue with the term.

  • 9

    Silvafan

    I saw some of the twitter feeds about her winning Miss Japan. It seems most of the Japanese antagonists don't like her because she is not only "haafu" but also the wrong kind of "haafu". One parent is Japanese and the other is Black-American. This ruins all of their ideas about beauty associated with "white skin", and their hierarchy used to rate the social value of certain ethnicities in Japan.

  • 7

    marcelito

    Strangerland - telling your kids they are Japanese plus... I like it. Thumbs up mate.

  • 8

    kickboard

    I agree strangerland. Though I dislike the term, "haafu" is usually associated with good looks and being able to speak 2 languages here in Japan. Typically, a person would say "haafu desuka? iina~." I also agree that it has been used to refer to biracial kids of European and Asian ancestry, although Filipino mothers are encouraging their kids to state that they are "haafu" due to the positive connotations of the word.

  • 1

    Farmboy

    I disagree. In fact, I don't recall ever hearing the word used negatively.

    That's amazing. Your kids will undoubtedly hear the word used that way, and I hope you will accept their experience and not deny it when they start talking to you about it. If you go on as if it were not so, they will not talk to you about it anymore, but will continue to experience it.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    I disagree. In fact, I don't recall ever hearing the word used negatively.

    You really don't get it do you. Just using it is negative.

  • 2

    Strangerland

    Your kids will undoubtedly hear the word used that way, and I hope you will accept their experience and not deny it when they start talking to you about it. If you go on as if it were not so, they will not talk to you about it anymore, but will continue to experience it.

    Again, another ridiculous comment with no basis in the reality of how I raise my kids.

    I already discuss discrimination with my older kid (the smaller one is still too young to understand). I've explained that some people will be jealous of the fact that he is half. And if/when someone uses the term negatively, I'll deal with it at that time.

    But that doesn't change the fact that I've not heard the term used negatively. Well, with the exception of when foreigners are talking about it that is.

  • 3

    borax

    Strangerland,

    When I was growing up, we would often talk about our background. "I'm half French, 1/4 English and 1/4 Russian", or "I'm have German, half Dutch" were common replies.

    What you're talking about here is an innocuous topic of conversation, something that might come up only every now and then. The term haafu is very different because it's a label. In this country, wherever they go and whatever they do, they will be a haafu first, their name and identity second. I don't think as many Japanese people use the term negatively as some commenters here are claiming, but even if it's used neutrally or positively, it's still an unnecessary label, one that marks them as being different from Japanese people, even if they're Japanese citizens and live their entire lives here.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    You really don't get it do you. Just using it is negative.

    You really don't get it do you. It's not.

    What you're talking about here is an innocuous topic of conversation, something that might come up only every now and then. The term haafu is very different because it's a label.

    Sorry, but both are labels, or neither are.

    In this country, wherever they go and whatever they do, they will be a haafu first, their name and identity second.

    That's a difference in the weight people place on the label.

    even if it's used neutrally or positively, it's still an unnecessary label, one that marks them as being different from Japanese people, even if they're Japanese citizens and live their entire lives here.

    For the majority of halfs, they ARE different from the majority of Japanese.

  • 0

    80393

    @strangerland

    they are fully Japanese

    in the article and in your post they are referred to as "half japanese", which is what every one is upset about. born in japan, raised in japan -- japanese

  • 1

    Mocheake

    Have to agree with the people who say they have heard the term 'haafu' used negatively. Only recently, maybe, has it become kind of positive because they put a few mixed-race people (almost all with very pale facial features) on TV. The real world is different and I know a few who went through a lot. In the end, you all know that they will never be considered ''Japanese.'' Ariana, good luck to you but this is what it boils down to: win and you're in (for now). Lose and we never heard of you.

  • 4

    Yubaru

    You really don't get it do you. It's not.

    I sit here trying to carry on an intelligent discussion with someone who has taken becoming Japanese a priority in their life. I could sit here a tell you all sorts of experiences that countless numbers of AmerAsian children and adults have had to deal with by being called half and you would end up dismissing all their hardships and emotional problems based upon your minuscule experience with one child.

    It isnt semantics, it's like in a way when blacks were called N, at the time NO ONE thought anything was wrong with it, because it was accepted by one part of the population. In a manner of speaking using the word half has the same derogatory meaning, whether you intend it or not. It's, as mentioned previously, the "us vs them" mentality that many if not most Japanese feel. Japanese are never "gaijin", Japanese are of the misconstrued belief that they are ethnocentric, and people who are of mixed heritage can ever be "truly" Japanese.

    It's the people that get called it that count. Not you, not me, but I can understand it better than most as I will always be seen as gaijin, even though my nationality is Japanese.

  • -2

    Strangerland

    in the article and in your post they are referred to as "half japanese", which is what every one is upset about. born in japan, raised in japan -- japanese

    I agree, born and raised in Japan = Japanese. That doesn't change the fact that they are half Japanese. 'Japanese' refers to three different things: culture, ethnicity, and citizenship. It requires context to determine which one(s) are being referred to. Ideally the English language would differentiate between the three, but it doesn't, so we need to make do with the limits of the language.

    In the end, you all know that they will never be considered ''Japanese.''

    Again, I disagree. I find most people who make such claims have a chip on their shoulder about being foreign.

  • -1

    rickyvee

    the same people that get upset over the word haafu also get upset over the word gaijin, i think. it's an imperfect label but what's the alternative? bicultural or mixed or double? society will judge them regardless of the label so it's up to the parents to instill in their kids the positive nature of having parents from two different countries.

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    I'm not color conscious.

  • 2

    Sensato

    Lots of talk on this thread so far about use of the word "half" or "haafu."

    I usually avoid it in Japanese and English for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the word's relation to "half-breed" which is highly offensive to many particularly in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-breed

  • 2

    DenTok2009

    It would be wonderful if one can have a parent of African origin and not elicit gasps of admiration of embracing the Japanese culture and identity (raised and educated for the most part in Japan; educated in the Japanese school system). I wonder whether this concept of being "pure" will ever fade away; when that happens, the whole nation will be speaking English as well as the neighboring countries where English is spoken as well as the native tongue. It seems like in order for those who are haafu or kuotaa Japanese to be taken as "proper" Japanese, they have to be mono-cultural. "I have a gaijin parent but I went to Japanese schools and I don't speak my parent's native tongue or really know about his culture." sort of quip. Or, the Japanese will say, "Haafu dakara ne..." I think the Japanese who get away with being bi-cultural are the ones whose parent had the enviable position of being transferred overseas so they lived in a foreign country. If you have a gaijin parent and grew up in Japan then the onus is on you to show you are as good as the "pure" Japanese or as awful as they are in speaking English or embracing diversity.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    the same people that get upset over the word haafu also get upset over the word gaijin, i think. it's an imperfect label but what's the alternative?

    Use my name?

    (BTW I dont get "upset", (Used to many years ago, but not any more) because I know and understand the history and reasons why they came about and all have negative connotations, yet it's hard to blame the average person here for using them, it's out of their own ignorance, that's all. To change it means diversity education from a very young age, something Japan is going to seriously have to consider with it's ever aging population.)

  • -1

    Strangerland

    you would end up dismissing all their hardships and emotional problems based upon your minuscule experience with one child.

    Again, a baseless comment. I've only discussed one child. Your comment then extrapolates that to mean that I have no other experiences with half kids, half adults, or in fact any multi-racial people in Japan at all. Your inability to realize that I may have other experiences shows a narrow-mindedness that makes me question any judgement you may pose, since you don't seem to be able to see a bigger picture.

    it's like in a way when blacks were called N, at the time NO ONE thought anything was wrong with it, because it was accepted by one part of the population.

    The point you are missing here, is that with your example, one label was traded for another (for the better of course). The new label is one without the negative connotations. Black people were once called the N-word. Now they are called 'African Americans' or 'black people'. A differentiation label still exists. The reason that the N-word is bad isn't just the us vs. them mentality, it's the fact that it's the term that was used when black people were property, when they were owned. The terms 'African American' or 'black people' can still be uttered with vehemence, the wording doesn't change that.

    Whether we call the 'halves' or 'doubles', the terms can be used in a negative or positive manner, depending on the feelings and intentions of the speaker. My point is that the term half isn't negative in and of itself, and many, if not most, Japanese people don't use it in a negative manner. It seems to be only the foreigners who have a chip on their shoulder about the manner.

    society will judge them regardless of the label so it's up to the parents to instill in their kids the positive nature of having parents from two different countries.

    Exactly.

  • 7

    gaijinfo

    It’s no surprise that Western features are considered beautiful in Japan.

    Why is this relevant? She doesn't have any Western Features. She has Japanese and African features.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    My point is that the term half isn't negative in and of itself, and many, if not most, Japanese people don't use it in a negative manner.

    Here is the point of the problem with your perception and understanding of the word. Just because someone does not use with a negative connotation does not make it right.

    It's that simple.

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    Cleo, Stranger,

    My kid is a haafu and I'm proud of it.

    Would not upset me, or him, if anybody calls him that.

    What does annoy me is those who can't figure out that racism is a two-way street.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    Here is the point of the problem with your perception and understanding of the word. Just because someone does not use with a negative connotation does not make it right.

    Here's the problem with your perception of the word. Just because someone uses it with a negative connotation does not make it wrong.

    The difference between you and I is that you are seeing the glass half empty (or am I supposed to say doubly empty?) whereas I just see a glass that has half its volume filled with water.

  • 0

    Brainiac

    No offense to Ariana, but personally, I don't find her features that beautiful. I guess I prefer the Kurara Chibana look.

  • 1

    Iain McSwan

    Either way she's HOT so who cares if she's "haafu"

  • 2

    Wakarimasen

    Amazed that the judges chose someone who is not "pure:" Japanese. slow progress (given this is a beauty contest) but still.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    To those saying Japanese people say this or that about 'pure Japanese', what term exactly are they using in Japanese? I'm trying to recall situations in which Japanese people have used the term with me, but nothing is coming to mind.

  • -3

    Mr. Noidall

    My point is that the term half isn't negative in and of itself, and many, if not most, Japanese people don't use it in a negative manner. It seems to be only the foreigners who have a chip on their shoulder about the manner.

    I think the problem with your opposing debaters, Strangerland, is that they fail to realize that you have a personal relationship with all Japanese and foreigners in Japan. So they don't feel the weight that your opinions hold on the issue; they also don't get that your experiences and perceptions can and should be opened like an umbrella and everyone else's experiences and perceptions can and must find haven and just expression underneath that umbrella.

  • 0

    Wc626

    Wow, really. This surprised me too- that judges didn't select "pure" Japanese. Good on the judges. What a great new twist to go in this direction. Now maybe more "halfs" could use the momentum.

  • -3

    Strangerland

    Would you not say that they are expecting my experiences to fit under their umbrella?

  • 1

    T_rexmaxytime

    These Miss Universe pagents are sponsored and organized by none other then Mr. sleeze ball Donald Trump.

    Beauty comes in many forms. Lets stop catering to Mr Trumps fetishes anymore.

  • 10

    philly1

    Being born and raised in Japan, she is not only a Japanese citizen, but she identifies with Japanese culture and considers herself Japanese.

    You have to ask: Being born and raised in Japan as well as holding Japanese citizenship, how could she be anything else?

    Being a very homogenous society, some people still have a time considering haafu as truly Japanese.

    Correction: Being a very racist society, some Japanese people still have a very hard time considering haafu as truly Japanese.

    She has too much black blood in her to be Japanese.

    Racism pure (how ironic!) and simple.

  • 0

    gokai_wo_maneku

    So I watched the video. Was drowning out what she was saying with loud background music intentional? Or just sucky production quality? I wonder...

  • 0

    Salsero

    I might as well join the waste of time here. People are "half" because it is short for "half and half" or "50/50". "Double," as suggested by some is more ridiculous; it sounds as if one is referring to Siamese twins, or two complete entities. Sorry, but "haafu" people in Japan, nor anywhere else, are two complete entities, not even if they are schizophrenic. As some earlier poster said, the problem is in peoples' heads, for the most part, not in the word. Having said that, "mixed" would be ideal, but I don' lose any sleep over words like "haafu" and "gaigin."

  • -1

    Strangerland

    I don't mind the term mixed either. But you can guarantee that some would complain that it represents 'mixed up' or some other such reaction.

  • 1

    Kaerimashita

    One day the wholw orld will be some form of mixed race (if we don't destroy the planet before) and all the better for it.

  • 2

    harvey pekar

    So sad. You can be born in Japan, be raised like any other Japanese child, speak the language, live the culture through and through, but if your mom or dad isn't Japanese, you'll never be Japanese either by their archaic standards. You'll always be called "half", an "other" or an outsider.

    Such blatant racism and discrimination to me.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    Such blatant racism and discrimination to me.

    And making a blanket statement that all Japanese think this way isn't?

  • 1

    Mr. Noidall

    Would you not say that they are expecting my experiences to fit under their umbrella?

    Here, you make a good point, Strangerland. But I think you're bending over backwards in an effort to ignore a real and serious problem. Sure, maybe all of your interactions with Japanese have been nothing less than morning mist and nectar, and like my good mate from down under would say: good on ya! But I'm going to jump and say your perceptions of those interactions are very influenced by the fact that you seem to have a lot at stake by being in Japan, i.e., kids and a wife, I'm assuming. Or maybe you love manga and video games to an unhealthy obsession. I don't know. But to argue that the term "haafu" never leaves the mouths of some Japanese ( you said most if not many) in a derogatory manner is simply being fake. It is used as a way to point out that the target is not fully Japanese-- not only in the DNA sense either, but exponentially more in the abstract sense. And you don't have to admit it. And your private experiences won't change the fact. I think you spilled the beans on yourself when you told us that you tell your children they're Japanese-plus. Where does the need for that come from if not from the idea that you need to assuage their insecurities about something? And, then, from whence the insecurities?

  • 1

    HollisBrown

    I hate the term 'haafu'.

    I find it quite revealing that it's an important point of reference when reporting on such people. Why is it necessary to point out that a person doesn't have 2 Japanese parents when said person is a Japanese citizen?

    I can kind of understand a desire to make reference to it if it was the other way round - as and when such people make the news in Japan - but I rarely hear it (e.g. Sean Lennon, George Takei, Bryan Clay - non Japanese nationals, with one or more Japanese parent). This in itself brings up an interesting web of logic.

    1.George Takei, born in America to two Japanese parents - he is 100% Japanese in everything except his passport. Would he be called 'haafu'? If not, is there a special word for him? Are his kids 'haafu'?

    2.Seiji Ozawa, the famous Japanese conductor - born to two Japanese parents in China, and lived there until 9 years old. Certainly not 'haafu', but this shows that being born overseas doesn't mean someone is less Japanese. It's never referred to, and rightly so, that he was born and raised in China i.e. implying he is less Japanese than someone who was actually born here.

    3.Is Sean Lennon 'haafu'? He should be because one of his parents is Japanese. I expect not though because he's an American citizen (born in New York). If he'd have taken his mother's nationality, would he have then become a 'haafu'?

    4.If Ariana Miyamoto, or Becky, or another 'haafu' marries a Japanese man and has a child, is this child a 'haafu', or a 'kuota-', or does the mother simply revert to being Japanese when bearing kids so the child is just 'Japanese'?

    There are of course cases when the term 'haafu' is never used - see Wada Akiko, born Kim Bok-Ja (Korean father, Japanese mother). The only reason I can come up with as to why she's never refered to as 'haafu', or in fact why her mixed parentage is never brought up, is that she isn't 'cute', and she's 'old' (i.e. of a generation which that sort of thing isn't discussed).

    How many people actually know this about Wada Akiko? Ask your Japanese family and friends - not many. Therefore it's not important, and it's not a piece of information that needs inserting every time a Japanese national with mixed parentage makes the news.

  • -3

    Strangerland

    I think you're bending over backwards in an effort to ignore a real and serious problem.

    No, not at all. I feel that the posters here are misdiagnosing the problem. The problem isn't in the term half, it's in attitudes by some Japanese towards outsiders. There is nothing wrong with the term itself, especially considering we use it the same way in English without any troubles.

    maybe all of your interactions with Japanese have been nothing less than morning mist and nectar

    I don't know where you ever got that idea. I've been here nearly 20 years and had a number of interactions that babe left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.

    maybe you love manga and video games to an unhealthy obsession.

    I'm not a gamer and I've never been into manga.

    to argue that the term "haafu" never leaves the mouths of some Japanese ( you said most if not many) in a derogatory manner is simply being fake

    That's a straw an - the claim you are saying I made is not one I've made.

    I think you spilled the beans on yourself when you told us that you tell your children they're Japanese-plus. Where does the need for that come from if not from the idea that you need to assuage their insecurities about something?

    What? You are painting my comments with your own insecurities if anything - the conversation with my kids never came from a stance of insecurity, so the premise behind your comment and the follow up question is baseless.

  • -3

    cleo

    So sad. You can be born in Japan, be raised like any other Japanese child, speak the language, live the culture through and through, but if your mom or dad isn't Japanese, you'll never be Japanese either by their archaic standards. You'll always be called "half", an "other" or an outsider.

    So sad. You can be born in America, raised like any other American child, speak the language, live the culture through and through, and even if both your mom and dad are American but way back one of their ancestors was a slave, you'll never be American by their archaic standards. You'll always be called 'African-American'.

    Gotta say I would find that state of affairs much more difficult to deal with. My kids are older than Strangerland's, and for them being haafu has never been a problem and has often been to their advantage. It never affected their friendships when they were little, never affected their education, never affected their career opportunities. Being what is generally considered to be very good-looking has never been anything but a plus. Insecurities? Nope.

    To those saying Japanese people say this or that about 'pure Japanese', what term exactly are they using in Japanese? I'm trying to recall situations in which Japanese people have used the term with me, but nothing is coming to mind.

    Me neither. Doesn't happen.

    What does annoy me is those who can't figure out that racism is a two-way street.

    Yup.

  • -1

    timbo

    I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but Mariah Carey as her role model?! She can do better than that. The woman is a sub-talent, ego-driven over-singer. She probably hasn't had an original idea in her entire career, and is so image sensitive that she has her album covers Photoshopped to make her legs look longer. There must be a few women in Japan who would make far better role models.

  • -1

    wtfjapan

    *Really hate the term Half. It's negative, mixed is much better.*** depends how you look at it,, halfu could also mean half of something better or the best halfs of both worlds.

  • 2

    WilliB

    Hollis brown:

    " I hate the term 'haafu'. I find it quite revealing that it's an important point of reference when reporting on such people. Why is it necessary to point out that a person doesn't have 2 Japanese parents when said person is a Japanese citizen? "

    This eternal complaining about "haafu" is one of my pet peeves.

    I have no problem with the term, and imho it is a completely concocted issue. There is no malice in "haafu", it is simply a description. My kids are all haafu and are proud of that. For that matter, most Americans I know are happy to tell everybody who wants to listen that they are half this and quarter that and an eight that and so on and so on..... it is simply talking ancestry. Why the heck is that suddenly an issue in Japan?

    And no, my kids are not "double" anything that is absurd. That makes them sound like two-headed monsters. They have 2 parents, not 4, and are half this and half that. And they are proud of it.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    The problem isn't in the term half, it's in attitudes by some Japanese towards outsiders.

    Some? More like a majority. However, by your own words here you fail to see the point. You justify your position by saying the word in and of itself is harmless. Obviously you are not affected by "words", but those words reflect the attitude.

    There are plenty of words in the English language that in their original meaning are harmless but today, use them at your own risk.

    The word haafu is NOT English, it's a Japanese term to describe a person who is not 100% "pure" Japanese racially.

    Japanese in general have a difficult time distinguishing between race, ethnicity, and citizenship. They understand A Japanese-American, but can not wrap their minds around the idea of an American-Japanese, explaining simply, they do not recognize that an American or any other foreigner can become Japanese.

    You are perpetuating their stereotypes and their ignorance and you do it with your child8ren) as well when you call them "Japanese"- plus. You are in effect pointing out to them that they are different, you are explicitly saying that they are better than Japanese because you say they are "plus", which is just a word right?

    You are acknowledging the problem with the word by your actions and your words. You say one thing here, but something different with your own. Sorry mate but you come across as living in a bubble and trying to defend the indefensible.

  • 1

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    When Japan was trying so hard to host the Olympic games, it paraded a French-born personality Christel Takigawa to push Tokyo as having O-MO-TE-NA-SHI, and it worked wonders. I hope Ms. Miyamoto makes it all the way, and becomes a similar international symbol of Japan. It will also shut up the depressingly racist posts that have been flooding the boards like 2-channel.

  • -3

    Christopher Glen

    I hate this term "haafu". Almost as derogatory as "gaijin". If you have Japanese citizenship, then you are Japanese. Your origins don't matter

  • 3

    Mr. Noidall

    So sad. You can be born in America, raised like any other American child, speak the language, live the culture through and through, and even if both your mom and dad are American but way back one of their ancestors was a slave, you'll never be American by their archaic standards. You'll always be called 'African-American'.

    What a bale of balderdash. If someone could just take a breather from their anti-Yankee pipe they might be able take in the fact that African-Americans designated themselves as such a way to reestablished some sense of their connection with Africa which got severed through slavery. Oh! The fresh air! But back on topic about this "haafu" in Japan shish.

  • 1

    80393

    strangerland,

    so we need to make do with the limits of the language.

    i disagree. language is not static. we can change what is acceptable by carefully choosing which words we use. we've done it countless times when a word is seen by those who would be described by it as offensive.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    If you have Japanese citizenship, then you are Japanese. Your origins don't matter

    Quite so, in a perfect world this would be true, but from experience I can tell you in Japan it does matter. I am a naturalized Japanese citizen. To the people who know me, it's cool, but to strangers I am ALWAYS seen as either "haafu" or "gaijin" and they are bewildered when they find out differently. I'm cool with it, but I know it's from their own ignorance and lack of education (from their government) . Do I like it? Hell no, do I go out of my way to make a big deal about it? Hell no twice....It isnt worth it, and it gets tiring.

    .

    The only reason I can come up with as to why she's never refered to as 'haafu', or in fact why her mixed parentage is never brought up, is that she isn't 'cute', and she's 'old' (i.e. of a generation which that sort of thing isn't discussed).

    Nothing to do with the generation thing, it has ALL to do with where the one parent comes from. Typically Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and other "Asian" people are not given the "haafu" label unless their one parent is distinctly caucasian or black . Wada Akiko is another story. There are thousands like her in Japan, and Japanese history will show that many of the elite ruling classes intermarried centuries ago with people from Korea and China, but they are not thought of as being "gaijin" as much as white or black westerners are here.

  • -2

    cleo

    African-Americans designated themselves as such a way to reestablished some sense of their connection with Africa which got severed through slavery.

    I always understood it was to get away from the N-word. But when African-Americans (some of them with more white than black blood in their veins) designate themselves 'African-American', it's a breath of fresh air, and when haafus in Japan designate themselves 'haafu', it's somehow bad?

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Some? More like a majority. However, by your own words here you fail to see the point. You justify your position by saying the word in and of itself is harmless. Obviously you are not affected by "words", but those words reflect the attitude.

    First, I disagree with your statement that the majority feel the way you say they do. And therefore the rest of your statement can only be considered if your premise was correct. And as I said, I don't believe it is.

    Japanese in general have a difficult time distinguishing between race, ethnicity, and citizenship

    Not just Japanese. It's a confusing issue for everyone, as the term Japanese can refer to citizenship, culture, or ethnicity. Look at the confusion between posters in this thread alone. Even I myself refer to myself as culturally half Japanese, but I'd never claim to be ethnically Japanese or a Japanese citizen.

    they do not recognize that an American or any other foreigner can become Japanese

    Culturally, ethically, or a citizen? It's not clear to which you are referring.

    You are perpetuating their stereotypes and their ignorance and you do it with your child8ren) as well when you call them "Japanese"- plus. You are in effect pointing out to them that they are different, you are explicitly saying that they are better than Japanese because you say they are "plus", which is just a word right?

    They are different. I'm not going to leave them adrift to wonder what it means to be bicultural simply because some people think that acknowledging it is not PC. That would be irresponsible parenting.

    As to making 'explicitly saying they are better', you weren't there for the conversation, so how would you know what I explicitly did or didn't tell them?

    You are acknowledging the problem with the word by your actions and your words.

    No, I'm not. You are trying to paint my actions with the paint brush of your perspective. Sorry, but as my perspective is drastically different from yours, any time you try to do that you are likely to fail, as you have been through this whole line of discussion.

    Sorry mate but you come across as living in a bubble and trying to defend the indefensible.

    And yet here I am defending it.

  • -2

    cleo

    from experience I can tell you in Japan it does matter

    From experience I can tell you that while at a personal level some individuals might have a problem getting their head around the difference between culture, ethnicity and citizenship (and it is their problem, not yours) not once have I ever seen an official form in Japan that asks a person's ethnic origin or make-up. If you have Japanese nationality, that's it, you're Japanese and who your parents are doesn't matter.

  • 10

    fishy

    myself being "haafu" and born and raised in Japan, I have never had any issue with the word "haafu". I basically agree with cleo and Strangerland.

    When Japanese people use the term "haafu", they don't mean anything negative. Those who get the negative vibe from the word are the ones who are from abroad or the ones that studied English outside of Japan.

    it is true that those of us who are mixed sometimes don't be looked at as fully Japanese but then again, I've never had any problems with it.

    Ariana is beautiful and best of luck to her!!!!

  • 6

    uniden

    My neighbors call my kids haafu, no worries. In West Philly I was called honkey, cracker, whitebread, ghost, paleface, pasty face, white m#ther f#cker, white bytch, and so many other colorful terms. Japan ain't that bad

    Howlie is another good one used in Hawaii. And if we so much as use the term 'black' instead of African American then we're automatically deemed racist haters. I love how racial equality in the modern day = revenge against the whites, instead of actual equality. Nothin changes.

  • -5

    genjuro

    Mulatto seems more accurate than "half".

    Cripes, what era are you living in? Must be the same as the author and her use of archaic vocabulary. The word mulatto while technically accurate is NOT used today

    Says who? The PC police?

    Anyhow, "half" or not, people shouldn't be making a big deal about it. It's what on the inside that counts. That's why I don't get why many people, Japanese mostly, quickly exclaim, "kawaii" when they see a child of mixed parentage. Just because one parent is foreign doesn't automatically make them cute, superior, more intelligent, etc. I've seen ugly, grotesque looking half-Japanese (big nose, uneven features, creepy eyes, etc.). It's all in the throw of the genetic dice.

  • 1

    turbotsat

    Kaerimashita: One day the wholw orld will be some form of mixed race (if we don't destroy the planet before) and all the better for it.

    It'll be a café au lait world.

  • 1

    itsonlyrocknroll

    But she’s not just a 173-cm bombshell; Ariana is described as a “saishoku kenbi,” “a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty.”

    Wow a payload-carrying projectile with a pout and mastery of Japanese calligraphy............Don't see that everyday....

    As Haafu, the biracial multicultural terminology has never presented any practical issues not in Japan or UK. My family environment is positive, and enlightened , although my parents had a few ethnic cultural hoops to jump through.

  • 2

    Reckless

    According to the Urban Dictionary, a mulatto is a person with black and white ancestry, so she is NOT a mulatto.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Good luck is all I'm going to say, and don't let any haters get you down.

  • -2

    HollisBrown

    If you have Japanese nationality, that's it, you're Japanese and who your parents are doesn't matter.

    Right.

    So why the need to use the term 'haafu'?

    It's ironic that you can only be 'haafu' if you are in fact Japanese. Take the nationality of the other parent, and you'd be called a foreigner, America jin, etc.

    As I was trying to point out before, I could understand it if the term was being used in relation to a non-Japanese national who had a Japanese parent. But for Japanese nationals, I do find it rather ignorant.

    'Haafu-American', 'haafu-Nigerian' etc. and we'd be closer to a term that is a little more respectable (IMO!) - however that term would imply the person held dual nationality - which again ironically is something Japan doesn't allow. Therefore it should be Japanese, or non-Japanese - and none of this 'haafu' way house.

  • 1

    JaneM

    What does annoy me is those who can't figure out that racism is a two-way street.

    Exactly. And in spite of the fact that a young woman of bi-cultural origin was chosen to represent Japan, many still continue talking about how racist the Japanese are. The strange thing though is tha more often then not the ones who complain the loudest demonstrate racism and prejudice (though probably unintentionally) in their comments.

    In the area where I live, I often see elementary and (junior) high students of mixed origin walking, talking, having fun with their obviously 100% Japanese classmates. None of the students seem to notice the difference in appearance, skin color or whatever you might bring up as an example of a reason for racism.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    myself being "haafu" and born and raised in Japan, I have never had any issue with the word "haafu".

    I've known a number of born and raised in Japan haafu, and I've yet to meet one who had a problem with the word. Thank you for bringing your perspective to the conversation.

  • 2

    gogogo

    Stop using the word Haafu, she has a Japanese passport, she is Japanese.

  • 3

    Mr. Noidall

    I always understood it was to get away from the N-word. But when African-Americans (some of them with more white than black blood in their veins) designate themselves 'African-American', it's a breath of fresh air, and when haafus in Japan designate themselves 'haafu', it's somehow bad?

    The N-word? What's that? Negro, which they also designated themselves as. Ever heard of the NAACP? Anyway, I'm going to venture that a lot of "haafu" in Japan don't see the term as one of empowerment as African-Americans view their term. Therefore they don't adopt it as such. But what a silly parallelism in the first place. The point is that the term "haafu" is used in Japan by many in various ways including positive and negative. Japanese born haafu, however, will always be treated as haafu by the society before they're treated as Japanese, even when they are japanese! As a gaijin, I revel in that term, in Japan I can accept that because I wasn't born here, raised here, and educated here. But "haafu" will always be this "thing" in their own country. And if can't take off your blinders to see that, then I can't help you.

  • -5

    cleo

    So why the need to use the term 'haafu'?

    Why not? It's just a word, one that describes a certain characteristic. Are people being racist if they describe me as blonde or blue-eyed? Neither of those physical characteristics define me as a person, they give no clue to my personality, intellect or anything else. So why the need to use the term 'blonde'? Why must I be set apart in this way from my dark-haired, dark-eyed friends and neighbours?

  • 5

    fishy

    Strangerland - yes, and I even introduce myself as "haafu" when asked if one of my parents come from abroad.

    Also the term "haafu" is used in other Asian countries as well.

    I guess it is "politically correct" to pick a better choice of word but then again, the intention of the word when spoken by Japanese people is not negative.

    Those people who are against Ariana representating Japan have some other problems, not the word "haafu".

  • 1

    Bartholomew Harte

    Half this or half that i don't see the fuss & as far as a beauty ,i've seen better looking women on the streets. All these contests are nonsense!

  • -1

    dcog9065

    That's awesome! There are some absolutely ridiculously good looking Japanese halfies out there so this is a great precedent!

  • 4

    lucabrasi

    My kids, now seventeen and twenty-one, have always used "haafu" about themselves and otter people and never in a negative way.

    They also grew up with the haafu equivalent of "gaydar". When he was six, my son was at a barbecue where he went up to another boy, who looked to me a completely average Japanese kid, and asked "Haafu?". The reply, with a smile, was "Nnn, haafu yo!"

    He never could put it into words how he knew....

  • 1

    Jimizo

    'Half this or half that i don't see the fuss & as far as a beauty ,i've seen better looking women on the streets. All these contests are nonsense!'

    I totally agree about the competitions with them twittering on about love of children and world peace. By the way, where are those streets?

  • 1

    Alphaape

    Good luck to her. She is a beautiful young woman, and that should be what the people of Japan should be concerned with, how well she stacks (no pun intended) against the other women from around the world in the manner in which she presentes herself and her talent.

    As far as the Haafu argument goes, Japan needs to realize that with it's shrinking native Japanese birthrate, mixed raced children will become more and more prevelant. Nothing wrong with that, but you can't just look down at someone because they may not be "ethnically pure." Some of the people in Japan need to get into the 21st century in regards to the racial make-up of the world.

  • 1

    cleo

    The N-word? What's that? Negro, which they also designated themselves as.

    JT refuses to allow posts containing the other N-word.

    Ever heard of the NAACP? Anyway, I'm going to venture that a lot of "haafu" in Japan don't see the term as one of empowerment as African-Americans view their term.

    I don't see that haafus in Japan need empowerment? No Japanese citizen was ever (as far as I know) sent to the back of the bus/prevented from voting/called uppity on account of having one non-Japanese parent.

  • -3

    gyroman

    While the Japanese themselves see no negative connotation of the word, the people subject to it, are offended and that is what matters. Same as the argument for the African Americans. They objected to the N word and had been designated another agreeable term of African Americans. The big difference here is that they agree to it rather than being forced to be called what they consider derogatory. One other thing that needs to happen is that the media should be banned from using such terms. The average shimojo does not know any other way of saying it as long as all media announces saying that a 'haafu' is this or that. That I believe is the first change that needs to happen. They can describe the origins later, but in this case a 'Twenty year old beauty from Nagasaki is representing Japan at the Miss Universe'

  • -1

    Mr. Noidall

    No Japanese citizen was ever (as far as I know) sent to the back of the bus/prevented from voting/called uppity on account of having one non-Japanese parent.

    Ok. But a good question is: can a haafu easily rent an apartment in Japan?

  • 4

    fishy

    Ok. But a good question is: can a haafu easily rent an apartment in Japan?

    Yes, no problem at all. Never had any issue renting an apartment nor getting housing loan from bank.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    While the Japanese themselves see no negative connotation of the word, the people subject to it, are offended and that is what matters.

    Are they? The comments in this thread would seem to indicate otherwise. What exactly are you basing the above comment on?

    One other thing that needs to happen is that the media should be banned from using such terms.

    You have to first show that there is something wrong with the word before you start banning it.

    can a haafu easily rent an apartment in Japan?

    My haafu friend who grew up in Canada has always had it easier in renting than I have.

  • 4

    cleo

    But a good question is: can a haafu easily rent an apartment in Japan?

    It's not a good question at all. Neither my kids nor my friends' kids (all of them very definitely haafu-looking) ever had any problems renting, either as students or as adults. The question never arose. I have never heard of a Japanese citizen being refused housing on account of the ethnicity of one of his or her parents.

    the people subject to it, are offended

    Are they? My kids are not offended, my friends' kids are not offended, lucabrasi's kids are not offended, fishy says she is not offended. Seems it's the furriers who mistakenly equate haafu = half = halfbreed who are the offended ones.

  • 7

    WilliB

    Fishy:

    " myself being "haafu" and born and raised in Japan, I have never had any issue with the word "haafu". I basically agree with cleo and Strangerland. When Japanese people use the term "haafu", they don't mean anything negative. Those who get the negative vibe from the word are the ones who are from abroad or the ones that studied English outside of Japan. "

    Just fwiw, my kids who are all "haafu" and well-adjusted completely agree with you. And all of them shake their heads regarding this weird PC idea of calling them "double". None of them are identical twins, so there is nothing double there. I myself am one-quarter Polish and am happy to tell that to anyone who wants to know.

    Talk about a a non-issue.

  • 2

    zones2surf

    Would love to see the day when a mixed ethnicity Japanese becomes Prime Minister. That would be something! Perhaps my son some day?!

  • 2

    virgo

    One of the problems is that people all up in arms over "haafu" are not for the most part haafu. Do you know what ists like to be mixed race? The terms gaijin and haafu if changed to another term won't change the derision from the people who don't like mixed race people. I am a mixed race person. Most haafu people I have met don't decry the word its the attitude of those who don't want mixed "Japanese" around. You can make any word a negative. I can say "white" people in a conversation in such a way as to make anyone in earshot think I have no respect for them (whites). The same as a white can make "black" people a negative.

    This girl winning is a positive step. One day many Japanese will see that being "half" of what they consider Japanese will make no difference if the person was raised in the culture of Japan. It will take a while but the same as any country especially in the west....many bi racial people are called half this and that (race wise.) The parents raising there children as not to let the word hurt them and letting their kids realize that they can use it to some advantage as well as a sense of pride in their dual heritage should be applauded.

  • 1

    davestrousers

    I'm glad the kids and the people with kids are OK with the word. If I had kids I'd probably have to be too. Other choices would be to be really angry all the time.. or to try and alter people's sensitivities to this in Japan (futile).

  • 2

    harvey pekar

    Hi @cleo,

    You know what's the difference between "haafu" and "African-American"? In the states a news agency that doesn't want to get fired won't say, A black woman or African-American will represent the US at Miss Universe! They say, a woman from, for example, California will represent the US.

    While in Japan they constantly say, Tonight! Watch Japan's "haafu" talent! Or who is the cutest haafu talent? Or look, a haafu will represent Japan at Miss Universe. There are no reputable programs about ranking the cutest minorities in the US. They rank the cutest American for example, not the hottest Indian-American and so on.

    African-Americans or Asian-Americans and so on can run for office, be managers of a business, but how many haafu's can run for politics in Japan and win? Or blend in?

    http://thediplomat.com/2013/10/in-japan-will-hafu-ever-be-considered-whole/

  • -2

    Alphaape

    African-Americans or Asian-Americans and so on can run for office, be managers of a business, but how many haafu's can run for politics in Japan and win? Or blend in?

    For that mattter, when will a PM for Japan come from Okinawa or be of Korean decent?

    I hope that this young lady does well at the pagent and wins. Then you will see the naysayers who are against her all of a sudden get on the bandwagon to be her supporters. Kind of reminds me of a few years ago in Korea, when the Hines Ward from the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Superbowl MVP award, and how he was the hot item in Korean news since he is half black/half korean. The press loved him then and when he went back to visit he was well received. Never mind that not being an ethnically pure person he along with other mixed race children were subject to much prejudice.

    But I am sure that those who want to speak out against this young lady are some of the same who were against the half-French newscaster Christel Takigawa helped Tokyo win the 2020 Olympic vote as the city's ambassador for "cool".

  • 1

    Pidestroika

    I have issues with any term describing an individual by the color of their skin or their "blood". Best of luck to Ariana.

  • -3

    Yubaru

    Yes, no problem at all. Never had any issue renting an apartment nor getting housing loan from bank.

    Nice to see someone step up and represent the millions of haafus that live in Japan and speak as a single voice assuming everyone is the same.

  • 2

    JWithers

    “She has too much black blood in her to be Japanese.

    We have so many different stories on JT that trigger emotions within us. Emotions that make us speak out. But I have to say that this quote above has me ENRAGED!!!

    Blood is NOT black. We all have red blood coursing through our veins. I'm in FULL support or Ariana.

    Seems like she might have her own country against her!. Can you imagine how heavy that Japan sash would be if the narrow-minded spoke against her online? It would make those of less mental fortitude want to take scissors to it.

    Yes, she looks different from what we've come to know as Japanese but the truth is there's a demographic here in Japan that represents Japan.

    Pure blood nepotism has to come to an end.

  • -1

    cleo

    In the states a news agency that doesn't want to get fired won't say, A black woman or African-American will represent the US at Miss Universe!

    They made (and make) plenty of fuss about 'a black man or African-American made it to President'....

    I think a big difference is that in America, there was a time when non-whites were very much second-class citizens, so that even today any mention of a person's ethnicity is immediately seen as some kind of put-down. Hence the active steering-away from mention of race; it's far too thorny a topic, with lots of legitimate historical baggage. There's little point in trying to transfer American sensibilities to Japan; two very different societies.

    Then you will see the naysayers who are against her all of a sudden get on the bandwagon to be her supporters

    The article says her very supportive fan base is making a much bigger impact on social media than 'some people voicing their dissent online'. No matter who does what, someone somewhere isn't going to like it.

    Yubaru - The question was 'can a haafu easily rent an apartment in Japan?' to which fishy answered that she as a haafu had had no issue renting. Others including me provided similar answers. Do you have a single instance of a Japanese citizen being refused rented accommodation on account of their having a non-Japanese parent?

  • 2

    Addfwyn

    Nice to see someone step up and represent the millions of haafus that live in Japan and speak as a single voice assuming everyone is the same.

    Does every single haafu have to post here for you to accept their opinion? So far a majority have disagreed with you, themselves haafus. If one person agreed with you, would their opinion also be null and void? Or are people only incorrect if they disagree with you?

    It's an argumentu ad populum anyway, the popularity of a belief has almost no bearing on the veracity of that belief.

    My two cents, I'm not haafu myself nor do I have offspring who are. I have never perceived it as a negative term, and I know numerous haafus who use the term to identify themselves. None of them have ever seen it as a negative either, they've even done entire youtube video segments discussing why it isn't.

    Has somebody who hated half people used the term haafu negatively? I am also certain they have. That doesn't make the word offensive. I've been called white in a negative way, but that doesn't mean I think the word 'white' is offensive or that I will refuse to let people use that label.

    The label cannot be conflated with the intent behind it. Some words, such as the afforemention N-word, DO have an inherent negative context. It is associated with slavery, prejudice, and subjugation. Haafu does not. It can be used both positively or negatively, that depends on the meaning the individual attaches to it. Rather than try to censor the words people use, it would be better to deal with the underlying feelings that causes some to dislike haafus regardless of what they are called. Changing the label isn't going to make somebody who is racist suddenly love everybody. All it does is remove the label from those who use it correctly, which I feel is a majority to begin with.

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    Whatever the debate about her ethnicity I've seen better looking young ladies waiting for trains at Okachimachi station. That's true of most of these models... they may appeal to certain criteria for international beauty contests, but they don't hold a candle to some of the ladies out there.

  • -1

    Arimura

    To malicious people every word is malicious.

  • 9

    jpn_guy

    As a mixed race guy with a Japanese wife and (very) mixed race children, I have disagree with Cleo, Strangerland and others who think there is no trouble with the word haafu or Japanese attitudes to mixed race people.

    Log on to Girls Channel, Yahoo comments, or any other internet board and you will see that unfortunately the comments toward Ariana are mostly negative and that most of those negative comments contain the word haafu.

    More revealingly, the comments complaining about a mixed race lady winning generally conclude along the lines of 'I wish a pure Japanese had won'. Haafu and pure-Japanese go together as descriptive categories. If you have no problem with the former, you are endorsing the idea of the later. This way of dividing the world's people into, Japanese, half-Japanese, and everyone else is directly connected to ideas of Japanese racial purity and superiority. It may be used in a variety of contexts but the key meaning is clear - it means 'half not-Japanese', 'half not one of us'. That remains the case even when the context (e.g. I love haafu celebrities) is ostensibly positive.

    As we can see, the real problem with haafu is not the word, but the concept. Haafu is hard to translate into English because we have no equivalent. In the UK, where I'm from, we may talk about people being mixed race. However, this is just a descriptive term that is nothing to do with national identity. Most people, if they described me as mixed race, are not making a judgement as to my Britishness one way or the other. This distinction is important, but many commentators seem to miss it.

    The situation in Japan is very different. As we all know, haafu is almost exclusively reserved for and understood to mean people with one Japanese and one foreign parent, with no further reference as to where to foreign parent is from. The core meaning - 'you are not one of us' could not be clearer.

    So why do some haafus embrace the term? Well, I would argue its because they have their identity forced on them as a result of this di(tri?)chotomous world view. Having been refused their attempts to claim a 'Japanese' identity, they claim the haafu identity society as assigned the them as they have no alternative. Look at the comments from David in the trailer for the film 'Haafu'. He states that his one wish is for people to treat him like a regular member of society. He then goes onto say he found solace with other people who had been through the same thing.

    The trailer shows mixed race kids all playing together and asserting their identity, but from the rest of the commentary it's pretty clear they (at least the kids who were born and grew up in Japan speaking Japanese) would rather be treated like everyone else without being pigeonholed into a separate category. Their rejoicing in 'all haafus together' looks to me like people coming together to make the best of a bad situation they have been forced into. It's a false conclusion to look at their attempts to be positive and make the most of life and decide that everything is fine and dandy. In saying your child is a proud haafu, you are simply papering over the cracks and ensuring those who follow will have no choice but to give in to this identity and agree that they are not 'pure Japanese', whatever that is. And human history tells us that while the concept of 'pure Japanese' remains, it will always go hand in hand with the idea that pure is better.

    The psychological timeline here is clear. First there is rejection from society. Then there is the discovery of belonging in the minority group. Admittedly, this is possible solution to the (general) Japanese cultural insistence on treating an individual's parentage and ethnic appearance as their single most important attribute.

    No-one would wish to take away the camaraderie haafus find in each other. But is this the ideal solution? It might be the best one we have at the moment. But in the long run, I would prefer a Japan where people do not constantly categorize people according to their ethnicity and keep repeating 'haafu' 'haafu' over and over as if having one non-Japanese parent defines you as an individual. If, due to cultural pressure and the normalization of this world view, my kids grow up claiming to be proud haafus, then so be it. But I would rather them to live in a world where they are whoever they want to be and we are not having this conversation.

  • 7

    NZ2011

    At a cafe the other day I saw a group of kids playing from all around the world.. they didn't seem one little bit bothered that they were all different looking and different sounding.. how do we adults get it so wrong.

  • 0

    Shingo Miyashiro

    She's just as much Japanese as i am considered Australian by Japanese.

  • 3

    bass4funk

    @jpn_guy

    I agree with everything you said, I too, am mixed and have a japanese wife and mixed kids and it's not always easy, I read the comments on the site and many were sadly disappointing and while I think this is great news and JAPAN has come a long way, it still has a long way to go before we drop these stupid euphemisms. I still wish her all the luck. She deserves it.

  • 2

    Psyops

    I don't use the word "haafu" I don't want my son to learn bastardized English words. I call him my little Halfling which has a more Lord of the Rings feel to it. He understands his blood line is half JP and half US but thanks to the ex wanting to stay in the US the only Japanese thing he has is language. When asked his background he always answers American without a pause. If probed further he answers "my mom is Japanese but I'm American." That's my boy :)

  • 1

    noypikantoku

    Miss Universe is all about being stereotype right?

    I don't think it's Japan not being open to mixed, look at the entertainment industry here, Rola, Becky, Tsuchiya Anna, Kristel etc. they are all mixed but well accepted in Japan. The problem is MISS UNIVERSE set our minds up to be Stereotype. Women must be Tall, Must be skinny, Must walk in a certain classy way, Must answer the questions really fast, Must represent a country! Etc.So people got used to the "stereotype" category, and when someone doesn't fit the stereotype categories the people got confused and raise eyebrows. A woman who doesn't have any of the qualities above CANNOT BE a Miss Universe and will not get a title BEAUTY QUEEN. The question is… why don't we criticize these points first? Why tall ladies are only considered to be called beauty queens?

  • -2

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 05:22PM JST

    As a mixed race guy with a Japanese wife and (very) mixed race children,

    In the UK, where I'm from, we may talk about people being mixed race. However, this is just a descriptive term that is nothing to do with national identity. Most people, if they described me as mixed race, are not making a judgement as to my Britishness one way or the other.

    Would you describe the national identity of your children, please?

    Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity.

    Going back to the article, I think, when Ariana advances to the Miss Universe contest, the Western press would talk in length about her ethnicity, to the disappointment of some of the PC people here. This is beauty contest. Shape of face is determined by gene and that is why identical twins have identical faces. The gene is not free from ethnicity, and, therefore, a beauty contest cannot be free from ethnicity. If you do not like it, forget about beauty contests.

    PsyopsMar. 16, 2015 - 06:01PM JST

    I don't use the word "haafu" I don't want my son to learn bastardized English words.

    I think you should learn Japanese if you live in Japan. You will know why it is just impossible for your son not to learn "bastardized English words."

  • 2

    jpn_guy

    "I don't think it's Japan not being open to mixed, look at the entertainment industry here, Rola, Becky, Tsuchiya Anna, Kristel etc. they are all mixed but well accepted in Japan."

    This has been remarked on before, but your analysis is back to front. The above ladies are accepted because, in the entertainment industry, everyone is by definition set apart from the general population. Minority success in the entertainment industry is not indicative of wider social acceptance. It can often indicate quite the opposite. Mixed race celebrities may target the entertainment industry to make a living as they know other fields are not as open.

    If you read Japanese, go and look at some of the uncensored message boards filled with negative reaction to Miyamoto's win and see the reality of how 'open', or otherwise, Japan really is to mixed race people.

  • 2

    WhirledPeas

    I'm glad that a beautiful woman of mixed ethnic heritage has been chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant. This is a big step forward.for Japan. just as it was a big step forward for the US when it chose its very first Asian American, African American, or Latina to represent the US in a pageant. Even now there are still many Americans who assume that a Caucasian women would naturally be chosen to represent the US. And when the selected woman happens not to be white, the American public is still a bit surprised until it remembers that one can be of any race or ethnicity and still be an American! I imagine with the selection of Ariana the Japanese are facing a similar challenge to old assumptions. It is nice to know that a beauty pageant can offer the people of Japan and the US such valuable teaching moments!

  • -3

    harvey pekar

    @cleo

    seriously? you're comparing the first black president to a haafu representing Japan at Miss universe?

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    And going back to the mixed race celebrities, and to Ms. Miyamoto herself, in Japan these are not just celebrities or beauty queens who 'happen' to be mixed race. Sure, in the UK mixed race people are in all walks of life and people may comment on there 'mixed racedness' now and again. But in Japan, the 'haafu' aspect, is front and center, every single time, over and over to the point of obliterating the individuals other characteristics, and indeed their individuality. The reports on Ms. Miyamoto, positive and negative, all fall in to this trap. I don't see how anyone can argue that this excessive, borderline obsessive focus on ethnicity (something which is not of the individual's choosing) can be a positive force.

  • -3

    noypikantoku

    jpn_guy

    Mixed race celebrities may target the entertainment industry to make a living as they know other fields are not as open

    What are your basis to conclude that Mixed people are not getting the right treatment by the Japanese society then? please point out the points that mixed people are not treated well in Japan? are you sure that only mixed people are getting these bad treatments and pure Japanese don't suffer from the same issues? Give me the numbers of the unemployment rates of Mixed VS Pure and let's compare to see if Mixed Japanese cannot really get a living here and can only get jobs in the entertainment industry?

    Everywhere you go, there will always be narrow minded people, no matter country.

    Back to Miss Universe, Like what I've said ,can't blame if others' would think like that, especially the Miss Universe fanatics, as these event is all about being STEREOTYPE.... FIRST OF ALL, THE COUNTRY REPRESENTATIONS IS ALREADY A TRIGGER TO BECOME STEREOTYPE. why do these women need to represent their countries? why can't they just be THEMSELVES and forget about the sash and being addressed as MS. WHEREVER.

  • 1

    Psyops

    @CH3CHO - Actually I am fluent in Japanese, that's why I can conduct business and live in Japan. Hell, I'm fluent in multiple languages. I'm fully aware bastardized English abounds here and he will learn it but by having him think like that it serves another purpose. :D

  • -1

    noypikantoku

    jpn guy

    Mixed race celebrities may target the entertainment industry to make a living as they know other fields are not as open.

    What is your basis for these assumptions? can you give us a tally of the unemployment rate between Mixed VC Pure and see if mixed people cannot really get jobs here? Please let me know why do you think that Japan is not giving the Mixed people the right treatment?are you sure that the pure Japanese don't suffer from the same bad treatments?

    Going back to miss Universe, like what i've said above, It is a stereotype event, so I cannot blame it's fans for being stereotypes and that's the way the pageant is. Just the contestants' country representations alone is a trigger for being stereotype. Why do the contestants need to represent their countries? why don't they just represent THEMSELVES and forger about the sash saying MISS. WHEREVER? I mean the fundamental of these contest is to compare who is the most beautiful of all and then they represent the countries??? so what does it really say???

  • 8

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO "Would you describe the national identity of your children, please? Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity."

    Interesting that in the choices you kindly offered me above, 'only Japanese' is not one of your options. That says a lot about you.

    And since you ask, one child does indeed identify very firmly as Japanese. I've never asked her about it, but she used to say 'nihonjin dakara, eigo wakaranai' so that gives me a fair indication. Perhaps you would like to argue with her view of herself.

    As for the other, I don't know really, it's not come up and I've not asked him. We have much more fun things to talk about and he is not interested in nationality issues. But even if he identified as both British and Japanese, I cannot understand the point you are struggling to make.

    Firstly, any identification with the UK would be down to my nationality not my ethnicity. Maybe he feesl British to an extent. Even if he does, that would be because his dad has a UK passport not because of his dad's ethnicity. You seem very confused, so I hope this helps you out.

    Secondly, when you state "If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity" I would guess you mean that if they identify as British then their identity as Japanese is impacted. Again, you are way of base here. A kid can identify as British without any impact on their Japanese identity, if that is how they see themselves.

    Many Japanese people, and people like you, treat identity as a zero sum game like a war is going on an we have to choose sides. In some people, it's possible to feel a deep sense of love and affection for two nations and feel equally at home in both (notwithstanding the people constantly trying to tell you you don't belong).

    In Japan, there is this constant and ridiculous surprise at people with other nationalities understanding Japanese culture. People seem unable to process why they use Japanese in exactly the same way as anyone else who is born and brought up in Japan.

    I guess that you feel having foreign elements in your family takes away from the Japanese whole. With apologies if that is not your position, this is the kind of thinking I am arguing against. When the 'jun nihonjinha' get this, they may no longer be surprised at mixed race people having a native knowledge of Japanese culture, and certain celebrities may no longer have to emphasize how "they don't understand a word of English" to be given permission to fit in.

    @noypikantoku "Give me the numbers of the unemployment rates of Mixed VS Pure and let's compare to see if Mixed Japanese cannot really get a living here and can only get jobs in the entertainment industry?"

    This is difficult to answer as the Japanese government do not keep statistics in order to maintain the fiction that Japan is mono-ethnic. Everyone with Japanese nationality is (somewhat ironically) treated the same in official statistics. On the surface, this seems like a good idea, but what it actual means is that no evidence can be gathered to prevent the disproportionately denial of employment opportunities to people with non-traditional Japanese faces. However, despite the lack of statistics, I would suggest to you that anyone who has spent anytime in Japan knows that the proportion of visibly mixed race celebrities exceeds the proportion of visibly mixed race people in the general population and certainly exceeds the proportion who are doctors, lawyers, politicians and pilots.

    This fetishism is in itself dangerous and is sparking a backlash. Many of the online comments objecting to Ms. Miyamoto's title, complain about 'haafu gori-oshi'- or having mixed race celebrities forced down their throats. It's a complicated issue, but I think the status quo has more negative that positive consequences.

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    Blimey... why are people getting so heated about her ethnicity? IS she good looking? Yes.
    It's a beauty contest, not a meeting of the immigration council.

  • -21

    tinawatanabe

    It seems to me it is some of you who are rejecting the Japanese, not Japanese are rejecting you.

    Japanese people don't use the word "haafu", they are using "half". It is the native English speakers that are taking it as "haafu", so you are differenciating the people who can't correctly pronounce "half" and giving it a special meaning which is more to "half" and criticizing the people.

  • 6

    jpn_guy

    @tinawatanabe No one is abusing people or 'rejecting Japanese people' for their pronunciation. Don't be ridiculous. I'm amazed that was your take away from this discussion.

    It's a minor issue but, anyway, it's nothing to do with pronunciation or who is speaking. If for example, I, as a non-native speaker of Japanese, am speaking Japanese, I use this word, and what I say is transcribed in romaji, the spelling is haafu.It's just the rules for writing romaji. I didn't make them up.

    The reason for using haafu in an English discussion is to clarify we are using the Japanese word. 'Half' in the sense being discussed here, does not exist as an English word, so if we use the spelling 'half' then we are writing non-standard English. It's nothing to do with insulting anyone.

    As I said, I am amazed that in this long discussion of ethnic identity and belonging, you pick a non-issue to argue over.

  • -16

    tinawatanabe

    @Psyops

    I don't want my son to learn bastardized English words.

    Calling Japanese people's pronouciation of "half" a bastardized English word is bastardized things to do.

    When asked his background he always answers American without a pause. If probed further he answers "my mom is Japanese but I'm American." That's my boy :)

    It sounds Japanese blood is bad thing, so you are happy your son is reluctant to reveal it?

  • 2

    Silvafan

    @Tinawatanabe

    Your logic doesn't make any sense! "Haafu" is being used like gaijin to exclude one group from the rest. Like many foreign loans words, the Japanese shorten them to make them easier. How do you what every Japanese are meaning when they say the word? How do you know it isn't short for half-breed?

    @JPn_guy

    I definitely agree that biracial or bicultural children are discriminated in the workplace. I have seen it. Even Japanese adults with two Japanese parents have trouble sometime getting employed if they lived too long overseas. Depending on a person heritage, a person maybe seen as factory workers or service industry staff only. Many Caucasians/Japanese couples are trying to get their children on TV because they are assumed to be prettier because of their heritage. To be fair, many are not. They are just taking advantage of a new form of "Charisma Man Syndrome". This is why Ms. Miyamoto is getting so much negative feedback like the current US president. They both have African heritage.

  • 2

    oikawa

    She's Japanese. Her father's American. It's simple.

    Especially as she can't have dual nationality ;)

  • -1

    Yubaru

    So far a majority have disagreed with you, themselves haafus. If one person agreed with you, would their opinion also be null and void? Or are people only incorrect if they disagree with you?

    Majority?Two or three? So what, thumbs up or down do not both me, at least I know people are reading what I wrote and that is all that matters.

    You can disagree, I dont care, but I do not appreciate when people over generalize or take the place of literally millions of others.

    I have been called haafu, I have been called gaijin and other things that I choose not to share, BUT none of them bother me now because I realize and have learned where it comes from.

    It isnt a perfect world, but words DO count and make a difference.

  • 0

    5petals

    I wish the young lady success; personally kind of sick of the word "halfu" or "gaijin" myself She is no less a human than any other Japanese. Myself catoragized as from the gaijin caste, I get the stares, othering and other silly stuff allot. What this young lady had to overcome should be recongnized. Hope that someday this will not even be worth mentioning that day seems to be a ways off.

  • -5

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 07:31PM JST

    Firstly, any identification with the UK would be down to my nationality not my ethnicity.

    I think everyone understands it, and I am asking the nationality of your children. I guess your children have both British and Japanese nationalities.

    Secondly, when you state "If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity" I would guess you mean that if they identify as British then their identity as Japanese is impacted.

    I do not mean that. I said their being mixed race influenced their national identity. If I guessed correctly, why do they have two nationalities?

    In the UK, where I'm from, we may talk about people being mixed race. However, this is just a descriptive term that is nothing to do with national identity.

    Do you still think your previous comment above holds?

  • -1

    cleo

    seriously? you're comparing the first black president to a haafu representing Japan at Miss universe?

    Not at all. I was responding to the suggestion that the US media never refers to a person's ethnicity in their reporting. 'Tain't so.

    they know other fields are not as open

    If they 'know' this then they are deluding themselves. Purely anecdotal I know, but haafus in my own personal circle have excellent careers in the civil service, business, finance, academia and the media (not in front of the cameras). Their 'non-traditional faces' have been no handicap to getting very good jobs.

    one child does indeed identify very firmly as Japanese. I've never asked her about it, but she used to say 'nihonjin dakara, eigo wakaranai'

    One of my kids went through that phase. I let her be as nihonjin as she pleased, but made sure she did eigo wakaru. She grew out of it. :-) She still considers herself first and foremost Japanese, but no longer considers that to limit or restrict her in any way.

  • 4

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO First you ask: "Would you describe the national identity of your children, please? Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity."

    Then you write "I am asking the nationality of your children. I guess your children have both British and Japanese nationalities."

    So you are now asking a completely different question.

    Let me ask you a question by way of response. A jun-nihonjin couple have a baby in the US but forget to file notice with the embassy during the required time period. (As you will know, Japan sets a time limit on filing, thereby subjugating a newborn's human rights to the forgetfulness or otherwise of its parent, but that is another story). In other words, the baby receives jus solis US nationality but has no jus sanguinis Japanese nationality. The kid is brought to Japan by its parents at the age of one and never returns to the States. What is the kids national identity? What is their nationality?

    Or what about a kid brought up in Japan with foreign citizenship but never told he is anything other than Japanese?

    There are countless other examples. As you can see your two questions are very different, so I don't know why you are switching one for the other.

    As I said, my daughter feels fully Japanese (a statement you chose to ignore). I don't know about my son. But if he feels British, it has zero connection to my ethnicity since my Britishness also has zero connection to my ethnicity.

    I hope this discussion is helping you understand some of the complexities of the issue of identity and why the only real answer is how someone feels inside and for others to respect that.

    Ms. Miyamoto says she feels Japanese. Yet in her press conference, she feels obligated to apologize for entering a competition for Japanese people, presumably in order to preempt the criticism she knows she will get. (Note that she was then criticized anyway for entering even though she felt she shouldn't. I read one wonderful post by someone who claimed that if she was really Japanese she should 'yuki o yonde' and not participate, which is some tortuous logic if ever I saw it.)

    Anyway, going back to her apologies, don't you think its sad she is being forced into the position of preemptively having to 'koshi o hikuku suru' only to watch people criticize her anyway?

  • -3

    Bill Adams

    You have to laugh at all these people who get so obsessed at mere WORDS. Words do not matter. Whether haafu, or half-breed, or mixed-race, or African-American ... , let people use whatever word they prefer or find most convenient - so what? All that really matters are actions. As long as I am not discriminated against, and no harm is done to me, I couldn't care less what I am called.

    As for Ariana, she might have been the beneficiary of politically correct discrimination in her favour, as she does not seem like the prettiest contestant to me. Maybe this is why some Japanese are upset. But then again, beauty is extremely subjective, so who knows, maybe the judges genuinely thought she was the prettiest.

  • -2

    Nessie

    mulatto is a person with black and white ancestry, so she is NOT a mulatto.

    You say potato, I say potahto.

    You say mulato, I say mulahto.

    Let's call the whole thing off.

    As for Westerners never being second-class citizens, they were forbidden on pain of death from being in Japan for a couple hundred years, in can anyone has forgotten.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 1

    80393

    Haafu and pure-Japanese go together as descriptive categories. If you have no problem with the former, you are endorsing the idea of the later. This way of dividing the world's people into, Japanese, half-Japanese, and everyone else is directly connected to ideas of Japanese racial purity and superiority. It may be used in a variety of contexts but the key meaning is clear - it means 'half not-Japanese', 'half not one of us'. That remains the case even when the context (e.g. I love haafu celebrities) is ostensibly positive.

    THIS! beautifully put

  • 3

    jpn_guy

    Bill, no-one is obsessed over mere WORDS.

    I object to having a separate category of human beings who are defined as 'half not Japanese'.

    I object to being told that being 'half not Japanese' is the single most important facet of people placed in these category by Japanese society.

    I object when people who feel 'Japanese' inside are told they can't be (since they belong to the above category which is mutually exclusive with the category of jun-nihonjin).

    I object to being told my ethnicity is the most important thing about me.

    This is not about WORDS my friend.

    We are merely forced to use words as we have no other means to express our ideas

    This is not about 'what I am called'.

    It is about my right to define who I am and the right of my children, and your children, to define who they are.

    Some people may enjoy being haafu.

    That's their right.

    But many are in that category because their first choice for membership won't let them in, decided to put them there, and they had no choice but to embrace it.

  • 2

    bruinfan

    Who cares if she shakes up a few people...I wish her well. I'd be happy to see her at least make the final round.

  • 5

    Lazybones

    I'm half, born in Japan but an American citizen, but have lived most of my life here. I have no problem with being called half, and I've always felt that when Japanese people hear that my mom is Japanese (I don't look very Asian) they seem to have even more affinity to me. I've NEVER had anyone call me half in a derogatory manner. Double is just ridiculous, and mixed is for dogs thank you very much. People who are not half should just mind their own business.

    As for Ariana, let's be brutally honest, the people online complaining about her are not upset that she is HALF, they are upset that she is BLACK. I would guess that half Japanese, half white like myself get very positive reactions, but half blacks don't. It has nothing to do with being half, and everything to do with racism towards blacks.

  • -1

    Alex80

    Why is this relevant? She doesn't have any Western Features. She has Japanese and African features.

    Agree, I thought it as well. I thought by "Western", people usually meant "White people". If also Black people are included, well the sentence it's acceptable.

  • 3

    slumdog

    Then why do you have to write as "haafu" when you know very well Japanese people meant "half"?

    I really do not understand your point. Japanese people mean 'half' when they say 3:30, but they say 'han'. Different words, even some that sound the same, are used in different ways to mean different things. The term 'half' in English is consider rude by many and so it is more acceptable to use the word 'haafu' to indicate' you are talking about the Japanese word and its meaning rather than the English term that is considered rude.

    Personally, I have no problem with this aspect of the winner being mentioned but feel that it need not have extended to being a major part of an article or headline. We should be moving toward a society where it is merely a footnote rather than the story itself.

  • -1

    hidingout

    I guess you do not realize that you are perpetuating a stereotype when you talk about your own children in this manner. You do not even realize that you are helping to make them think they are different that any other Japanese person and in a negative manner not a positive one.

    Wow. How rude. You think the word constitutes a negative stereotype. That would be a problem in your head alone. Strangerland already offered you a very clear explanation for the term, and provided examples from Western culture where the term (half French, half Dutch etc) is used commonly and with no negative connotation whatsoever. Any attempt by you to attribute a sweepingly negative connotation to the word would be contrary to fact.

    And newsflash ... kids of mixed heritage are different than Japanese, contrary to your suggestion above. What kind of parent wouldn't recognize that difference? It just doesn't make sense. Almost as baffling as the people who object to the word gaijin or even foreigner. So many folks just looking to take offense.

    Personally I think people who get bent out of shape about this are actually reacting to the terrible pronunciation of the English word half. Now that is a complaint I could get behind.

  • 7

    jpn_guy

    @tina on the spelling haafu. "Really? Then why do you have to write as "haafu" when you know very well Japanese people meant "half"?"

    As I wrote in a prior post above, I were dictating someone speaking Japanese, I would write haafu irrespective of whether that person were a Japanese speaker or a non-native Japanese speaker. I'm repeating myself here, but haafu is a Japnaese word. If is not half. It's what I would write if I were dictating my own speech. And I insulting myself? I don't think you have thought this through.

    It is easy to see how the two are different.

    e.g. "Many people are upset that Miyamoto won because she is a half".

    This sentence is not English and does not make sense.

    So the distinction is very necessary. It's the difference between a real English sentence (containing a foreign loan word) and a sentence with no meaning.

    Katakana words in Japanese may be derived from English words, but we can't just go ahead and pretend they are English words even if you would like to. If you translate Japanese to English regularly, you would realize this as words like "saabisu" and "charenji"need a work around. You can't simply render them in English as 'service' or 'challenge' as doing so produces a nonsense sentence. I'm aware that, in certain circles, the inability to pronounce katakana words in a fashion close to English is seem as a sign of low education and that some people take great pride in their ability to pronounce katakana words in a 'quasi-English' way. But that's just a matter for of social status and pride - I think that's why you feel insulted even though no-one is insulting you. Anyway, whatever the whys and wherefores or katakana pronunciation and orthography, it doesn't give you license to change the meaning of words when speaking English.

    You should also be aware that "half-breed" is considered extremely insulting in English, not sure if you knew that. It's another reason many people prefer haafu - it makes it clear that it is 'not' an insulting abbreviation for 'half-breed'. In that sense, the usage is designed to protect rather than demean the reputation of Japanese people. Can you see what I mean here?

    Anyway, to get back on track, I'm sorry that you feel the major topic on this thread is the pronunciation and spelling of Japanese words that are derived from English when loaning those words back into English.

    I don't think anyone else thinks that is what this is about.

  • 3

    zones2surf

    Sigh. I had a feeling this would be one of those topics that would evoke strong and, in many cases, very personal feelings.

    Apart from anything else, I though JapanToday made an error in using the term "Haafu" in the title/header for the article. Maybe that was the shortest and easiest way to convey the topic, but, still, for an English language site, it is not ideal.

    Look, there is no "right" answer here, necessarily. The one question at the heart of all of this is this: what does it mean to be "Japanese"? Is "being Japanese" about a nationality? An ethnicity? A language? A culture?

    And, here is the more critical question: will this change in the coming years and generations?

  • 1

    Kevin Lee Brooke

    cleoMAR. 16, 2015 - 08:08AM JST Really hate the term Half

    But it isn't half (an English word), it's haafu, a Japanese word. The only negative connotations are in the mind of the individual.

    Couldn't agree more! People are too thin-skinned anymore. Everyone's offended, everyone's a victim.

    Blech!

  • -5

    Alex80

    Why my post got a thumb-down? O_o I meant to say that also in my opinion by "Western", usually people mean "White People". So, that sentence is weird, since she is a mix between Japanese and African people, not between Japanese and White people.

  • 0

    hidingout

    I'm aware that, in certain circles, the inability to pronounce katakana words in a fashion close to English is seem as a sign of low education and that some people take great pride in their ability to pronounce katakana words in a 'quasi-English' way. But that's just a matter for of social status and pride - I think that's why you feel insulted even though no-one is insulting you.

    See and I find the use of the word "haafu" completely unobjectionable except for the fact that the Japanese had to go and select an English word to get their point across. And worse, they selected one that doesn't render easily to katakana so native speakers of English unfamiliar with Japan wouldn't even understand what the word was if they heard it.

    Solid comments as usual JaneM.

  • 0

    Alex80

    My point is that I agree with gaijinfo, here:

    It’s no surprise that Western features are considered beautiful in Japan.

    Why is this relevant? She doesn't have any Western Features. She has Japanese and African features.

    He is right, at that point the article makes her seem half Caucasian, and I don't understand why they put this confusing sentence. Anyway, she is really pretty girl. :)

  • 2

    Peeping_Tom

    If the mother is Japanese (Asian) and the father American (Black) she can only be MIXED!

    She can neither be a full ethnic Asian-Mongoloid (if yer not happy with this description feel free to complain to Kyung-Ran Jung et al. (Korean of the Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Ulsan, Seoul, South Korea), nor a full ethnic Black person.

    Genetics tells us that unequivocally

    The concept that a white versus black offspring is black is just a fictional social construct, without any bearing to reality.

    Obama is a mixed man, not a black man!

    Anyone born from a mixture of different ethnicity is mixed.

    Anything else is pure bull-crap politics.

    End of.

  • 2

    Alphaape

    For the record the US media and the majority of Americans view Obama as Black even though he is half Black and White. Regardless of his racial makeup, he is still viewed as an American. The issuei am getting from reading some comments here is that unless a person has both parents Japanese they are not seen as "full blooded" Japanese. Some in Japan need to come off the belief of a "Japanese race" that only is decided by racial makeup. I understand the concept of Japanese culture as being unique, but ther is no race called Japanese.

  • 1

    Ali Khan

    half means 50 percent but here is another problem please help me, my friend is Japanese and his wife is half now they have a baby does it means that the baby is 75 percent?

  • -1

    Peeping_Tom

    "half means 50 percent but here is another problem please help me, my friend is Japanese and his wife is half now they have a baby does it means that the baby is 75 percent?"

    The baby is not 75%; this is not how genetics work.

    The baby is a mixed race baby, regardless of the fact that the mother is only half herself.

    You can speculate how much mixing is needed for a dilution to the "full".

    Certainly colour alone has nothing to do with genetic make-up.

    The fact that the majority of Americans, black and white (including the media) consider Obama a black person does not detract or change the reality that Obama is in fact is a mixed race man.

    That's a fact.

  • -3

    WilliB

    Peeping tom:

    " "half means 50 percent but here is another problem please help me, my friend is Japanese and his wife is half now they have a baby does it means that the baby is 75 percent?" "

    No, the baby is "koota" (quarter), because the "half" refers to "half gaijin". It is not so unusual, for example the beautiful Meisa Kuroki is a "quarter", quarter Brazilian in her case. I have a Japanese friend who proudly explains to everyone who is interested that is he 1/16th because his great-grandmother was German or something.

    I still don´t see what the big deal is. It seems some people want to project their political hangups into Japan.

  • -1

    shima0124

    Also be used like this "I'm haafu of Kyoto and Hokkaido.Dad is from Kyoto. Mom is from Hokkaido."

  • -1

    Fadamor

    "race-related challenges" - an inappropriate euphemism for "racism" because it takes four times as many letters to type.

  • 5

    Winton Yuichiro White

    STOP being offended for us. Me along with many other HAFUs are okay and happy with the term. Everybody in the Hafu Japanese Facebook group has been complaining about you people.

  • -2

    AiserX

    I don't find her attractive.

  • 0

    Novenachama

    Pageants are a great way for women to grow personally and develop themselves for the future. They learn poise, confidence, goal setting, public speaking, and physical fitness and self-discipline. Pageant winners can become role models and make big impacts in their communities. Congratulations to Ariana Miyamoto for winning the Miss Japan universe contest. We should be proud of her for she has worked very hard for this. Now it's time to enjoy her time in the spot light. Keep calm and focus on preparing for the Miss Universe contest to held to be held in Hungary 2016. I wish her the best of luck.

  • 0

    avigator

    Good luck! Still 100% Japanese to me, (actually kind of Korean).

  • 0

    Peeping_Tom

    "No, the baby is "koota" (quarter), because the "half" refers to "half gaijin". "

    That might be the case in a common man's language.

    Geneticists though would refer to baby as mixed race.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14885513

    In any event you're addressing the issue to the wrong person, as I am not the one who posited the question in the first place.

  • 4

    DenTok2009

    Hi jpn_guy,

    Thumbs up on your post (jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 09:11PM JST ). I read from the bottom up so I know you are addressing another poster's comment which I will try to read later.

    I know of two Korean Japanese girls who both think of themselves as Japanese. One girl proudly proclaims herself as edokko. One day, she told me about being Japanese. I was rather confused as to I didn't understand why she started to babbling about being a real Japanese (she dropped her bag and the contents spilled out and she thought I had spotted something and knew what it meant... I hadn't and even if I did, my Japanese reading sucks). The other girl speaks both languages and is bi-cultural (follows and respects both cultures' customs and all). She told me both her parents are Koreans and she is proud to be a Japanese of Korean descent. She loves to visit Korea and also enjoys traveling around Japan. So for these girls, born and raised in Japan, national identity is strongly rooted in where they were raised.

    I know of a guy who has a Caucasian father and an Asian mother. He went to Japanese schools all his life, associated with Japanese children, dislikes his looks and can't accept his western identity. He had a Christian name that he legally dropped so he can tell people that he has no western name.

    Lots of other stories... Interesting to come across people and listen to what they say and feel about being raised in Japan.

  • 2

    Ishiwara

    FYI

    I've read through a bunch of online comments by Japanese people about this. This seems to be the most common:

    She might be Japanese, but she is certainly not "representative" of Japanese

    She is Japanese and has all the right of trying, but there is a problem with the board electing her as "representative" of Japanese: it signals that "normal Japanese" beauty is not good enough

    She is not pretty

  • 2

    Anthony Lawson

    Whilst everyone commisurate on whether she is 1/2 or double. I praise Japan for coming into the 21 century and choosing her to be its representative. CHEERS!!!!

  • 1

    kyushubill

    If anything this comment section proves that Postmodernism with its victimization is still alive and well.

    If a person chooses to call themselves "haafu" and/or their parents call the child "haafu" I do not see it is anyone's business but theirs. The "haafu" I know here in Japan have no problem with the term "haafu", and I have noticed 100% of the people who do have a problem with the word are whites from the US and Europe.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    Japan should really set the pace with a Niu Haafu.

  • -2

    JWithers

    Lots of beautiful comments and then there are those who are trying to build mountains out of mole hills.

    The term "haafu" is Japanese English and is a borrowed adopted word. Although there are those individuals with "dual nationality", which is the educated term btw, that believe that "haafu" is acceptable I submit to you that they are mildly brainwashed.

    Reprogramming and colonization is a process undertaken by teachers themselves. "Haafu" is a mis-education and further compounded by mainstream fashion media's lack of diversity on the front page.

    African-Americans have been down this road and we know where it goes. If you are considering yourself "haafu" it's time to stop letting yourself be DEFINED. See yourself as a whole.

    https://youtu.be/WG7U1QsUd1g

    To call anyone "haafu" is to selectively insist that the individual recognize there is "fault" in their DNA.

    The truth is EVERYBODY here hates the word HALF!!!!

    If you received a pizza and HALF of it was gone would you be happy? If your boss said to you that you are only going to get HALF your salary this month would you be happy? If the judge in your divorce case said your wife gets HALF would you say this is good?

    Miss Universe can't be HALF the universe. The fact that she's mixed makes her a perfect candidate to be Miss "Universe"!

    Lets get this straight cause I know some people are disillusioned about this word. Nobody likes the word "haafu"..

    This girl needs need to win this contest because some already believe she won't cause she's "haafu" get on the stage and tell the world she is WHOLE!! Japanese and American without the racist hyphen.

  • -1

    turbotsat

    According to Japanese wikipedia she is dual citizen, being under 22.

    That gives USA two chances to win! Go Ariana!

  • 1

    noypikantoku

    Jpn-guy

    However, despite the lack of statistics, I would suggest to you that anyone who has spent anytime in Japan knows that the proportion of visibly mixed race celebrities exceeds the proportion of visibly mixed race people in the general population and certainly exceeds the proportion who are doctors, lawyers, politicians and pilots.

    Have you tried the financial institution? when you meet the mixed (half) people in this industry you will realize how well loved they are in Japan ....

    don't you think its sad she is being forced into the position of preemptively having to 'koshi o hikuku suru' only to watch people criticize her anyway?

    Isnt that the business of MISS UNIVERSE? comparing, criticizing, based on ethnicity and physical apperance? If she isn't ready for this, then she doesn't fully understand this pageant. Each candidates of Miss Universe arent being forced in to their positions, they all Joined voluntarily. No one points guns to their heads to be in this pageant, they all want to be THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE of course the process and the results will not be pleasant to most of them as there is no such thing as the most beatuiful lady non sense.

    DenTok2009

    I know of two Korean Japanese girls who both think of themselves as Japanese

    The problem with most Korean Japanese (I know a lot too) eventhough they were born and raised here in Japan. They are all using Korean passports and not taking Japanese citizen eventhough they can get it anytime, I don't know why don't they give up their Korean nationality and at the same time they claim and they want to be recognized as Japanese.

  • -5

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 09:11PM JST

    @CH3CHO First you ask: "Would you describe the national identity of your children, please? Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity."

    Then you write "I am asking the nationality of your children. I guess your children have both British and Japanese nationalities."

    So you are now asking a completely different question.

    No, I am not, as anyone can clearly see. We were talking about ethnic identity vs national identity, which is same as nationality. Your daughter said that she can only speak Japanese and therefore that she is Japanese. She was talking about her ethnic identity rather than national identity, because language is an ethnic attribute rather than nationality attribute.

    In other words, the baby receives jus solis US nationality but has no jus sanguinis Japanese nationality. The kid is brought to Japan by its parents at the age of one and never returns to the States. What is the kids national identity? What is their nationality?

    His national identity as well as his nationality is undoubtedly US. His ethnic identity may be Japanese, but that does not affect his US citizenship, or his national identity as an American at all.

    You are confusing ethnicity and nationality. Your criticism is based on your own confusion. A Half/Hafu has full Japanese citizenship.

  • 2

    Alphaape

    •She might be Japanese, but she is certainly not "representative" of Japanese

    I think that those people who think like this need to open their eyes to the world around them. Recently, the Miss Philippines for the Miss Universe pagent was a lady of Indian decent, and she was not a true "Filipina" by ancestry. Also a few years back the same thing was said about the Miss India contestant to the pagent, she is from the norther part of the country that borders with Nepal and she is more of Chinese/Nepal heritage rather than what people normally consider as "Indian" from the lower part of the country.

    With the movement and migration of people in the world demographics are changing and people need to learn to start understanding this.

  • 1

    Strychnine

    Man! I hope she wins!

  • -2

    sodesuka

    A lot of comments. I will say I am glad I raised my children in America. It doesn't matter all this half stuff. When my children were born in Japan I wanted to be able to speak to them in my own language and have them understand my culture. And boy do they enjoy the American culture.

    I guess we use terms here like Italian American, Japanese American, Black American, Chinese American, Filipino American etc... Note that these terms are meant for the second generation onward. The first generation remains identified from the country they came from.

    So this beautiful young lady would be Black Japanese, if raise completely in Japan. She IS Japanese with little influence from her foreign Dad. Probably more Japanese then the Ainu or 3rd generation Koreans.

    I wish her luck. Just happy my children identify as American. They are boys. If I had a girl I think I would have raised her Japanese. I love the Japanese female mannerisms etc..having married one myself.

  • 4

    cleo

    To call anyone "haafu" is to selectively insist that the individual recognize there is "fault" in their DNA.

    Utter rubbish.

    there are those individuals with "dual nationality", which is the educated term btw

    No it isn't. Lots of haafus do not have dual nationality.

    Nobody likes the word "haafu".

    Gosh, I'm glad you're not taking it upon yourself to speak for everybody. There's nowt wrong with the darn word.

    some already believe she won't (win) cause she's "haafu"

    Mmm, I don't think that has been any part of the main discussion....

    Your daughter said that she can only speak Japanese and therefore that she is Japanese. She was talking about her ethnic identity

    So when I became fluent in Japanese, I acquired an extra ethnic identity?? Wow.

    jpn_guy did not say that his daughter said that she could only speak japanese and therefore she was Japanese; she said 'nihonjin dakara, eigo wakaranai'. That's the opposite way around, i.e. 'I don't understand English because I'm Japanese'. I hesitate to put words in someone else's daughter's mouth, but when my daughter said the same thing she was not making any comment on her identity, ethnic, racial, national or otherwise. She was just trying to get out of doing her English homework. Another time she was frustrated because she didn't understand a TV programme and wanted the language switched to Japanese.

    When my children were born in Japan I wanted to be able to speak to them in my own language and have them understand my culture

    You can't do that in Japan?

    with little influence from her foreign Dad

    Where do you get that? She's obviously got a healthy bit of her Dad in her DNA which she uses to good effect, and according to the article she spent her high school years in the US. Wouldn't that likely be her Dad's influence?

  • 5

    WilliB

    Winton Yuichiro White:

    " STOP being offended for us. Me along with many other HAFUs are okay and happy with the term. Everybody in the Hafu Japanese Facebook group has been complaining about you people. "

    I didn´t know there is such a page, but I´ll tell my kids about it. I told them about the brouhaha in this thread and they are shaking their heads in disbelief. The complainers should really take a deep breath and relax. This is a non-issue as far as the persons you are talking about are concerned.

  • 1

    fishy

    When my children were born in Japan I wanted to be able to speak to them in my own language and have them understand my culture

    How about your wife? did she not want to raise her children to understand her culture as well? My point is, that whichever country you live, you can and should try to teach your children both cultures because that to me, is the biggest advantage of being "haafu", to get the best of both cultures of our parents.

    I've mentioned in my earlier post that I myself is a "haafu", my parents taught me both languages (Japanese and French) while growing up and they also tried their best to introduce both cultures by making sure I am in touch with our French relatives and reading French books, watching French movies, making connections with French people living in Japan, etc.

    And boy do they enjoy the American culture

    That's wonderful that they enjoy the American culture. But I hope that you are making sure that your children enjoy Japanese culture as well :)

    My children (mixed) are happy in Japanese schools and they speak Japanese, English and French. My husband is also "haafu" (American and Japanese, he grew up in America) so our kids are very mixed. When other kids ask them, they say they are haafu and they are not offended at all. When ALT comes to their school, those ALT teachers like to use them as their assistant to practice dialogue and our kids enjoy demonstrating English conversations in front of their class and when asked by their classmates about their language ability, they say because they are haafu and they get both languages at home.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO "We were talking about ethnic identity vs national identity, which is same as nationality"

    Sorry, 'national identity' does not mean nationality. If you use the wrong English terms, you cannot be surprised if you sow confusion.

    Now I know what you mean, I have re-read your comments. Substituting 'national identity' for 'nationality' (to correct your error of usage) you write: 'it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their nationality."

    Still nonsense, I'm afraid.

    Interesting you conclude by writing: "Half/Hafu has full Japanese citizenship" This is true. And this is why I object to Japanese society creating a special separate category of 'Japanese people with one non-Japanese parent' and treating them differently as a result of their perceived membership of this category. I am talking here about mixed race people who want to feel part of Japan. Listen to David in the film hafu: 'Shizen ni atsukattekure yo. Sugu tonari no yatsu ni hanashikaketeiru mitai ni ore ni mo hanashi kakette kure yo to omou wake'

    Translation: I just want people to treat me like a normal guy.

    What I am arguing is that the perceptual category of 'half non-national' (which does not exists in other advanced nations - note this is not the same as a generic mixed race category) promotes othering and differential treatment.

    @Winton Yuichiro WhiteMAR. 17, 2015 - 03:02AM JST

    You write 'stop being offended for us'. I went to look at the Hafu Japan Facebook group. As it's a private group, I can read what you are talking about! Please come on Japan Today and join the discussion!

    Anyway, it seems, from a quick random sample of group member profiles, that almost all of you guys are fluent in English and living abroad (not sure about you personally). So I am not sure who 'us' is in your statement.

    Of course you can live overseas and claim Japanese identity, but if you are not in Japan then you are not really dealing with the issues we are discussing here - the constant day to day denial of your identity by the majority society. Ask yourself why Ms. Miyamoto, a Japanese lady, is so apologetic about joining a competition for Japanese people.

    All of my comments on this board refer to mixed race people who self identify as members of Japanese society and would like to be treated accordingly i.e. without constant reference to how different they are and constant surprise that they think of themselves as Japanese and want to felt at home in Japan just like everyone else. 'sono kao de Takeshi Suzuki wa nai daro'. This is the kind of attitude I am talking about. In Japan, it's sadly prevalent. Living outside Japan, I would guess this kind of negative attitude is forced in your face less often.

    Different people in different situations obviously have different perspectives and priorities. Living overseas as a half/haafu, you are quite free to hang with other hafts, if you want to. That's the key. You are voluntarily coming together.

    But people living in Japan with your ethnic makeup are given no choice by society as to their identity. It is forced on them and referred to repeatedly as a means of denying their full membership of society.

    To be honest, I was not really thinking of people with one Japanese parent living outside Japan in my comments above. I hope you can read the comments in this light and try and appreciate how your brethren in Japan are having an 'involuntary' mixed race 'experience', which is perhaps rather different to the 'ex-pat haafu community' for want of a better phrase.

    I hope this sparks some more discussion in your Facegroup group, and would be pleased to see anything you'll had to say in response below on these pages.

    Cheers

  • 0

    Peacetrain

    No problem with the term haafu. No problem with her being haafu, and being Miss Japan. Interesting they still have the competition because when I was young all the feminists wanted to get rid of it.

    Or at least call it the Ms Universe contest ......

    As for Cleo's comment about Miss Mars etc, I think the problem is that contestants from other countries don't get their applications in on time. Or somehow get lost coming to the venues... I'm sure if there are beautiful women on other planets Donald Trump would welcome them with open arms.

    Japanese are funny though. All the women I spoke to wondered how much she would really be a representative of Japan. (and these are sweet women who mean no offence at all)

    I think you just have to realise that it will take a while for Japanese to get used to things.

    PS I don't think the Miss Universe needs to be intelligent or know anything about politics either. And that's not being sexist. Why not have a Mr Universe (not for muscles), but to see who has the handsomest face. Nothing wrong with looking at beautiful faces.

  • -3

    CH3CHO

    cleoMar. 17, 2015 - 10:46AM JST

    So when I became fluent in Japanese, I acquired an extra ethnic identity?? Wow.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethnic

    Full Definition of ETHNIC

    of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background

    When your mother tounge "becomes" Japanese, you get one attribute of ethnic Japanese. That is how people assimilate into another ethnic group. There are peoples sharing the same gene pool, and are divided only by language, customs, or religion. In such cases, it is more apparent that ethnicity can be changed or assimilated into another.

    That's the opposite way around, i.e. 'I don't understand English because I'm Japanese'.

    It does not change my point a bit. She used Japanese in its ethnic meaning rather than its nationality meaning.

  • 1

    sodesuka

    Cleo - Sorry I missed that part about the US high school. Very likely she is Bi-lingual and Dual citizen. Pretty lucky girl.

    fishy - You just do not know how nice it is in California with 25% foreign born. The children are all American regardless of nationality or mixed blood lines. All just getting along working on things together. Nationality just does not matter.

    When we came here from Japan, my son told me that it was nice to be able to understand the teacher. Immersion just did not work for two of my boys in Japan. Always being an outsider wore on them.

    My wife, I met in Europe and we spoke French at first, then English. Two children were born in Japan but we moved to the US when they were young, to return to Japan 7 years later. Japan was fun and they enjoyed it for 2 years. Issues with Japanese schools and if immersion was working, brought us back to the US where they excelled for 2 years. We returned to Japan for 2 years. Nice time but again questions arose about this immersion thing.

    We landed in California and they have excelled again.

    As someone said, just make sure your children can function in one society or the other. Both would be nice. Just don't leave them in the middle of the Pacific.

    Cheers - Ideally, we would have pick France as the country to settle for me and my wife.

  • 2

    fishy

    soudesuka -

    Glad your kids are enjoying California and worked out well for them :) There is no country that is right for everyone, as long as we find the right one that works for your own family/kids, that's the most important thing. Places like California where many cultures blend in nicely can for sure give great opportunities as well as experiences to children whether they are mixed or not. All the best to you!

  • 1

    Yoshitsune

    @noypikantoku

    The problem with most Korean Japanese (I know a lot too) eventhough they were born and raised here in Japan. They are all using Korean passports and not taking Japanese citizen eventhough they can get it anytime

    Hi noypikantoku, I'm sorry but you have absolutely no way of knowing whether the two Korean-Japanese mentioned by DenTok2009 have Korean passports or Japanese passports. You're guessing. I know some Korean-Japanese who are naturalised, and some who still have Korean passports; in each case, until they told me, I didn't know which passport they held. Furthermore, why do you state that it's a problem if they don't naturalise? That's their decision to make - gaining a passport for the country you live in is clearly desirable, but when it involves giving up your original passport (and dealing with a stack of red tape!) it's a big step to take. My friend's wife went through the process last year. In her case, she had always intended to (having never even set foot in Korea) but the reason she only got around to it recently was simply that it's a pain in the backside!

    @CH3CHO

    We were talking about ethnic identity vs national identity, which is same as nationality

    Hi, I'm sorry but national identity is not the same as nationality. The latter is a matter of official status; one has nationality of a country, or one does not. The former is a matter of an individual's feelings. While the two do mostly overlap, this will not always be the case. Such as in the hypothetical case you and jpn_guy discuss:

    In other words, the baby receives jus solis US nationality but has no jus sanguinis Japanese nationality. The kid is brought to Japan by its parents at the age of one and never returns to the States. What is the kids national identity? What is their nationality?

    His national identity as well as his nationality is undoubtedly US. His ethnic identity may be Japanese, but that does not affect his US citizenship, or his national identity as an American at all

    Completely disagree. His nationality would undoubtedly be US, as he would hold a US passport. However his national identity would be up to him and not you; it's hypothetical, but I would imagine that such an individual, raised in Japan from infancy, would identify themselves as Japanese and not American despite their official US nationality.

  • 0

    JWithers

    This will go on and on.

    IMO the term "haafu" is low class and sounds like something an ignorant person would say. So if you want to keep on calling them haafu or calling yourself "haafu" that's your choice. I'm pretty sure if you land in the U.S you won't walk around telling people you are "haafu". I honestly think the lot of you have never asked your father's about his father and mother and their grandparents and their great grandparents.

    Maybe you'll be surprised to learn that you aren't half of anything. Therefore it's only logical that a WHOLE new category be created that describes this "haafu" demographic with dignity.

    So far there's only one comment I agree with. One comment mentioned the only reason we are even having this conversation is because she is half BLACK. If she had been half WHITE this wouldn't even be a thread.

    P.S' I'm mixed. I grew up with OREO, Yellow, Mixed Breed, and a bunch of other terms I won't repeat here. I understand completely with any parent who feels put off by the word "haafu".

  • 0

    JaneM

    @psyopsI don't want my son to learn bastardized English words. & later: Actually I am fluent in Japanese, that's why I can conduct business and live in Japan. Hell, I'm fluent in multiple languages. I'm fully aware bastardized English abounds here

    Then you should know that in this time and age every language borrows words from other languages and adapts their pronunciation to its own phonetic system. Calling the Japanese pronunciation of English words “bastardized” speaks more about you than the inability/unwillingness of the Japanese to pronounce foreign words “correctly.”

    @Christopher Glen: I hate this term "haafu". Almost as derogatory as "gaijin". If you have Japanese citizenship, then you are Japanese. Your origins don't matter

    While you might believe that the origin does not matter it does. And it matters big time. The number of comments and difference in opinions below this article proves you wrong and though my comment may anger you too please bear with me for a while.

    Life in a foreign country more often than not brings up your own insecurities. It does seem that the aversion to the words haafu, gaijin, etc. arises from insecurities originating in cultural, historical, family background or, put in other words, in the reader’s origin. While some people do manage to get over such feelings (if and when they are present), some continue to struggle and get offended for whatnot, venting their anger on any occasion they get. It seems that “letting go” is not such an easy thing to do.

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    Yoshitsune

    Hi noypikantoku, I'm sorry but you have absolutely no way of knowing whether the two Korean-Japanese mentioned by DenTok2009 have Korean passports or Japanese passports. You're guessing.

    I didn’t specifically reffered to Dentok2009's Korean Japanese friends, since he mentioned about Korean Japanese I shared my experience and the situations I know about the some of the Korean Japanese people around me who are crying foul for not being recognized as Japanese but refuse to change their nationalities. I don’t say it is a PROBLEM, but I am confused by their sentiments because obviously if they want to be Japanese and want to be recognized as one, then they should officially be Japanese. Indeed they are free to decide and pick what Nationality they should have, but I don't understand why they complain if some questions their Nationality and not recognized as Japanese, because officialy they are not.

  • 2

    jpn_guy

    @Jwithers

    I disagree that the Miyamoto's dad being black is the paramount issue here. It's how far your features are perceived as differing from the 'typical' Japanese. Half-Japanese people in Japan who look very 'white' with few Asian features will have the same rigmarole if they speak fluent Japanese and claim Japanese identity - i.e. constantly having to explain themselves, constantly seeking permission to be Japanese, constantly being told (behind their back or otherwise) that they are 'not really' who they think they are.

    The whole field is muddled because the typical hafu celebrities on TV have 'just the right mix' in terms of what producers see as esthetically pleasing to their audience. As a result, many Japanese people think all hafus are that balance of 'just familiar enough, just exotic enough' and good-looking as well.

    This is of course not true. Some mixed race people look very like one parent or the other, almost exclusively. Mixed race people who look exclusively Asian will generally not have to but up with the constant denial/incredulity regarding their identity. Those who look exclusively 'foreign' will have to deal with it, be they black or white. Of course people's milage will vary according to how sensitive they are to stranger's comments / preconceptions.

    Read the comments on online forums in Japanese. Many commenters are saying 'Ms. Miyamoto does not look Japanese at all, I wish a pure Japanese had won'. As offensive as these comments are, I don't think they are about 'blackness' per se, more distance from what they see as the norm, in whatever direction.

    This is the whole mindset we need to destroy.

  • 2

    lucabrasi

    I think the fascination with all things haafu and foreign that we see amongst some (certainly not all) Japanese is less a product of the Japanese mind and more a question of numbers. There are just so few of us around, still, and rare things are interesting.

    If we ever get to the stage where, say five per cent of the permanent population (over five million people) are visibly "different" (trying to be PC here; it's a minefield), but fluent Japanese speakers and at home in the culture, then people's interest will wane.

    England's just the same. A black guy walking down a street in Manchester won't attract a second glance. If he came to my village (population 2,000, everybody lily-white), he'd be the topic of conversation down the pub for weeks....

  • 0

    mfaytaren

    Rie Miyazawa was born and raised single handedly by her mother (her Dutch father left before Rie was born). But no one refers to her as "Hafu". I guess, as long as your skin color and face is very similar to Japanese, there's no issue. Mixed or not, she still has a japanese blood in her. I hope Ariana wins.

  • -3

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 17, 2015 - 11:19AM JST

    Interesting you conclude by writing: "Half/Hafu has full Japanese citizenship" This is true. And this is why I object to Japanese society creating a special separate category of 'Japanese people with one non-Japanese parent' and treating them differently as a result of their perceived membership of this category. I am talking here about mixed race people who want to feel part of Japan.

    OK. We have established that half/hafu is about ethnicity rather than nationality.

    Then you go on to criticize Japanese society for creating "a special separate category" based on ethnicity.

    Well, but any country does so. Black American, White American, Hispanic American, Irish American, Chinese American, Korean American, Native American and so on. Are these categories all wrong? Most of the Black Americans are pround of being Black and have no problem being called so.

    jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 05:22PM JST So why do some haafus embrace the term? Well, I would argue its because they have their identity forced on them as a result of this di(tri?)chotomous world view. Having been refused their attempts to claim a 'Japanese' identity, they claim the haafu identity society as assigned the them as they have no alternative.

    Let us substitute "haafus" with "Blacks" and "Japanese" with "Americans" and see how it works. It is offensive, isn't it?

    If "Halfs/Hafus" are proud of being "Halfs/Hafus" and proud of being called so, you really do not need to come around and say that they are alienated and have no alternative.

  • 1

    WilliB

    mfaytaren:

    " Rie Miyazawa was born and raised single handedly by her mother (her Dutch father left before Rie was born). But no one refers to her as "Hafu". "

    Really?? If the issue comes up, of course she is identified as "haafu". She does so herself. Otherwise, not. Same as with everybody else. Where do you get your information from??

  • -4

    kyushubill

    This is getting hilarious. Actual "haafu" have commented they have no problem with the term, and not a single "haafu" expressed any insult or dislike of the term and the Postmodern cry babies just keep insisting on the "inherent racism and racists" in Japan.

    Wow, what a bunch of whiners. Have people really become so spineless and deaf to any opinion other than their own imaginary enemies.

  • 0

    M3M3M3

    My problem with simply saying 'haffu' is that it communicates that the person is only half of the main ethnicity being discussed (ie. 'Haffu Japanese'). It's descriptive only in the sense that it tells you what the person isn't (ie. 100% Japanese). I'd rather describe people using using positive rather than negative criteria (ie. 'half black' or 'half Brazilian' not 'only half Japanese' or 'non-Japanese')

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    @M3M3M3

    How is being only "half Brazilian" positive, but being only "half Japanese" negative?

    I'm sure it's unintentional, but you could be interpreted as suggesting that being Japanese is "better" than being Brazilian....

  • -1

    M3M3M3

    @lucabrasi

    Sorry, I meant that we are in Japan so we would understand from the context that Japanese is the other half of the ethnicity (Of course In Brazil it would be the opposite).

    Also, I can imagine having this conversation while watching miss universe:

    Me: Oh look, Miss Japan looks like she might be multi-ethnic.

    Japanese Person: Yes, Miss Japan is Haffu this year.

    Me: What other ethnicity is she?

    JP: ...hmm, I'm not sure. Her father was non-Japanese.

    Me: What country did her father come from?

    JP: Oh, he doesn't live in Japan, her parents are seperated.

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    @M3M3M3

    Apologies at this end. I re-read your post and it makes sense.

  • -1

    M3M3M3

    Sorry, I see what you mean, yes my post isn't very clear. Just for the record: when I said positive and negative I didn't mean to suggest good or bad, only that we would usually describe a circle by saying 'it is round', rather than by saying 'it is not a square'. Sorry and thanks!

  • 2

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO

    You cannot compare haafu with

    "Black American, White American, Hispanic American, Irish American, Chinese American, Korean American, Native American".

    Firstly, Haafu is a catch all category for anyone who has a non-Japanese parent. You can't use the US situation as an analogy, because you can't point to a categories that is analogous to haafu - there isn't one.

    Secondly, as can clearly be seen in the numerous posts sadly slating Miyamato, haafu is used in the context of not jun-nihonjin or not pure Japanese.

    Black American is not usually used to imply that the person concerned is not fully American. Of course it sometimes is, but then the person concerned is condemned as racist by most sensible people. In Japan, going by the internet reaction to Ms. Miyamoto's victory, there are numerous people who think that haafus are not fully Japanese, and what's more, think nothing is wrong with thinking that.

    There is probably an analogy with the way Asian American's are denied their American identity. Of course this is widely recognized as wrong (which does not make it any less painful for the people on the receiving end).

    This is not the case in Japan - at all. It's where your analogy falls down. People like former Prime Minister Mori can make statements disparaging haafus with absolutely no consequences. A politician in the US claiming Asian American's are not real Americans would be out on his ear. There are bigots on both sides. But on only one side is there establishment endorsement of the bigoted point of view and people lining up to deny it is a problem.

    On to your point that it is offensive to claim some haafus accept the label after having it forced on them.

    Let us substitute "haafus" with "Blacks" and "Japanese" with "Americans" and see how it works. It is offensive, isn't it?

    Your analogy is quite interesting since some 'blacks' do indeed have their identify decided for them by society at large. It's not a question of pointing out something 'offensive' or 'not offensive' at all. It's reality. Your comment shows a lack of awareness in how minority identities develop and the role of the majority in shaping that identity. It's quite a well recognized process.

    This process also provides an answer to the earlier poster wondering why Japanese Koreans don't just go ahead and naturalize. Well, some Koreans naturalize and are still subject to discrimination when 'outed' as former Koreans. The majority is determining who gets to be Japanese and who gets to be Korean. If a Korean-Japanese tries to naturalize, they run the risk of being rejected by the majority in their attempts to claim a new identity, making it psychologically safer to keep hold of the identity they have been assigned. These feelings can of course exist alongside genuine pride in a Korean ancestry. They are not mutually exclusive.

    In my case, I have a very personal relationship with your statement that to state 'some black people accept their black identity because that's what society gave them' is an offensive idea.

    One of my parents is black with white grandparent. The other is white with no (recent) non-European other ancestry that we know of. I am, genetically speaking majority white, admittedly by a very small fraction! More importantly I grew up with white friends in a white school in a white town.

    But I as am of the same skin tone as the darker parent, society does not offer me the choice of self-identifying as white. Whether I am proud of my black genes is neither here nor there. The choice to self-identify as white is simply not on the table unless I want to have a really exhausting life. So I self-identity as black or mixed race, depending on how I feel on a given day, but never as white, even though that's the majority of what I am.

    Fortunately in the UK people do not rabbit on about my physical appearance every time they meet me. Nor, for the most part, do they treat me any different on account of being 'black', and those that do are condemned.

    However, a haafu in Japanese society wanting to be treated as just a regular guy is in a far harder position. They may not face violence, intimidation and ugly racism, but the fact remains that the Japanese majority opinion has decided that, if you have one Japanese parent, you are haafu, you can try to identify as Japanese if you like but you are not one really, and that your 'haafuness' is the single most important thing about you and we are going to talk about it all the time.

  • -1

    cleo

    if you have one Japanese parent, you are haafu, you can try to identify as Japanese if you like but you are not one really, and that your 'haafuness' is the single most important thing about you and we are going to talk about it all the time.

    Yes if you have one non-Japanese parent you are haafu, but looking at my own kids' experiences so far, their haafuness is not seen as the single most important thing about them, neither do people talk about it all the time. I think they'd both be amazed at the very suggestion. Their haafuness is just a part of them, like my blonde hair and short legs are part of me, and it doesn't define them any more than my legs or hair define me.

  • 0

    therougou

    good for her. People of mixed-race are all over TV, so to say she shouldn't be chosen because she doesn't look Japanese is pretty hypocritical.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @Cleo Thanks if you really did read all that.

    Their haafuness is just a part of them...and it doesn't define them any more than my legs or hair define me.

    What do you think about the title of this very page, and the emphasis on haafu?

    Earlier on this thread you wrote someone wrote To those saying Japanese people say this or that about 'pure Japanese', what term exactly are they using in Japanese? I'm trying to recall situations in which Japanese people have used the term with me, but nothing is coming to mind.

    The term is Jun-nihonjin.

    You replied:

    Me neither. Doesn't happen.

    Can you do me a favor?

    Step 1: Please do go the 'girl's channel' thread on Miss International. http://girlschannel.net/topics/317264/

    Step 2: Please do an in-page search for "jun-nihonjin" in kanji

    Step 3: Please post back here the number that comes up in the counter.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    But no one refers to her as "Hafu".

    She was referred to as being half when she did her nude layout around 20 some years ago. As time goes by it gets used less and less with celebrities.

  • -5

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 17, 2015 - 06:16PM JST

    Step 1: Please do go the 'girl's channel' thread on Miss International. http://girlschannel.net/topics/317264/

    So, your argument is based on this marginal BBS called girlschannel. Japan has its share of stupid people. But I do not think you can make any concluding remarks on Japanese based on this girlschannel.

    The most interesting comment I found on the girlschannel was this link. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/nina-davuluri-miss-america-religion_n_3934428.html

    Nina Davuluri's Miss America 2014 Win Prompts Twitter Backlash Against Indians, Muslims

    Twitter erupted in a flurry of indignation as Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, was crowned as this year's Miss America, with some of the milder Tweets claiming she didn't "represent American values," and others saying far worse.

    Every country has its share of stupid people.

  • 0

    Peeping_Tom

    "Nina Davuluri's Miss America 2014 Win Prompts Twitter Backlash Against Indians, Muslims

    Twitter erupted in a flurry of indignation as Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, was crowned as this year's Miss America, with some of the milder Tweets claiming she didn't "represent American values," and others saying far worse.

    Every country has its share of stupid people

    A huge frog's just been rammed down someone's throat.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    CH3CHO - Let's have a little recap.

    I wrote along post arguing that Japanese society excludes people mixed race people and that the concept of haafu is related to notions of Japanese racial purity.

    This way of dividing the world's people into, Japanese, half-Japanese, and everyone else is directly connected to ideas of Japanese racial purity and superiority. It may be used in a variety of contexts but the key meaning is clear - it means 'half not-Japanese', 'half not one of us'. That remains the case even when the context (e.g. I love haafu celebrities) is ostensibly positive.

    You joined the thread at this point to demand

    Would you describe the national identity of your children, please? Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity.

    It looked to me that you were saying my kids could not be Japanese as I am British. That came across as a little rude, but it actually proved my point.

    Now you are condemning the people on Girls's Channel (which incidentally is pretty representation of the online mood, see Yahoo Comments and numerous other blogs for jun-nihonjin commentary ad infinitum) by agreeing.

    "every country has its share of stupid people".

    I'm delighted that you now realize categorizing Japanese citizens who were born and raised in the country is an exercise in stupidity.

    As for the Miss American furore, I agree it's very disappointing. It doesn't remove two clear differences between racism in the States etc. and Japan which I have stated above.

    1) Other advanced economies do not have a category for 'half non-national' 2) People may be racist in the US / UK, but the powers that be generally frown on them, unlike here.

    Now that you have come round to the idea that labeling and discriminating against haafus is stupid, I hope you will use your influence to persuade some more of your countrymen likewise.

    It's been a pleasure talking to you.

    You responded

    Do you describe their national identity just as British, or as British and Japanese? If the latter, it is a clear evidence that their being mixed race influenced their national identity.

  • 3

    zones2surf

    Goodness gracious, 210+ comments and counting. This will go around and around for forever.

    So, what are the issues:

    Is "haafu" a derogatory term? Are "haafu" Japanese (and by that I mean Japanese nationals, in terms of nationality) discriminated against? Does being "haafu" define a Japanese national? Will being "haafu" as a Japanese national ever become "ordinary"?

    On #1, this is a subject of debate. Most "haafu" I know have accepted the terms and have no problem being called "haafu", regardless of whether the term is a good term or not. They realise that being of mixed ethnicity defines them, whether they like it or not. Sort of like being gay, or from Okinawa or something like that. Not the same, but, in the end, they know that Japan categories and groups people all of the time. My son is "haafu". In his Japanese grandparent's village, he is know as their "haafu" grandson. Just a description. Not meant to be malicious, but it does define him in their eyes. Just the reality. Conversely, for the Japanese nationals, particularly those of "pure" Japanese ethnicity (or jun-nihonjin or whatever term you wish to use), the use of "haafu" may be nothing more than a descriptor or may be used in perjorative manner. Regardless, it conveys the meaning that the person is not "pure" Japanese. It may or may not have a negative or positive connotation but it is most certainly a statement of "fact". And is a distinguishing descriptor.

    For #2, this is much more complicated. This really depends on the individual in question, their circumstances and where they are in there life. In many cases, particularly those that grow up in dual parent homes going to non-Japanese schools, it is largely a non-issue and, in fact, can be a plus, particularly if they are multi-lingual and well educated beyond secondary school. However, for those that are in single parent homes of lower income going to public school in Japan, the experience may be different. And the opportunities may be more limited. What I would say is this. Discrimination may or may not occur on a case by case basis, but, regardless, they are viewed differently. Not badly, just differently. Their being "haafu" will partially define them in the eyes of those they interact with. As is the case with anyone else who may not be the "norm".

    For #3, I think I have already answered this. But, to be clear, I don't know of any "haafu" who is a Japanese national who has not been "defined" in some way by being "haafu". There may well be those that say that how they are defined by "pure" Japanese has nothing to do with their ethnicity, but most that I know say, "yes, absolutely." Is it a problem? Not for most of them? Are they treated exactly the same as "pure" Japanese? Depends on what this means. Going back to what I said previously, many "haafu" I know say that they get the whole initial "trying to figure me out" routine. "So, you speak fluent Japanese, you grew up in Japan, you are a Japanese national, but....." and then they say, "well, one of my parent is foreign, and..." and they get the inevitable, "ahhh, yappari'. And then they move on. For some, it has been limiting. But for most that I know, because of what comes with being "haafu", they end up having opportunities that many "pure" Japanese don't have.

    For #4, I don't know the answer to this. The only way I can answer this is to ask all of you this question. Could you imagine a "haafu" being PM or a senior cabinet member in Japan or a senior bureaucrat? Because if you can imagine that, then it will have become "ordinary". Until then, "haafu" will be special and the exception and being "haafu" will a large definer of a person as a Japanese national.

  • 4

    jpn_guy

    @ zonestosurf.

    I enjoyed reading this, it's very well thought out.

    Their being "haafu" will partially define them in the eyes of those they interact with.

    And here the difference lies for those who still don't get it. Your children are being defined by a category that, in a democracy that claims to respect human rights, does not need to exist.

    In reading this thread, I've started to realized another function of the haafu category. It is a breakwater against the idea that people with no Asian blood at all can be considered fully Japanese.

    In the long run, someone born of two foreign parents in Japan, who stays in Japan and is a native speaker, will want to claim some sort of Japanese identity. It's a natural expression of the human desire to belong.

    I think that is why many people in Japan may be so keen to label haafus. It is their protection against going down the road to what they may see as cultural dilution.

    Anyway, I simply cannot see why external physical appearance needs to have anything to do with a culture and its protection. Throughout history maybe. But the human race is hopefully going forward, not backward.

    In his Japanese grandparent's village, he is know as their "haafu" grandson.

    I can see that it is in your son's best interests for you to convince him this is a perfectly normal state of affairs, I wouldn't criticize you for how you are handling this - indeed you seem to deal with it rather well.

    I'll be honest though. My in-laws too live in a small village. People their seem to have got over the shock of seeing me walking down the street, playing with the kids or sometimes tending the family grave. But I just could not bring myself to let my boy be known as throughout the village as the 'haafu grandson' and tell him to be cool with it. But then, you seem to be handling living in Japan better than I do, so maybe I should learn from you.

  • 6

    zones2surf

    @Jpnguy,

    Thanks for the comments back.

    What pains me the most in reading some of the comments is the idea that somehow those of us who have an issue with this idea of the "haafu" term defining someone that should not be so defined in some way hate Japan or think that Japan is racist.

    I was born and raised in Japan to two Western parents. I lived in Ishinomaki, in Hakodate, in western Tokyo and in Ibaraki as a young person. My first culture, my first language was Japanese. I am a foreign national and I love the nation of which I am a passport holder but the only reason I don't have a Japanese passport is that Japan does not have the jus soli citizenship principle and my home country does not allow dual nationality citizens except in special circumstances.

    I say all of this to say that I love Japan. I could sit with a "pure" Japanese national of my age and we would have the same experiences, the same memories....and the same idea of what is "natsukashii".

    So, for my son, Japan is much more than just a "haafu" idea. I am as much a product of Japan as my spouse. I would love that my son could choose to have dual nationality, but at this point, it is not a possibility.

    However, both Japan and my "home country" are his homes. And, to be clear, when push comes to shove, what has defined him and what makes him who he is is more Japan than the the other country.

    And this is what I want my son to inherently feel and understand. That it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of him and what terminology they use, his heritage is most certainly rooted in Japan, regardless of the "purity" of his ethnicity. And that Japan is an amazing place to be from and to call home.

    And this is why this topic is important to me. Its not that I mind the term per se. It is the idea that someone that is not ethnically "pure"Japanese cannot be Japanese or that they are somehow "haafu" Japanese that offends me.

    Which is why I keep saying, what does it meant to be Japanese!?

  • 3

    MiuraAnjin

    I'll be honest and state that I have not read all the posts above; the first 30 did my head in.

    But the folks who don't understand the 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 should know that: I'm half English, a quarter French and a quarter Dutch. My girlfriend is half Okinawan, a quarter Italian and a quarter French but has Peruvian nationality.

    So, a question to the "Double Brigade": Am I triple? Is she triple plus one? Quadruple? If we have kids, what will they be?

    As I said, this is doing my head in.

  • -9

    Peeping_Tom

    "In the long run, someone born of two foreign parents in Japan, who stays in Japan and is a native speaker, will want to claim some sort of Japanese identity. It's a natural expression of the human desire to belong."

    Such a person will possess Japanese nationality; will never become ethnic Japanese.

    That applies to anyone born in Japan (or any other country where the populace constitutes an ethnic group), with one foreign parent. If both are foreigners then the issue is a non issue, as the person could never become ethnic.

    To give you just a pointer one of the tenets of ethnicity is common ancestry; the other common one is genetic origins.

    Now you have to accept that a foreign parent will never have common ancestry with ethnic people from a different country, anywhere in the world.

    For a definition of ethnic, please do your own research on the matter.

    Feel free to disagree but that is a fact regulated by law and defined by biology.

    Japanese are an ethnic group, just like the English, Irish Scottish and Welsh.

    A person born in the UK of two Ghanaian parents will be a Brit, but will never become ethnic English.

    Sorry but in this regards yer wrong, notwithstanding the validity of the overall point yer trying to make.

  • 1

    zones2surf

    @Peeping_Tom:

    So, a 100% ethnically Japanese (whatever the hell that means, since the origins are likely from Korea and China, in part) person that is born to 2 Japanese citizens and raised their whole life in, say, California, speaks English better than Japanese and culturally behaves more American than Japanese. Vs. a "haafu" Japanese/non-Japanese born and raised in Japan, Japanese is their native language and culturally Japanese.

    Who is more Japanese?

  • 1

    JackieS

    @ Strangerland and everybody else involved in this discussion about life experiences in Japan for half Japanese and half anything else kids, please try to watch this documentary. It's called "Hafu, the Mixed Race Experience." They have a web site, http://hafufilm.com/en/.

    I grew up in Japan in the 60's so the directors weren't interested in my input. After the movie came out a couple of years ago, I was amazed by the similarities with my childhood and the modern children's experiences. Just like my brother, the boy in the half Mexican family got most of the bullying. I've been told many times through the years that my childhood was an exception and the racial bigotry just don't happen anymore, most often by my Japanese family and the parents of mixed Japanese kids when I try to warn them. I've even been told by some Japanese moms that the reason their kids won't experience bullying is because their other half is pure, unlike my American father. The last time I was told this was two years ago by a young woman from Tokyo. Her husband was from Finland and their daughter looked a lot like me, with brown hair and large eyes.

    Even though I personally don't feel uncomfortable by the label "haafu," I understand the possibility of micro-aggressive outcomes from using the label. It was easy to stop using the term. I now just say "My mom was Japanese. Okaasan wa Nihonjin dattano desu."

    This film, directed by half Japanese young adults, is wonderful. Please watch it.

  • 1

    sfjp330

    The real issue arises when Haafu children grow up and start looking for a job. Many conservative Japanese firms are still reluctant to hire Haafu, especially those who obviously look mixed. It doesn’t matter if they speak perfect Japanese, many companies feel that for a position that requires you to deal with Japanese customers, you must also be Japanese.

  • 0

    Sasakikojiro2

    If I hear one more time that my "Haafu" daughters should be models or news casters (readers) or talents I'm going to go crazy. That's all mixed Japanese are good for apparently. Never mind the fact they are bicultural and completely, fluently bilingual.

    I live in Japan because I like it here but that doesn't mean it is a flawless place. I'm not keen on the term "haafu" and I've seen the ugly side of it with my own kids. Although they've lived their entire lives in Japan -- somehow they are less Japanese in many minds. Once in a while -- people who absolutely know they've lived here their entire lives ask "Nihongo daijoubu na no?

    Seriously?

  • -2

    cleo

    What do you think about the title of this very page, and the emphasis on haafu?

    Not a lot. The title is a reflection of what the folks at Rocket News think; the emphasis on 'haafu' in the comments is a reflection of what folk who read JT think.

    I can honestly say that the term 'jun-nihonjin' is not one I come across in my conversations with the people around me. I may have read it once or twice before now, but it's not a word that a Japanese person has ever used to my face (anyone who did would get a lecture on how there is no such creature - I once wrote a paper on japanese ethnicity at uni), and certainly not one that peppers social interaction. While there are a few posts on Girls Channel pointing out that Miss Japan is Japanese, the admittedly strong emphasis on her haafuness and how that makes her not fit to represent Japan is both sad and annoying. Like the cesspit that is 2 chan, maybe Girls Channel attracts the underside of Japanese society - those not content with their lot, envious and ready to complain (especially if they can do it anonymously) about anyone seeming to be doing better than them in their miserable lives? I was amused by the posts that wanted Miss Japan to exude 'Asian Beauty' (like the shampoo ad?) with 'traditional' straight black hair and pale skin. Does not compute with all the hair dyes, perms and whitening creams that are so obviously popular with the general public, and that I'm pretty sure many of the jun-nihonjin at Girls Channel spend a good bit of their pocket money on.

    If I hear one more time that my "Haafu" daughters should be models or news casters (readers) or talents I'm going to go crazy. That's all mixed Japanese are good for apparently.

    I heard that a lot, too. Even got scouted by a model agency once at Shinjuku Station. It isn't that it's 'all they're good for'; they're good-looking enough that there is perceived to be another path open to them that is not open to most ordinary-looking people. Wait until their biculturalism, bilingualism and hopefully good grades get them real jobs your neighbours and their kids can only dream of. :-)

  • -8

    Peeping_Tom

    Yeah, let's beat up the Japanese horse, until the cows come home.

    She is undoubtedly a Japanese citizen; will never be fully ethnic Japanese as this is an impossibility dictate by the simple act of being born from a non-Japanese.

    Seems this fact many would like to disregard while considering this issue.

  • 4

    Himajin

    While there are a few posts on Girls Channel pointing out that Miss Japan is Japanese, the admittedly strong emphasis on her haafuness and how that makes her not fit to represent Japan is both sad and annoying.

    Yes, indeed.

    Not one of these people would voice these opinions in public, I'm sure. Many people have brought up this kind of comment saying "See!? This is how the Japanese think of haafu!", but read those comments. They're ignorant, rude, and ugly. Would you associate with people who talk like that in real life? Of course not. They're the same as the racist Archie Bunker type neighbor you'd avoid, the person out screaming at strangers in front of the station or on a street corner. You'd steer clear of them in real life, why give any weight to their words online? The internet just lets them 'meet' and scream together instead of each screaming on their own street corner. Pay them no heed.

    My son is haafu and has haafu friends. It has never been a barrier to education, employment, or renting a place to live. Again, a small sample, but all our small samples are adding up...

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @peeping tom

    Yeah, let's beat up the Japanese horse, until the cows come home.

    I thought we were having a civilized discussion on the complex nature of identify and belonging; not sure why it looks like a Japan-bashing fest to you.

  • 2

    noypikantoku

    Sasakikojiro2

    If I hear one more time that my "Haafu" daughters should be models or news casters (readers) or talents I'm going to go crazy

    You are taking it too much, Just be happy that your daughters are getting good compliments from people. They are just saying that your daughters are beautiful and have potentials to become models someday, and what is wrong with being a model and newscaster? So you are against Ariana Miyamoto because she is Japanese with a non japanese father (Haafu) and now a miss universe?

    The problem is the "PEOPLE"... You give compliments, people will see problems, you don't compliment and ignore they see problem with that too!

  • 0

    kurumazaka

    So I just read that Trump disqualified her and Miss Philippines for being half. According to his royal highness, they do not "represent their culture to its fullest extent." Way to go Donald! Afraid you really stepped on your crank this time. You claim it's not racist, but a celebration of "the purity of diversity in our universe." I'm curious, just how do you define a "pure-bred" American, Mr. Combover? Well, on the bright side, he probably just hooked Miss Miyamoto up with a mega modeling contract

  • 2

    noypikantoku

    Sasakijiro

    Plus it's not only the mixed (Haafu) get this kind of compliment. Even the good looking pure Japanese kids get the same compliments.

  • 2

    Himajin

    kurumazaka, it's a hoax, from the Adobo Chronicles a site like The Onion, none of the stories are true.

  • 1

    kurumazaka

    Thank you Himajin! I shall now crawl back under my rock and hide...

  • -1

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 16, 2015 - 05:22PM JST

    Haafu is hard to translate into English because we have no equivalent. In the UK, where I'm from, we may talk about people being mixed race. However, this is just a descriptive term that is nothing to do with national identity. Most people, if they described me as mixed race, are not making a judgement as to my Britishness one way or the other. This distinction is important, but many commentators seem to miss it.

    The situation in Japan is very different. As we all know, haafu is almost exclusively reserved for and understood to mean people with one Japanese and one foreign parent, with no further reference as to where to foreign parent is from. The core meaning - 'you are not one of us' could not be clearer.

    This was your first comment. "mixed race" is OK, whereas "Half/Hafu" is bad. UK is a wonderful place for using the word "mixed race", whereas Japan is racist hell for using the word "Half/Hafu." I see no difference. After discussion, we agreed that Half/Hafu is ethnic descriptor rather than nationality descriptor. Today, a nation houses more than one ethnicity. Whether people feel alienated because of ethnicity depends on the open mindedness of both majority and minority. But in the multi ethnic society, we need both words and concept to describe different ethnicity, be it catch all "Mixed race," "Half/Hafu," or specific like "Korean American."

    I would prefer a Japan where people do not constantly categorize people according to their ethnicity and keep repeating 'haafu' 'haafu' over and over as if having one non-Japanese parent defines you as an individual.

    I disagree. I would rather see a society where people respect their difference.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    I thought we were having a civilized discussion on the complex nature of identify and belonging; not sure why it looks like a Japan-bashing fest to you.

    Sadly there are those that feel that anything that is said negatively about Japan is bashing Japan. Even many Japanese themselves, one's are are typically quiet and reserved will pop to the "defense" of their country and people whenever any disparaging comments or observations are made.

    Often times it becomes a comparison justification game, haafu in Japan, discriminated? No acknowledgement that there may be a problem but a response of "hey in such-and-such country they discriminate against such-and such.

  • 0

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 18, 2015 - 12:20PM JST

    I am focusing on the concept behind it i.e. that it is a invalid exercise to categorize people into a single category on the basis on them having one Japanese and one non-Japanese parent

    But where is the category that is analogous to haafu? What is the name of the group of people who are lumped together for having one British and one non-British parent.

    How about "mixed race", as you suggested?

    Why is it OK to "categorize people into a single category" with the "concept" of "mixed race", whereas categorizing people with the concept of "Half/Hafu" is not OK? Is the concept of British offensive to you, for it lumps English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish into a single category? Is the concept of European offensive to you, for it lumps British, French, German, and so on into one category?

    You wrote long essays saying the concept of "Half/Hafu" is patently bad. I say your essays have no ground.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO -

    Consider the following:

    Chinese Malaysian mum - Black Brazilian Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Gaijin

    Fijian mum - White Mexican Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Gaijin

    White British Mum - Asian-looking Japanese Dad UK label: Mixed race (note this is the same label as above) Japan label: Half (note this is not the same label as above)

    Now do you understand? 'Mixed race' in the UK is not a statement on the 'purity' of the British people. We do not have a separate category for 'half-non-national', and we do not use that category to make assumptions about people.

    In Japan this category leads to people saying 'Nihongo daijobu nano?' when the individual in front of them is speaking Japanese! The category is usurping the reality.

    Is the concept of European offensive to you? If people in the UK started reacting to people differently (and I mean, in personal relationships and everyday life, I am not talking about the legal treatment of EU nation state members here) then yes, the concept would offend me.

    Or perhaps more precisely, the way in which the concept is harnessed, which I think is my main objection to haafu too.

    But your analogy is false, since European is a geographical term which exists of necessity, and no-one in the UK starts conversations by discussing whether or not someone is European, and no-one assumes cultural knowledge, linguistic ability, desire to be a model, unfamiliarity with UK cultural norms etc. etc. on this basis either.

    You write about that we need the concept of haafu (and presumably the accompanying insistence in going on about it) in order to 'respect peoples differences'.

    Perhaps you can explain how you think haafu people living in Japan benefit from this designation (and without reference to the ease of having a media career, since I think we dealt with that above).

  • -1

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 18, 2015 - 01:52PM JST

    Now do you understand? 'Mixed race' in the UK is not a statement on the 'purity' of the British people.

    I think most people would take "mixed race" as "not-pure British."

  • 2

    Frederic Bastiat

    Ha! I'm mulatto! My great-grandmother was mulatto. C'est la vie! And, no, mulatto isn't derogatory, though the origin of the word is.

  • 2

    Daniel Neagari

    Why so many people get "offended" because of the term haafu/half?.... The "negative connotations" they say that word has.. in fact I think comes from their mind and not much from the "outside"....

    Say what ever, I am a "Half" and I do not feel offended by it at all.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    Daniel: not the term, the concept

    Look at any interview with Ms. Miyamoto. She always starts off almost apologizing for feeling Japanese while not looking Japanese. It seems to be an attempt to fend off criticism. When haafu are on TV, it is their haafuness that is constantly referred to. Is this a desirable situation in your eyes?

    This is not about whether a particularly term is or is not offensive. It is about the attitudes of Japanese society to the claimed 'purity' of the Japanese race, the perceived lack thereof in certain individuals, and the differing treatment afforded to those individuals as a result of this categorization.

    Ms. Miyamoto tells a reporter (forgive me I can't remember the exact words) 'onaji you ni kurushindeiru hito ni yuuki wo ataetakatta'

    translation: I wanted to give courage to people having difficulties like myself.

    What do you think this means? Why is she constantly talking about her ethnicity. It's surely a sign its been shoved in her face again and again. You can see the slight look of disappointment and resignation in her eyes when she talks about it.

    Have you never heard a Japanese person say 'yoku sono kao de Taro Suzuki nanoreru ne' (You've got some front to introduce yourself as Taro Suzuki with that face)

    Or as an aside to others 'sono kao de Taro Suzuki wa nai yo ne' (That dude should not be called Taro Suzuki looking like that).

    When people discuss these attitudes in Japan, they are often accused of 'not understanding Japanese culture' particularly if the are foreign-looking. The irony is that the more Japanese you learn, the more likely you are to overhear people saying this kind of stuff.

    With the excess of haafu newsreaders, models and celebrities and the lack of haafu doctors, lawyers and certified accountants, I'm not sure why you think this is all in my head.

    Remember, this is not about 'kotoba-gari'

  • 5

    noypikantoku

    If my mother is Japanese and my father is American, and I reside in Japan,I can say I am Japanese, but what if we suddenly move to America (my father's hometown) and stay there for good and I can speak English as good as my father, Can I still say I am Japanese?

    Haafu is being used by Japanese people but they don't mean to degrade or look down on mixed people. Because what will be a good word for it then? Any kinds of word that you use subjective to mixed/haafu can always be associated with negativity..

    How about the word BLACK, how come this word became acceptable to people where it is referring to people's skin color? Black in Spanish means NEGRO, in America if you say NEGRO it suddenly becomes Offensive, How come it's offensive as it means the same as BLACK, SO my point is (before it goes out topic) It's not the WORD that matters, it's the individuals' interpretation and usage.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    I've been arguing throughout this thread that majority Japanese society forces people into boxes based on their physical appearance. I want that to stop. I want it to stop so my kids don't have to go through FIRST HAND what you went through.

    I'm just calling it as I see it based on years of living in Japan as a foreigner and as the father of two mixed race kids.

    I see people staring at my daughter. She sees it too and she reacts to it.

    I hear people ask her if she can speak Japanese when she is already speaking Japanese.

    I don't appreciate the status quo.

    Does this stuff stop when you enter the workforce then? Maybe we can ask all the haafu executives in senior positions at Japanese companies (not gaishiki) what they think of this situation.

  • 1

    Daniel Neagari

    @jpn_guy

    The great majority of "haafu" ...as to say sort of the first "patch" were born during 1970 to 1985, so it is too early yet to have a lot of execs in senior position. Middle may be. Remember, how many no-white seniors execs exist in the US and Europe?, or how many non-arab execs in those Arab companies? The same disease everywhere not only of Japan.

    And as for the "looks" your kid get, I am sorry but that is the burden every mixed race children has to carry here in Japan, or every where else.

    I know.. 'cause I have experience it.

  • 7

    noypikantoku

    I see people staring at my daughter. She sees it too and she reacts to it.

    I hear people ask her if she can speak Japanese when she is already speaking Japanese.

    I don't appreciate the status quo.

    Unfortunately that happens anywhere bro, not only in Japan. you'll be surprise how worse it is in the Philippines and other countries. You can't avoid people to become curious about it, they are just curious, they are not sure if your daughter was born here or in other country. I don't think staring and asking if she speaks Japanese means they are already degrading your daughter. Let's face it, Japan is not like USA where different varieties of ethnicities are all living together, majority of the people living in Japan are Japanese (Asians), and admit that its natural for humans to become curious if they see another person that slightly looks different from the usual people around them and it doesn’t mean they are treating your daughters negatively.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    "@Daniel Neagari

    And as for the "looks" your kid get, I am sorry but that is the burden every mixed race children has to carry here in Japan, or every where else.

    This is not true.

    I was born in the UK in the 70s. A few times in the early 80s people made comments about my appearance. And then it stopped. Just like that. We evolved as a society. We moved on. We became more tolerant. Sure, we are not there yet. So the 'everywhere else' does not apply and cannot be used to give Japan a free pass.

  • 4

    Peacetrain

    I'm a gaijin and I use the word haafu. My kids are haafu and they call themselves haafu and say their Dad is a gaijin. And i refer to myself as a gaijin.

    Not a problem! lol

    As for Japanese staring heck, I stare at gaijin too!
    In some countries people who look different get insulted and things thrown at them. In Japan they get stared at admiringly and get told they should be models and are so good looking - and that makes them upset????

    Wow. Who thought life could be so hard?

    Thinking about it again. It's a big thing that a haafu was crowned Miss Japan. So Japan is coming a long way.

  • 2

    Sugako Anderson

    Not taking away anyone else's experience, but I have had no problems being asked if I was haafu or saying I was haafu. I never once experienced it in a negative way and lived in Okinawa, Japan for haafu my life. (I am half Okinawa, half American & 100% proud & connected of each) Maybe that's the way Okinawa is b/c of it's large US Military population, but never ever did I have or have had a problem with being asked or called haafu. Actually, I always felt like I was receiving compliments b/c of my nose shape, or lips, or having a butt, or "large" eyes. Though all those things are backwards...the point I'm trying to make is that those I encountered (including family) made me feel like being haafu made me extra special. It definitely went to my head in my early 20s!

  • -4

    Frederick Stimson Harriman

    "Daburu" has been proposed, instead of "Haafu." A good proposal. I have always liked: "Boosu" ("Both").

    In any event, this is truly significant. Hang in there, all you open-minded Japanese. Things do change!!

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Daburu" has been proposed, instead of "Haafu." A good proposal.

    No actually it's not, why trade one label for another. They are neither. Japanese education has to catch up to 2015.

  • 4

    jpn_guy

    @Yubaru I hear you. It's so depressing.

    This thread starts with this non-issue over what to call 'half non-Japanese' people who just want to be treated as normal human beings in the only society they have ever lived in.

    We have a category problem, not a language problem.

    In the middle of this thread I and a few other posters have had a pretty long discussion on the meaning of identity and belonging, and why we were prefer a more inclusive concept of Japanese identity due to the restrictions placed on social interaction and peoples life choices by the status quo.

    If you are clicking on this thread for the first time (since it's still top of the list) have a think about how haafu, in a Japanese context, differs from mixed race or mixed in a foreign context. The former is used to deny 'purity' of whatever that means, and full membership of society. The later is not, at least not in the UK. The vast majority of British people do not think mixed-race Britons are not 'pure' Britons, unlike certain Japanese posters above, projecting their distorted world view onto other countries.

    Anyway, hear we are, 250 odd posts later and we are back to 'haafu', 'half' 'double' 'daburu' nonsense.

    Maybe the only thing I have learned from this discussion is the futility of arguing on the internet.

    Here's to equality of treatment in daily life, and equal opportunity over the course of your life, in all societies.

  • 0

    noypikantoku

    PEACETRAIN

    Well Said!

  • 2

    Yoshitsune

    @CH3CHO

    I think most people would take "mixed race" as "not-pure British."

    Hello, I'm sorry but you are incorrect to think so. Most people in the UK do not take mixed race as "not-pure" (except for a few football hooligan England Defence League types, a similar group to Japan's uyoku). e.g. my friend is half-Egyptian and half-Colombian, therefore he is mixed race; he is still completely British. Another friend is half-Indian-Kenyan and half-Sri Lankan berber, therefore (very!) mixed race, and is still completely British. etc etc

    @noypikantoku

    I didn’t specifically reffered to Dentok2009's Korean Japanese friends

    Hello again mate, I went back and re-read your post, and no you didn't specifically do that so I offer my apologies. That was lazy of me.

    I know about the some of the Korean Japanese people around me who are crying foul for not being recognized as Japanese but refuse to change their nationalities. I don’t say it is a PROBLEM, but I am confused by their sentiments because obviously if they want to be Japanese and want to be recognized as one, then they should officially be Japanese

    The general point I intended to make in my earlier post and will try to clarify here is that when you, or I, or anyone else, encounters someone that we know is Korean-Japanese, we still don't know which passport they hold until they tell us. I think what most Korean-Japanese complain about is that they get different treatment not based upon their passport, but upon the fact that they are ethnic-Korean i.e. people treat them differently without even knowing their official national status.

  • -1

    5petals

    The denying, back peddling, chasing the tail behavior I see here wont change the clear and obvious fact what halfu or gaijin really means. If your comfortable with it, it means your comfortable with the aparthied status quo. What it means is that your not 100% pure Japanese; no need to call a spade anything else than what it is. Both are dated and ridiculous terms that have no place in a progressive global community. "He is a half or a quarter White or Black..." cant say I have heard that one used because its obviously offensive and if I say that it means Im elevating my race above the other part of his heritage. I would only use it to be offensive and go "there", that uncomfortable zone where the offended has no recourse except to internalize their discomfort. I dont like that word and never use it.

  • -4

    Strangerland

    If your comfortable with it, it means your comfortable with the aparthied status quo.

    I'm comfortable with the word half/haafu, and I'm not comfortable with the status quo.

  • -4

    It"S ME

    Being the parent of a haafu he always gets comments on his good looks. Many Japanese do like haafu and many j&women I spoke to would like one. Just look at the amount of tarento haafu.

    Said Caucasian/Asian, African/Asian are most admired, myself a haafu but Caucasian/Caucasian.

  • 3

    fishy

    The real issue arises when Haafu children grow up and start looking for a job. Many conservative Japanese firms are still reluctant to hire Haafu, especially those who obviously look mixed. It doesn’t matter if they speak perfect Japanese, many companies feel that for a position that requires you to deal with Japanese customers, you must also be Japanese

    Well, I have never had any of this "real problem" all my life in Japan. I've had 3 jobs at Japanese companies in the past and my haafu-ness was never a problem. Perhaps there are haafus that have had this problem but I don't personally know any of my haafu friends who had this problem. So I must say that I don't completely deny this but I don't think, speaking from my own experience, that this has been a real issue at least in my days (could have been a different story long time ago).

  • 0

    Daniel Neagari

    @jpn_guy

    You said it... UK is not "there yet" (where is there I don't know)... and so are all other countries and cultures in several levels.

    Now... if you live for a long time in Japan, you must know that the generation of our fathers (since you said you were born in the 70s), are almost the first generation that went outside Japan and had a family with "non-japanese". Of course there where "haafu" people before that but not in the same level as that period.

    This means that Japan has been a bit late in the cosmopolitan area, so were the UK (i doubt is all the UK, but only the major cities though) has been getting near to "there", Japan has yet a lot of road to go. Despite that, if you go to Tokyo, Yokohama, Naha, Osaka, Nagasaki, and some other major cities, the "staring" level is much less compared to cities and areas that have a less population density of foreigners (Maebashi, Sendai, Aomori pref, Nagano, etc.).

    I am not excusing Japan for not being "there", I am saying that as a half blooded (I call myself that), the "stigma" will follow you every where. And sorry, I did not have the luck to live and grew up in UK, who are near to "there", since I was raise in South america that is much for from "there". And again... KIDS are awful, people grow up and most of them get more civilized.

  • -3

    5petals

    I think the overrepresentation of mixed raced individuals as tarento or paid clowns is self evident of a deeply engrained problem Japan has with non Japanese. If you have found your comfort zone as a "halfu" and enjoy the fake admiration, then nothing I can say will convince you what is really at work, and admittedly, I dont know all the dynamics as Im not Japanese, but anyone can observe and draw their own conclusions. Ive seen so many "halfu" fill roles especially designed for them, like English teaching clown shows and as a role in an "bery international" drama, where the scene is produced abroad and the "halfu" are a sort of go between between Japan and that country, never being accepted as just an actor. There was once a mixed race lady in the 60s 70s, (sorry, the name escapes me) that was a sort of wild product of a mixed marriage who was very rebelious. I actually found her to be very refreshing because she depicted how things really are.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @peacetrain

    As for Japanese staring heck, I stare at gaijin too! In some countries people who look different get insulted and things thrown at them. In Japan they get stared at admiringly and get told they should be models and are so good looking - and that makes them upset????

    Well thank you for you help in solving the problem of the gaijin stigma.

    As for your claims above, being someone who is mixed race in the UK, 'black' if I visit the States and 'gaijin' in Japan, I am familiar with the argument that as haafus and gaijin in Japan are not hanging from trees they should brush off everyone that happens to them and lighten up. (I know you wrote 'rocks thrown at them' rather than 'lynched' but your is a version of the same, tired argument.)

    This line of reasoning is completely specious. We are not looking for ways in which Japan can avoid scrapping the bottom of the barrel through violent racism. We are looking to find ways in which Japan can become more tolerant and inclusive as a modern democracy. Not sure why you set the bar so low.

    In any case, and referring to your quote above, you would do well not to mock.

    The article below is by a man suffered what looks like deep emotional trauma due to the constant questioning and denial of his identity. It's not something to laugh at.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/opinions/view/half-and-haafu

    Of course, we can see from this thread that some people are less affected than others and some don't care at all, even if they have to 'explain' themselves and who they are every day of the week.

    But the success of these laudably thick-skinned people doesn't give you license to belittle the struggles of others.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    I'm comfortable with the word half/haafu

    Really? How surprising that you allow society to label your children.

    , and I'm not comfortable with the status quo.

    And yet you are very comfortable and accept the status quo because like you said you are comfortable with people using the word haafu label.

  • -2

    Strangerland

    And yet you are very comfortable and accept the status quo because like you said you are comfortable with people using the word haafu label.

    Apparently you lost the track of the conversation. The status quo being referred to was this one:

    it means your comfortable with the aparthied status quo.

    It wasn't the status quo of the usage of the word haafu.

  • -3

    Yubaru

    It wasn't the status quo of the usage of the word haafu.

    Be that as it may you still claim to be comfortable with the word haafu, so you are comfortable with society here labeling your children. Thank you for confirming that.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    Be that as it may you still claim to be comfortable with the word haafu, so you are comfortable with society here labeling your children. Thank you for confirming that.

    I'm ok with society labeling them haafu.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    I'm ok with society labeling them haafu.

    Sad isn't it? That an educated society has to resort to labeling sections of their own only because they can not wrap their minds around the idea that people no matter their background can be the same as they are.

    What is even sadder still is parents that let society dictate what is right or wrong too.

  • 2

    Strangerland

    Well that's the glass half empty way of looking at it.

    As I've said before in this thread, we 'label' people of ancestry in English without meaning all the time. I myself am half X and half Y.

    You call it a label, I call it an identifier. I prefer not to bury my head in the sand as to the existence of race.

    What is even sadder still is parents that let society dictate what is right or wrong too.

    I find it much sadder when people pull the race card when it doesn't exist. It teaches their kids to be reactive and create conflict even when there is an absence of ill intent. Sad isn't it.

  • 1

    RBH829

    So she is haafu, half Japanese half American, mixed race, whatever!!! She was allowed to join the pageant and won!! Maybe it's high time to accept that a minority of Japanese nationals do have foreign ancestry ...... and they are beautiful and good-looking people!!

  • 1

    Clarejachie Imagai Sala

    I wish she's native. But who cares. I would still support her. BTW I'm filipin and they're many half-filipina who are participating in pageants.

  • -2

    Wc626

    Wow. This "haafu" controversy is still going?

    What's the big debate about? She is Black American & Japanese. M. Obama should make a visit to Nagasaki & congratulate Ariana.

  • 0

    WilliB

    Strangerland:

    " Well that's the glass half empty way of looking at it. As I've said before in this thread, we 'label' people of ancestry in English without meaning all the time. I myself am half X and half Y. You call it a label, I call it an identifier. I prefer not to bury my head in the sand as to the existence of race. "

    Spot on. Maybe the first time ever I agree with Strangerland, who I usually find flat-out wrong on every political issue there is.

    Anyway, it is amazing that this thread is STILL going on...

  • 1

    Strangerland

    Spot on. Maybe the first time ever I agree with Strangerland, who I usually find flat-out wrong on every political issue there is.

    As they say, even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

    ...which gives you about 12 more hours until you are correct again :)

  • 0

    Daniel Neagari

    As I see all this thread of comments, I can only get the idea that people that are somehow "offended" or denounce that there is "segregation" are the ones that have some issues regarding the "haafu" thing and the Japanese Miss Universe Representative.

    You see a problem and get a problem, because you are looking for a problem....

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @Neagari @cleo @strangerland @ anyone else who cannot see the problem here.

    I argued previously above that the haafu category is created by the majority out of misplaced ideas of 'purity' and haafu in Japan may embrace the identity to help them overcome the trauma of being ostracized (not withstanding that haafu outside Japan may get together and enjoy chillin' and celebrating their Japanese identity).

    I mentioned that whatever we call this made-up category of 'half non-nationals', the category itself, the frequent reference to haafuness as a defining factor, and the presumptions and stereotyping that go with it have more negative than positive consequences.

    What do you think of this video? The girl featured looks pretty traumatized to me.

    She quite clearly sets out what happens when restrictive interpretations of Japanese identity are allowed to go unchallenged.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2US9YVBZM

  • 3

    Daniel Neagari

    @jpn_guy

    The only thing I can say to you (and any other people that feel that way) is that thing I posted before. You want this to be an issue.. and you are getting it.

    I am speaking on behalf of a "Haafu", who in fact felt out of the place and didn't belong. Most of that was because I felt like that and thus get that kind of treatment.

    I am now, have a lot of friends in my home country (Ecuador) and here in Japan (my other home country), I work in a Japanese company environment, I have a Japanese wife...I live in a Japanese community.. I don't get none of those "sights" and even if I do, I don't care and there is no issue there.

    Again, stop looking for a problem.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    Well that's the glass half empty way of looking at it. As I've said before in this thread, we 'label' people of ancestry in English without meaning all the time. I myself am half X and half Y. You call it a label, I call it an identifier. I prefer not to bury my head in the sand as to the existence of race. "

    "We" does not include "Me"....and I was born and raised and educated in an environment were "identifiers" (just another way of saying label) were not acceptable and no used.

    "WE", my family and all my school mates were taught to accept people at face value. "WE" learned that labeling people or placing "identifiers" (your words not mine) on people were (and still are) used to keep people in their place.

    "WE" can change it, if "WE" make the effort, but until people understand their misguided understanding of just what they are doing wrong it just ends up becoming a "banging one's head against the wall" kind of thing.

    Labeling or "identifying" someone as "haafu" is exactly the same as labeling LGBT people, or burakumin, or a host of other "identifiers" used throughout history, and if you look throughout history nothing ever good came out of it.

    Benign as you may think it is, obviously many people haven't taken the time to understand the discrimination that occurs from using such labels or "identifiers".

  • 2

    Strangerland

    What do you think of this video? The girl featured looks pretty traumatized to me.

    She quite clearly sets out what happens when restrictive interpretations of Japanese identity are allowed to go unchallenged.

    Poor girl. I feel for her. But the word haafu is not the problem, it's the attitude of the people that were bullying her that is the problem. Do you think that if the word haafu didn't exist, she wouldn't have faced those attitudes from the people she did? Do you think that she wouldn't have faced these issues if we instead referred to biracial children as double?

    As I stated earlier in this thread, blaming the issues on the word is misdiagnosing the issue, particularly since there is no ill intent behind its usage the majority of time it is used.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Last words here...taken from a psychology report about the problems with labeling people

    Your describing the person by a single term and reducing them to a one-dimensional artifact of the profound person they really are. This is totally unfair. People don’t understand the real power of words and how we should be able to avoid using them to diminish others. We should want to use our words to encourage and inspire people. I also think people downgrade other people to feel better about themselves. What’s the point? How does that make you feel more better?

    We should focus on what we have in common like our common values and beliefs. It is very easy to throw a group of people into a bucket and judge them as a whole by attaching a label.

    These are both very good reasons why people should stop using the label haafu. One other thing that ends up happening is that when a label is used one ends up stereotyping people as well, intentional or otherwise.

  • 5

    Strangerland

    "We" does not include "Me"....and I was born and raised and educated in an environment were "identifiers" (just another way of saying label) were not acceptable and no used.

    So you have never heard anyone identify themselves as 'half X and half Y'?

    Labeling or "identifying" someone as "haafu" is exactly the same as labeling LGBT people

    You have this 100% backwards. How many homosexuals have been traumatized by having been pressured by society to NOT identify themselves as LGBT, to stay in the closet, to keep their 'label' hidden? And if you truly think that it is the same, then shame on you for using the label 'LGBT people' in your thread, as you just labeled them.

    Benign as you may think it is, obviously many people haven't taken the time to understand the discrimination that occurs from using such labels or "identifiers".

    The problem isn't in the identifiers, it's when the intent behind their usage is negative.

  • 1

    cleo

    But the word haafu is not the problem, it's the attitude of the people that were bullying her that is the problem

    Exactly.

  • 5

    JaneM

    @Yubaru: Sad isn't it? That an educated society has to resort to labeling sections of their own…

    In Japan you call it “labeling.” In other countries it is identifying, stereotyping or whatever expression you might come up with. If you are offended by this Japanese “thing” you should be even more so when you are defined in no uncertain terms as mixed race or “half-this and half-that” in western countries.

    @Yubaru: only because they can not wrap their minds around the idea that people no matter their background can be the same as they are.

    We are the same human beings as a species. We feel love and pain in the same way and most of the time have the same values when regarding life, death, etc. Yet, your upbringing, family background, etc. gives you a different point of view on most of the things that happen to you in life. A very good proof of this is the number and difference of the opinions regarding this “half-ness.” While many foreigners do not see the ward “haafu” as segregating, others do. And it is all because of the baggage you have inherited (value system, ethics, etc. which most of the times are based on what you have been thought as a child or young adult.) The Japanese do not lack the ability to understand “others.” Rather, they are aware of the above and the way I see it, talking about it shows that they appreciate the differences.

    @jpn_guy: I argued previously above that the haafu category is created by the majority out of misplaced ideas of 'purity' and haafu in Japan may embrace the identity to help them overcome the trauma of being ostracized

    You have had several people come up and say that they have no objections to the term, themselves being “haafu,” have not heard the word used in a derogatory manner and even like using it and you still continue to argue that they have been ostracized, etc.???

    Obviously, as D.N. said above: You see a problem and get a problem, because you are looking for a problem....

  • -1

    Yubaru

    The Japanese do not lack the ability to understand “others.”

    True, but acceptance is another story.

    In Japan you call it “labeling.” In other countries it is identifying, stereotyping or whatever expression you might come up with. If you are offended by this Japanese “thing” you should be even more so when you are defined in no uncertain terms as mixed race or “half-this and half-that” in western countries.

    I personally "accept" it nowhere. However how I choose to react depends totally on the situation. It does not make it right. All it does it promote differences between people and pushes them further apart or even worse.

    Failing to accept that labeling serves no purpose other than to divide rather than accept or include is a precursor to history somewhere down the line repeating itself.

  • 4

    Strangerland

    Failing to accept that labeling serves no purpose other than to divide rather than accept or include is a precursor to history somewhere down the line repeating itself.

    No, it's not.

    Failing to deal with discriminatory actions towards minorities is a precursor to history repeating itself.

  • 2

    JaneM

    I personally "accept" it nowhere. However how I choose to react depends totally on the situation. It does not make it right. All it does it promote differences between people and pushes them further apart or even worse. Failing to accept that labeling serves no purpose other than to divide rather than accept or include...

    Really? And failing to recognize differences and appreciate them is what? Do you so desperately want everybody to be like the others just because you think that same-ness will promote acceptance? Oh, right. If I further your and some other people's logic (based on the notion of so many comments that the Japanese are strange, racist, etc.) it seems that, ultimately, you want the Japanese to be like us so that we can accept their ways. Or maybe I went too far in following your line of thought?

    What happened to the "variety is the spice of life" concept?

  • -1

    Yubaru

    you want the Japanese to be like us so that we can accept their ways. Or maybe I went too far in following your line of thought?

    No not at all, my point is that labels serve no purpose, and the word haafu is a label. However it's use it very selective in Japanese society as for the most part it is typically and usually only used with people of color or caucasians .

    Generally speaking, as there are exceptions to every rule, Japanese people do not use the haafu label when talking about people who are of mixed heritage from countries like Korea, or China. because having similar roots and backgrounds they "look" Japanese, 100% Japanese.

    My intent is that Japan truly needs to educate it's population about diversity, and learning to accept people for who they are not base the relationships on looks.

    What happened to the "variety is the spice of life" concept?

    I agree, yet here that is a foreign concept.

    Failing to deal with discriminatory actions towards minorities is a precursor to history repeating itself.

    Like it or not, face it or not, many people who are called haafu here in Japan face and deal with discrimination on a daily basis, AND it's the label that starts it. Discriminatory actions dont typically happen when people have the same or similar appearances, learn from this, it starts when something is perceived as being different, and one's appearance is foremost. SO you are missing the start point of when discrimination starts.

  • 4

    Strangerland

    My intent is that Japan truly needs to educate it's population about diversity, and learning to accept people for who they are not base the relationships on looks.

    I agree with you on this.

    Like it or not, face it or not, many people who are called haafu here in Japan face and deal with discrimination on a daily basis,

    And I'm still with you here. But...

    AND it's the label that starts it.

    You lost me there. The label does not start it. It's not like the issues you describe would not exist if the label didn't.

  • -8

    tinawatanabe

    My intent is that Japan truly needs to educate it's population about diversity

    I don't agree from here. You assume diversity is good. And you decide Japan does not have diversity and need it and need to be educated.

    Some countries have diversity, some don't. You can't make all countries the same. Diversity may be good, but there is negative side in everything. You can't make Japan change the way you want.

    And the Japanese don't judge so much by looks. If you speak better Japanese than native Japanese, people will respect you.

  • 2

    Lazybones

    There are labels in every country that can at times be interpreted to have some element of hate or disdain (Southerner, Pakistani, Jew, Hispanic, black, Arab, Nikkei, gay, senior citizen). Some of you think of a world with no labels? Are you kidding? But if you are proud of yourself, the label is a positive thing. I'm American, half Japanese, half Caucasian, a woman, a lesbian, and proud of all of those "labels" that make me who I am.

    I'm always amused by those self-righteous folks who are not a member of a particular "label" discussing and trying to decide for those in the group what they should be called. This week on CNN they have been discussing the N-word and whether rappers and African-Americans in general should use it amongst themselves. A white panelist was saying no, but the black panelist asked why the black community should be told what to say by whites. I feel exactly the same way here. It's clear that the overwhelming majority of half Japanese posters here don't mind the term, so those of you who are not Japanese or half should just leave it alone.

    And I don't think Yubaru is LGBT, so leave that alone too :)

  • 3

    Yubaru

    And the Japanese don't judge so much by looks. If you speak better Japanese than native Japanese, people will respect you.

    Different subject but this is not always the case, with higher educated Japanese people there are many that feel very uncomfortable with having any foreigner speak better than they do and one's that do are seen as oddities.

    And I don't think Yubaru is LGBT, so leave that alone too :)

    lol! No I am not, yet I do feel uniquely qualified to talk about this from a number of different angles, one as being the parent of mixed-heritage children, going through the "gaijin" bs, becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen, and not fitting into any category (label) that typically Japanese try to put me into.

    I've been called half more times than I can count, I am not though, I get called gaijin all the time, and shock people when I show them my passport, particularly going through customs and immigration at the airport, and learning to live with all the preconceived notions that people have of foreigners and "others" here.

    I learned long ago that one person alone can not change the country, and I have no desire to either, however I can and have changed the folks in my neighborhood and that started a ripple effect that I am eternally hopeful will continue.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @strangerland

    You lost me there. The label does not start it. It's not like the issues you describe would not exist if the label didn't.

    You are quite wrong, and demonstrably so.

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread in the UK there is no salient category of 'half non-British'. We simply don't have a separate word, or a concept for British people with one British parent who were born in Britain. They are just British. Yes, we have the term mixed-race or mixed, but that can be equally applied to someone who is half-Malaysian, half-Ghanaian, or half-Fijian and half-Tunisian. The 'half-x labels' and 'mixed-race' labels in the UK have nothing to do with judging someones Britishness.

    Of course you could argue that it's the attitude that disappeared and took the label with it, rather than the disappearance of the label removing the attitude. That view has a certain merit, but clearly the relationship between the salience of the signifier and the signified is not one-way.

    Whatever you think of the 'attitude-label' cause effect relationship, it's undeniable that even if the label is not the primary cause of the attitudes to people with one foreign parent in Japan, the constant labeling does not help defeat the attitude. I think that is what Yubaru is trying to say.

    @tina

    I don't agree (that Japan needs to educate it's population about diversity).

    You don't think a little education would help this lady?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2US9YVBZM

    And the Japanese don't judge so much by looks. If you speak better Japanese than native Japanese, people will respect you.

    Ha ha ha. Do you look traditionally Japanese Tina? If you do, how are you in a position to judge how Japanese people react to foreign-looking faces speaking Japanese, other than your own opinion, which is a sample of 1. From nearly 20 years in Japan and hundreds if not thousands of interactions since I learned the language, I would disagree that Japanese don't judge so much by looks. My disagreement is about at the same level as my disagreement with the claim that London is the capital of France.

    There are certainly some people who warm to foreigners speaking Japanese. But there are an equal if not larger number who still think a foreigner speaking Japanese is an anomaly of the foreign population rather than someone integrated into Japanese society. Since a foreigner can never 'cross the line' and become Japanese, all they can do if move from the subset of typical foreigner to atypical foreigner.

    Do you think, for example, a fluent Japanese speaking white or black looking person (haafu or foreign) can go and introduce himself to a group of lads in their 20s and 30s playing sport and have them soon treat him as a regular dude and member of the team because his Japanese is fluent? They are far more likely to have to deal with people feeling uncomfortable with their fluency, constant reference to their foreignness and unwillingness to be seen standing talking one-on-one to the foreigner, unless others are gathered around and there is safety in numbers.

    And if other non-Japanese people come into this environment, you are immediately grouped off with them, even if they do not speak a word of Japanese, which rather disproves your assertion.

    The tired old 'if you have problems in Japanese society its because you don't speak enough Japanese' is one huge lie, and foreign and mixed race people coming to Japan who think the doors to friendship and acceptance will magically open once their Japanese becomes native-level, should give this some good thought.

    Of course, there are still lots of nice people about, but they generally tend to be older guys and gals who are less concerned with the peer pressure of younger people and the stigma, yes stigma, of standing around talking Japanese to someone who is non-Asian looking.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    Different subject but this is not always the case, with higher educated Japanese people there are many that feel very uncomfortable with having any foreigner speak better than they do and one's that do are seen as oddities.

    This isn't really a Japanese thing, it's a human thing. People are like this all over the world. People like this are best ignored, as there are so many not like this. Ignore the bigots, work with those who aren't. Those who let the ignorant views of a minority pollute their view towards the majority are doing both themselves and the majority a disservice.

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread in the UK there is no salient category of 'half non-British'. We simply don't have a separate word, or a concept for British people with one British parent who were born in Britain.

    There is a major difference here which makes it so your comparison is irrelevant. 'Japanese' refers to culturally Japanese, ethnically Japanese, and/or Japanese citizenship. British refers only to culture or citizenship. 'British' does not refer to an ethnicity. Whereas haafu refers to the ethnicity of the person in question. So you can compare to Britain all you would like, but it's an apples to oranges comparison.

    it's undeniable that even if the label is not the primary cause of the attitudes to people with one foreign parent in Japan, the constant labeling does not help defeat the attitude.

    No, but that's a strawman, in that the labeling doesn't create the attitude either.

    You are quite wrong, and demonstrably so.

    Except that you didn't demonstrate it.

    Do you think, for example, a fluent Japanese speaking white or black looking person (haafu or foreign) can go and introduce himself to a group of lads in their 20s and 30s playing sport and have them soon treat him as a regular dude and member of the team because his Japanese is fluent?

    Um, yes. Either you've never joined a team, or you don't speak Japanese, or you'd know this is in fact entirely possible. I speak not only from personal experience, but from the experiences of others I've known who have played sports in Japan.

    The tired old 'if you have problems in Japanese society its because you don't speak enough Japanese' is one huge lie

    I can't speak to the truth of the statement, but I can speak to it's opposite - I speak Japanese, and I don't have any major problems in Japanese society. Of course there are some problems, but there would be even if I were living in my home country, or another English speaking country. I do know that people who learn Japanese have a much easier time living in Japan than those who don't. A large part of this is because they aren't guessing as to what Japanese people are thinking, or as to their motivations, but rather have a direct line of communication with the Japanese to find out. The bitterest people are almost always those who have been here a number of years and don't speak Japanese beyond basic communication.

    Going back to the statement in question, the question of cause and effect is in play as well. You may be correct that 'the old adage' is not correct, but it may be that those who don't bother to learn the language are the type of people who are more likely to have problems, not just in Japan but wherever they are.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Miss Universe Japan.

  • 0

    Peacetrain

    Tina Watanabe said "I don't agree from here. You assume diversity is good. And you decide Japan does not have diversity and need it and need to be educated. Some countries have diversity, some don't. You can't make all countries the same. Diversity may be good, but there is negative side in everything. You can't make Japan change the way you want."

    Interesting point - and should be allowed to be made.

    Just came back to this post and saw 280 comments!

    Let's remember that some people who questioned this woman being crowned are just nasty people. But others are the nicest people you'll meet who just haven't thought much about it.

    Most of us are foreigners living in another country, many of us married to people of another country and we speak another language. I think we often forget how "different" we are.

    Some people still think its a big deal to talk to someone of another race simply because they haven't had the experience.

    But, anyway, I still think we can celebrate that Japan has come so far that this girl was able to not only represent her prefecture but win the competition.

    And again, "haafu" is not the problem. I think you'd have to live in a country for quite a while and have done sufficient study before you go lecturing people on their own vocabulary.

    Even in English speaking countries we use words differently.

    "Do you think, for example, a fluent Japanese speaking white or black looking person (haafu or foreign) can go and introduce himself to a group of lads in their 20s and 30s playing sport and have them soon treat him as a regular dude and member of the team because his Japanese is fluent? They are far more likely to have to deal with people feeling uncomfortable with their fluency, constant reference to their foreignness and unwillingness to be seen standing talking one-on-one to the foreigner, unless others are gathered around and there is safety in numbers."

    Really? Where do you live man??

    Maybe you go around with a scowl on your face? I seem to get treated nicely everywhere I go.

    Look, some people have never actually met a non-Japanese speaking great Japanese.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    jpntdytmrow

    Somehow a letter I sent was not printed (nothing controversial).

    We are really excited for Ariana to have been chosen. Students I have of various racial combinations are excited, our own multiracial, multicultural children are excited. She has a great gift for communication, said she had to lose a lot of muscular bulk needed for her hobby of heavy motorcycle touring, and she is really a great role model and is not from Tokyo, but from Nagasaki and on and on. I think she is really just a young person whom we can watch with enthusiasm. Never cared much for Miss Universe pagents but watching this one for sure!! And, it is not the last thing Ariana will be doing with her life. In ten years, she will surely be doing something else and enjoying whatever it is! GO, ARIANA! GO!

  • 1

    cleo

    "Do you think, for example, a fluent Japanese speaking white or black looking person (haafu or foreign) can go and introduce himself to a group of lads in their 20s and 30s playing sport and have them soon treat him as a regular dude and member of the team because his Japanese is fluent?

    As a lady of, shall we say, mature years and not very sporty, I doubt I'd be treated as a 'regular dude' by any group of lads in their 20s and 30s, anywhere in the world. But in the kinds of circles I would naturally inhabit anywhere in the world, I have no trouble at all being treated as a 'member of the team' in those circles in Japan. In a new group, yes there may be a few individuals who are backward at coming forward, 99% of the time because they assume I don't speak Japanese and they're afraid of embarrassing themselves when they are forced to speak English. This terror of embarrassment is not something that should be overlooked or taken lightly. I find that once folk realise that they can talk to me in Japanese, there are no problems over my being 'different'. I live in the sticks, so it certainly is not a 'people in the cities are more cosmopolitan' thing.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @ strangerland

    it may be that those who don't bother to learn the language are the type of people who are more likely to have problems

    This whole thread has been sparked by the mixed race winner of a Ms. Universe competition who is Japanese and completely fluent in Japanese.

    There is a huge online reaction against her selection (although as Cleo and others have pointed out earlier it is true that anonymous online opinion is more reactionary than the population in general).

    So obviously people can be fluent and still denied full membership of society.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    There is a huge online reaction against her selection (although as Cleo and others have pointed out earlier it is true that anonymous online opinion is more reactionary than the population in general).

    There is no 'although' about it. The internet is filled with trolls. If you let your belief of a whole be determined by the opinions of trolls on the internet, you are doing both yourself and the majority a disservice.

    So obviously people can be fluent and still denied full membership of society.

    So you are trying to claim that Ariana Miyamoto is being denied full membership into society because some trolls have spoken badly of her? Did you miss the fact that she was just chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe competition? I think she is probably the worst example you could have used at this moment in time. She in fact shows that Japanese people are willing to accept haafu as full members of society. And keep in mind, trolls will speak ill of any member of society if they are put into the limelight. There will always be those who will find bad in anyone and anything.

  • 2

    jpn_guy

    @strangerland

    So you are trying to claim that Ariana Miyamoto is being denied full membership into society because some trolls have spoken badly of her? Did you miss the fact that she was just chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe competition?

    I didn't miss it. I saw her victory and then saw that an awful lot of people in Japan don't like it (and even those that don't mind are constantly referring to her appearance). So I think it's a great example, notwithstanding the progress made by the initial choice (are these judges Japanese by the way?)

    Anyway, we are going round in circles here.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    I saw her victory and then saw that an awful lot of people in Japan don't like it

    Pleases quantify 'an awful lot'. It's a pretty subjective term. I'd like to know what percentage of the population don't like it. I'd also like to know your method for data collection.

    I think it's a great example

    I still fail how to see how you are you can think that the decision to have a half-Japanese girl being chosen to represent Japan is an example of how Japan is non-accepting to those who aren't fully ethnically Japanese. As for the judges ethnicity, either they were/are Japanese, or they weren't/aren't, which would mean that Japan has put non-ethnic Japanese into a position to choose it's representatives, and therefore would be another example of the acceptance of non-Japanese.

  • 3

    cleo

    even those that don't mind are constantly referring to her appearance

    It's a beauty contest, fer laud's sake. Her appearance isn't relevant?

  • 0

    makingsense

    "Representing Japan takes on more flavor and competition" - something that Yu Darvish (the Texas Rangers' baseball pitcher), hammer thrower Koji Murofushi and other Half (Haafu) Japanese high profile figures have in common which is being talented, representing Japan and being half Japanese.

    Although I wonder why "half", why not "and" sounds more rounder, inclusive and representative like a blend.

  • -5

    Peeping_Tom

    "Although I wonder why "half", why not "and" sounds more rounder, inclusive and representative like a blend."

    Because she is the result of a mixture of two different races, that's why.

    Japan is not America, some people have difficulty in seeing the obvious.

  • 0

    Michael Reed

    Nice.

  • 2

    Yubaru

    Japan is not America, some people have difficulty in seeing the obvious.

    Even when they live in Japan too.

  • -5

    tinawatanabe

    Even when they live in Japan too

    .They? You included, Yubaru.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    They? You included, Yubaru.

    Why include me I'm Japanese!

  • -2

    Strangerland

    By citizenship. Culturally? Ethnically?

  • 0

    Yubaru

    By citizenship. Culturally? Ethnically?

    What difference does it make? Also you have just proven that you don't actually read what is posted and just hen peck your quotes to fit the response you choose to write.

    Thank you for clarifying what I had already thought.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    Just the word itself... "haafu"... sounds so dumb and somehow ignorant...

    I feel sorry for people who use it.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    What difference does it make?

    I'm pointing out the fact that the word Japanese can refer to citizenship, culture and ethnicity. You claimed you are Japanese, I was asking to what degree.

  • -4

    Hawkeye

    I don't think she is all that great looking.

  • -6

    tinawatanabe

    Why include me I'm Japanese!

    For instance, you said above,

    Japan truly needs to educate it's population about diversity

    which explains what Peeping_Tom said,

    Japan is not America, some people have difficulty in seeing the obvious.

  • 1

    CGB Spender

    This haafu looks hotto! People should start to embrace positive racism!

  • 2

    Strangerland

    What degree? You know what it shouldn't matter

    Why shouldn't it matter? Culture and ethnicity are very real things, and ignoring them doesn't make them go away.

    and you obviously cant read very well.

    As a matter of fact, I am an excellent reader. My teachers always told me so in school. Maybe you have writing problems.

    there are way too many Americans that come here and literally expect things here to be just like America

    Is that not what you are doing in expecting Japan to be just like America in terms of diversity?

  • 2

    Shanique Smith

    +LazybonesMar. 16, 2015 - 10:06PM JST

    As for Ariana, let's be brutally honest, the people online complaining about her are not upset that she is HALF, they are upset that she is BLACK. I would guess that half Japanese, half white like myself get very positive reactions, but half blacks don't. It has nothing to do with being half, and everything to do with racism towards blacks.

    I may be overanalyzing here, but are you by any chance insinuating that if Miss Japan Universe 2015, were biracial, and her white/caucasoid features were more prominent than her Japanese/asian features she would have been embraced, and have more support from the Japanese people? I don’t think the Japanese are that shallow.

    Based on the arguments I hear, if she were biracial (Black and Japanese), and had more Japanese/asian features it would have been more acceptable. Say she had Sekiguchi Mendy’s, from Exile, features. The uproar would be less. Believe me when I say, if she were biracial, but had more dominant caucasoid features the protests would be the same if not worse.

    Talentos are different. They are not representing Japan. They are just there to entertain the Japanese people. This beautiful young lady is representing the people of Japan, so they justly wished she had more Japanese features. However her beauty and aura was such, that the judges had to give her the crown. She had very beautiful competitors, but topped them all. Ganbatte ne Ariana. You will do Japan proud.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    As a matter of fact, I am an excellent reader. My teachers always told me so in school. Maybe you have writing problems.

    Really? Then you have the answer to this question in a previous post of mine earlier that you evidently never read! I guess you didn't listen to your teachers too well!.

    By citizenship. Culturally? Ethnically?

  • 1

    Strangerland

    I haven't read every post in this thread.

    Anyways the question still stands. Up to you on whether or not you want to answer it or not.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    Read MY posts and be enlightened.

  • -2

    Peeping_Tom

    "This beautiful young lady is representing the people of Japan, so they justly wished she had more Japanese features. "

    Be very careful with what you say!

    What's this "Japanese features" business?

    Don't you know that the daughter/son of Sudanese parents born in Japan will have all the necessary Japanese features required to represent the country in the international stage?

    Two ginger parents will do the trick too!

  • 1

    anydaynow

    “Many of the negative tweets protest that Miyamoto isn’t representative of Japan, of the ‘Japanese face,’” Foulk said. “But of course there’s an inherent contradiction here: Is a beauty contest about picking the most representative — which is to say, the most average-looking — contestant, or is it about picking the most exceptional one?”

    I thought this was a good point because I watched the patent and their were a lot of average looking Japanese contestants. I couldn't stop looking at Nagasaki. She has on top of all others, great stage presence.

    Im happy for Japan that they chose her because japan is changing and this needs to be discussed in the homes of their people. They need to teach their kids to except diversity. A more diverse Japan is a better Japan.

    Check out the film Hafu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j_wQQZY-OE

  • 0

    Peeping_Tom

    "A more diverse Japan is a better Japan."

    And exactly why???

    Are all the other diverse nations better than Japan?

  • 1

    JWithers

    Peacetrain wrote: You can't make all countries the same

    This was in response to his objection to "diversity".

    If all countries were diverse then absolutely NO country would be the same. Of course I understand how you might feel if we didn't have racism. What would you complain about? How would you have to look down on? What would happen to all the simple black and white lines that make it simple for you?

    Instead of this rat race that racism endorses you need to get on the page of the human race.

  • -7

    tinawatanabe

    Not so much "diversity" is wrong as "Japan truly needs to educate it's population about diversity"

    Japan does NOT need to be educated about diversity from American point of view. If Japan needs any change it must come from inside. So stop whinning and get yourself educated so that you can fit into and be successful in Japan like Ariana.

  • -2

    Peeping_Tom

    "Japan does NOT need to be educated about diversity from American point of view"

    Judging by the amount of racism in the States (oh, what a beautiful and diverse place), Japan would be better off staying well away from this.

  • 0

    NZ2011

    Still 300 something posts the conversation goes on, so clearly something that needs discussion..

    I see the numbers of mixed couples and just non-japanese in general increasing all the time. It is something that is not going to happen or going to happen, it is happening, I read somewhere now 1 in 50 children born in Japan are of mixed heritage and that number is increasing all the time. To put this into perspective in a large city environment almost every school class will have children of mixed heritage.

    I for one hope things overall become better in regards to how people are treated regardless of how they look and just a non-issue. Where I come from, while a younger country, you can't really say who isn't or isn't that nationality just by looking at them, its diverse and all the better for it. Sure it can be a little "confusing" but nothing a very short polite conversation can't clear up.

    I feel incredibly sorry for a few of my friends (4th generation Chinese new zealanders) where they are from, often enough that I've heard it a number of times, where are you from, they answer, a specific city etc.. to only have someone ask.. where are you really from?

    Should Japan ever allow duel citizenship like many other developed nations I will take pride and also some amusement when I check into a hotel and they ask for my passport and I can reply.. Passport? Im Japanese.

    (All done in a polite and caring way of course.. things take time, however for example currently hotels and other businesses often claim they need my residency card as I'm not carrying my passport, (why would I, I live here).. where ever possible I use another form of ID drivers licence etc as my status of residency is none of any damn hotels business in my opinion where as a bank loan or rental agreement sure, fair enough)

  • 0

    all4faj

    As a proud father of three Haafu kids, I have had that same argument for more than 20 years with a good friend of mine who wants his children to be called double, my children all still carry their Japanese passports , but actually have 3 nationalities, I am not suggesting we call them thirds as they are half Japanese and half Scottish , I am very happy for the young lady who is representing Japan and I doubt very much that the average Japanese person has any problem with it, after all Haafu Japanese people have been gracing the Japanese magazines , Tv programmes and billboards of Japan for a long time now, My children find it difficult to walk the streets of Tokyo or Osaka without being offered some kind of modelling job or another , So in this case they must be more than grateful that the 1/2 they received from their mother had a much greater influence on their looks than the half they received from me, I know I am..

  • 1

    Sam Swopes

    Let's get one thing straight and leave it along! She's a beautiful young woman who's got the best of both worlds, period!! I'm sure she'll do Japan great in the Miss Universe patent, & win the title, hands down! As for all of you Hater's out there, either you learn to get a life, or crawl back down the hole you came out from! We don't need to hear anymore of your crap!!

  • 2

    turbotsat

    all4faj: My children find it difficult to walk the streets of Tokyo or Osaka without being offered some kind of modelling job or another

    My half-Asian kid was offered agency representation when he was around 7, when we were were walking around Beverley Hills ... we didn't bite, living a few hundred miles away, but often wondered what could have been ... maybe just hit up for agency fees, or maybe have been the next Brat Pack kid (of whatever iteration). Or the next Justin Bieber!

  • 1

    SumoBob

    I understand that those who are young, bi-cultural Japanese tend not to think of the term "haafu" as that big of a deal, as it's something they can both identify with (being of two cultures and languages) along with the ability to cling to a label that may off certain advantages when living in Japan.

    That said, one must never forget that the word exists for a reason - simply put, because a majority of Japanese simply cannot understand nor accept that "being Japanese" is something inherently learned by one's surroundings (Japanese language, culture etc.). "Haafu" is simply the more politically correct word, replacing "konketsujin" and "ainoko" when they became too "kawaiiso." The fact that there is a word to differentiate between two Japanese, based only on the appearance of one (and only if your parent hailed from a non-mongoloid heritage) is as reprehensible as that fact that some Japanese still differentiate between Japanese and "dowa", or "same as Japanese" (the politically-correct term for the burakumin. "Same as Japanese?" If they were in your mind, why wouldthe word even BE created?

  • 0

    all4faj

    simply put, because a majority of Japanese simply cannot understand nor accept that "being Japanese" is something inherently learned by one's surroundings (Japanese language, culture etc.)

    Sumo Bob , I am afraid I am also guilty of that lack of understanding that you say the Japanese don't have, I am not Japanese and although I lived in Japan for a long time, speak the language , worked there and fell in love with the country , I am not Japanese and never expect to be, although my children were born there and speak Japanese and lived half their lives there, Simply because they are my children I don't think of them as being Japanese , I think of them as being my children and therefore not Japanese , but if I am asked by Japanese I say they are " Half" and if asked by Westerners I say they are Eurasian or that their Mother is Japanese. My good Japanese friends often joke that I am more Japanese than them, but I take it for what it is worth nothing more than good humour and acknowledgement that I have taken the time to learn about Japan.

  • 2

    Peacetrain

    "The fact that there is a word to differentiate between two Japanese, based only on the appearance of one (and only if your parent hailed from a non-mongoloid heritage) is as reprehensible as that fact that some Japanese still differentiate between Japanese and "dowa", or "same as Japanese" (the politically-correct term for the burakumin"

    Okay. Okay, so never call anyone a black American, or if there's a basketball team with only one which guy, never refer to a man as the white guy if you forget his name.

    This is just ridiculous!

    People use terms all the time to refer to something. Humans are like that. We talk about the tall guy, or the shortest banana. There's nothing wrong at all in having some kind of word or term to describe someone whose parents aren't both native Japanese. If you didn't use the word "haafu" you'd use another word.

    What do you want people to say? "double"? Then someone would be mad about that?

    Hey Taro, go and tell that kid over there who kind of doesn't look like the other Japanese because his mother OR father, may not have been born in Japan, (not that there's anything wrong with that(, but see that he kind of looks like his skin is lighter (not that there's anything wrong with that) and and of course we don't know where his parents were born and.......

    geez! its just a word. And nobody is upset about it except a few gaijin who haven't been here long enough to not realise nobody is trying to be nasty.

    If anything all this gaijin complaining just makes it harder for Japanese to get along with you.

    Incidentally, I've been trying to tell Japanese friends about this article and all the anger about the word haafu and just been met with blank stares then worried looks and questions about what word won't be offensive.

    Can I tell them Dabburu is okay, or should I just tell them to just never mention the topic, and if they say that someones kid is cute be very careful not to link that to anything about the parents possible country of birth....

    I've been here too long. I almost feel like telling some people to go home! lol

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    And nobody is upset about it except a few gaijin who haven't been here long enough to not realise nobody is trying to be nasty.

    I've been here near 20 years. Is that long enough to have an opinion? (Please see my posts above).

    If anything all this gaijin complaining just makes it harder for Japanese to get along with you.

    Ah, back to the same tired old argument - 'if minorities are having problems fitting in it's obviously their own fault, no problems with the attitude of the majority'.

    When people express surprise that someone who has lived in Japan all their lives speaks, acts and want to be treated just like everyone else, should we not call them out on it? As long as you allow the category to have such a prominent place in Japanese society, it is always going to be used as the basis for ridiculous and unscientific assumptions about who belongs where and who knows how to do what. I agree that daburu is not improvement, but you really don't appear to understand what is at stake here.

    worried looks and questions about what word won't be offensive. Should I just tell them to just never mention the topic?

    Not a bad idea. I don't see why need need a category of 'half non-Japanese'. We don't have a category of 'half non-British' or 'half not-Australian' and we get along fine thank you.

    Do you not see a problem when a headline refers to a 'haafu talento'?

    Why do we need to refer to a celebrities' nationality in a headline?

    Let's put the question another way. What does Japan stand to lose if the practice of putting mixed race kids in the 'haafu' box is consigned to history? Nothing, I would suggest. And if an action has some positive consequences and zero negative consequences, why object to it? The only argument against this proposition is if we consider the physical appearance of citizens to be a key component of culture. That is of course one point of view - can you think what it is normally called?

    A kid born in Japan, living in Japan and speaking native Japanese has, in the context of their place in society, no substantive difference with any of their peers. Outside the context of Japanese society, there may well be differences depending on the situation of the individual family - but this is another matter entirely.

    Of course some people will suggest that having linguistic and family relationships outside Japan compromises the fidelity of the Japanese whole. But I see know reason why we as foreign born members of Japanese society should support this mindset other than short-term self interest since 'all this gaijin complaining just makes it harder for Japanese to get along with you'.

    I hope you are aware that your appeasement serves to perpetuate othering, discrimination and perpetual subservient status.

    You may disagree with the 'subservient' part, but how else does one describe the giving up of the right to complain just to try and keep people happy?

    Do you think 'gaijin' are not allowed to complain about any aspect of Japanese society or just this aspect?

    Complaints are a sign of the desire for improvement, the desire for improvement is a sign of affiliation and feelings of affiliation grow alongside affection.

    I almost feel like telling some people to go home!

    There is no need to imply complaints signify a dislike of Japan, I would suggest quite the opposite.

  • -2

    Strangerland

    Not a bad idea. I don't see why need need a category of 'half non-Japanese'. We don't have a category of 'half non-British' or 'half not-Australian' and we get along fine thank you.

    Australian and British are not ethnicities, so it's not an equivalent comparison. Whereas Japanese is an ethnicity, and half-Japanese as a description of one's ethnicity makes sense.

    Do you not see a problem when a headline refers to a 'haafu talento'?

    Nope. Same as I don't see a problem when someone mentions a prominent black/Asian actor.

    Why do we need to refer to a celebrities' nationality in a headline?

    We don't need to, but that doesn't mean that there is something wrong with it either.

    A kid born in Japan, living in Japan and speaking native Japanese has, in the context of their place in society, no substantive difference with any of their peers.

    Really? My kids have spent their whole lives in Japan and are native Japanese speakers, and they have some substantive differences with their peers. They speak English. They've gone to international schools. They have been to multiple countries. They have family in other countries. They have family who don't speak Japanese. All of these are a direct result of having a foreign parent.

    how else does one describe the giving up of the right to complain just to try and keep people happy?

    Off topic, but I describe it as 'being Japanese'.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    Really? My kids have spent their whole lives in Japan and are native Japanese speakers, and they have some substantive differences with their peers. They speak English. They've gone to international schools. They have been to multiple countries. They have family in other countries. They have family who don't speak Japanese. All of these are a direct result of having a foreign parent.

    As I acknowledged when I wrote

    Outside the context of Japanese society, there may well be differences depending on the situation of the individual family - but this is another matter entirely.

    I guess this boils down to whether you think Japanese was, is and will always be an exclusive ethnicity.

    British is not an ethnicity, so it's not an equivalent comparison.

    Once upon a time British meant white, but times changed. People realized white Britons can from all manner of different places, so claiming some kind of exclusive homogeneity has pretty meaningless, even without the added context of immigration from around the world.

    If you have lived in Japan for years and have many Japanese friends, you will know the following are true:

    1) 'Fully Japanese' people can look very different depending on whether the bulk of their DNA comes from on the Asian continent. The huge range of skin tones in the 'native population' is evidence of this.

    2) Sometimes it is impossible to tell which country in East Asia someone comes from.

    I don't see how these facts square with 'Japanese' being an immutable ethnicity that can and will never have a different definition as the world changes. I think it is a nationality.

    What is the ethnicity of someone whose recent ancestors are from one of our neighboring countries if they are born in Japan, are always mistaken for Japanese, but carry a foreign passport? Does that ethnicity change when they naturalize? The concept of who is ethnically Japanese is not terribly helpful.

  • -3

    Peeping_Tom

    Seems like Jpn-guy refuses to accept that Japanese in refers to an ethnic group of people in addition to nationality status.

    The Japanese are more conscious of their ethnic status and bloodlines, and couldn't care less if other "more advanced countries (!!!!!)" prefer to judge on one's birth place.

    If you happen to have only one half of their blood, they call you haffu.

    Apparently lots of "haffu" don't see anything wrong with that.

    I would be more concerned if a haffu was to have his throat slashed (do some research prior to extolling Britain's "excellent" demeanour on this matter), just for being a haffu.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    I would be more concerned if a haffu was to have his throat slashed (do some research prior to extolling Britain's "excellent" demeanour on this matter

    As an ethnic minority in the UK who is at risk of this happening, I share your concern and thank you for it. The difference is when horrific things like this happen the UK government and educated people generally agree it's reprehensible.

    The Japanese are more conscious of their ethnic status and bloodlines.

    Thank you for noting this. I think this is exactly what leads to differential treatment and discrimination. That's why I think it's a bad idea.

    Of course, many people on this thread are disputing that Japan is ever discriminatory. I wonder whether these people also agree that "Japanese are more conscious of their ethnic status and bloodlines".

    If they do, I wonder what magic they use to conclude this 'consciousness' does not have a detrimental effect on certain individuals who do not share these bloodlines.

    Overawareness of 'bloodlines', which given all 'full Japanese' originally came from a diverse range of locations on the Asian continent anyway, is always a bad idea.

    Of course some people will argue that 'originally came from a diverse range of locations on the Asian continent' is taking things too far back.

    But isn't emphasizing long history exactly what 'ethnic purists' do to emphasize their exclusivity.

    This whole field of ethnic classification into pure and not pure is wrought with contradictions, bad science and general nonsense. It's sad to see so many otherwise smart people swallowing it.

  • -3

    WilliB

    Peeping Tom:

    " "A more diverse Japan is a better Japan." And exactly why??? Are all the other diverse nations better than Japan? "

    Actually they are not, but we are all supposed to buy into this PC talking point that diversity of looks is a good thing.... what a horribly boring world it would be if the whole planet was actually the same hodgepodge of ethnicities that big Western cities have turned into. In such a world, what would be the point of travelling anywhere, I wonder.

    But that is the nature of such slogans... people parrot them without thinking.

  • -1

    SpeaklikeGandhi

    It has been very interesting to find out that you are still talking about Miss Universe Japan. I feel that the most important thing is that she WAS selected to represent Japan in the "Miss Universe" contest. Revealing to the world that Japan selected this lady who is 50% Japanese/50% African American is indeed an extraordinary and important fact. The world will see that Japan has less prejudice against Mix or Half (Hafu or whatever you call it) and Japanese has changed or is changing. (It is the time!!) I hope she will win in the contest and appeal her beauty (with a slightly darker skin) and intelligence (cross between Japan and America) to the entire world.

  • -1

    DanielJP

    Does anyone else find katakana english really obnoxious? Just say "half" you don't have to directly translate the katakana it's just there to get as close to the English pronouciation as they can express with the japanese characters. Anyways I don't like the pick just because she doesn't look very Japanese, I don't care about Ms Universe but it seems more appropriate to pick the person most reaching the pinnacle of japanese beauty not saying the pick isn't beautiful just not in a particularly japanese way.

  • 1

    jpntdytmrow

    This is a new era!! I was in 2 public school high school classrooms yesterday and there were....about 7 Japanese students with parents or grandparents from outside Japan (Philippines, Columbia, US, Brazil, China, Korea, Peru) but who were by birth, race, citizenship, culture, language, JAPANESE. They were so happy to see ARIANA (I think we should use her name here) be chosen to represent Japan as a Japanese. My own adult multiracial children are happy and so are their other multiracial friends in Japan. Japan. A land of various kinds of people. They even have recognized that AINU are indigenous. Go, Ariana! GO!

  • 0

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 18, 2015 - 01:52PM JST

    Chinese Malaysian mum - Black Brazilian Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Gaijin

    Fijian mum - White Mexican Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Gaijin

    White British Mum - Asian-looking Japanese Dad UK label: Mixed race (note this is the same label as above) Japan label: Half (note this is not the same label as above)

    This is where you get evrything wrong.

    Chinese Malaysian mom - Black Brazilian Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Half/Hafu

    中国系マレーシア人とブラジル人黒人のハーフ

    Fijian mom - White Mexican Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Half/Hafu

    フィジー人とメキシコ人白人のハーフ

    White British Mom - Asian-looking Japanese Dad UK label: Mixed race Japan label: Half/Hafu

    イギリス人白人と日本人のハーフ (note this is the same label as above)

    jpn_guyMar. 23, 2015 - 05:34PM JST

    When people express surprise that someone who has lived in Japan all their lives speaks, acts and want to be treated just like everyone else

    So, you say they want to abandon all their heritage, and assimilate into Japanese. I doubt.

    Japanese schools these days teach their kids to respect the difference, rather than assimilate minorities into majority. You should remember "racial blindness" is denial of multi-culturism.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    Some one with a Chinese Malaysian mom and Black Brazilian Dad is labelled in Japan as a Haafu

    Ha ha. Are you trolling? Are you telling us all with a straight face that most Japanese people, on seeing the above hypothetical person, would not on first glance consider and treat them as gaijin?

    And that such people are in the same category (in terms of how they are perceived and treated in society) as someone with one Japanese parent?

    フィジー人とメキシコ人白人のハーフ イギリス人白人と日本人のハーフ
    同じなんだよ!

    折角翻訳してくれていますが、誰も使わないようなぎこちない用語で説得力はないね。外人は外人。ハーフはハーフ。日本人は日本人。多くの日本人はそうやって人類を分類し、違う扱いをしている。

    As I have repeatedly stated above, In the UK, mixed race is a catch-all category for people with diverse heritage. In Japan, haafu is a reflection of notions of ethnic purity.

    Interesting that in trying to counter my comments on this thread we have two arguments:

    1) Firstly, there are the absolute denials that Japan has serious issues regarding concepts of ethnic purity and how letting such concepts go unchallenged affects the treatment of minorities 2) Then there are admissions of the emphasis on purity and physical appearance couched with various provisos and excuses about why it is not a problem for Japan to maintain the status quo.

    It's difficult to argue with people who simultaneously adopt two contradictory positions.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Really? My kids have spent their whole lives in Japan and are native Japanese speakers, and they have some substantive differences with their peers. They speak English. They've gone to international schools. They have been to multiple countries. They have family in other countries. They have family who don't speak Japanese. All of these are a direct result of having a foreign parent.

    As I acknowledged when I wrote

    Outside the context of Japanese society, there may well be differences depending on the situation of the individual family - but this is another matter entirely.

    It's not another matter entirely, it's the same matter. So you are contradicting yourself. In once sentence, you say that there is no difference, then in another you agree with me that there is. All over the place. Or, you could say:

    It's difficult to argue with people who simultaneously adopt two contradictory positions.

    Exactly. You should choose one and stick with it.

    Are you trolling? Are you telling us all with a straight face that most Japanese people, on seeing the above hypothetical person, would not on first glance consider and treat them as gaijin?

    You go on to then tell us in Japanese that you don't know that they would also describe the person in the way that CH3PO did, explaining that they are half X and half Y. I've heard Japanese people describe half/half people in this exact manner. Reason? It's a descriptive term.

    here are admissions of the emphasis on purity and physical appearance couched with various provisos and excuses about why it is not a problem for Japan to maintain the status quo.

    There are explanations about how your comments are incorrect in your hypothesis. That's not the same thing. The wording of your above sentence shows that you have an opinion, and are not willing to consider that other opinions/experiences/theories may exist that conflict with yours. Fair enough, you are allowed to have your opinion, but don't get on your high horse and think that you are right simply because you are the one thinking it, because you are wrong in lots of what you've said, as I've pointed out consistently. See the first part of this post for an example.

  • -3

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 24, 2015 - 11:09AM JST

    Some one with a Chinese Malaysian mom and Black Brazilian Dad is labelled in Japan as a Haafu

    Ha ha. Are you trolling? Are you telling us all with a straight face that most Japanese people, on seeing the above hypothetical person, would not on first glance consider and treat them as gaijin?

    "Gaijin" means a foreign national. "Half/Hafu" means a child whose parents are from different ethnicities or nationalities. So, the Japanese language has such expression like インド人とイギリス人のハーフ a "Half/Hafu" between an Indian and an English. "Gaijin" and "Half/hafu" are not mutually exclusive, whereas you faulsely think they are. One parent of "Half/Hafu" does not need to be a Japanese, either.

    It does not matter if you are persuaded or not. What matters is truth. Ask your daughter, who you say speaks Japanese well, if there is such an expression in Jpaanese like 中国系マレーシア人とブラジル人黒人のハーフ.

  • -1

    fishy

    I've heard Japanese people describe half/half people in this exact manner.

    yes, this is true. when someone says Mr. XX is "haafu", then the next question would be "doko to doko no haafu?" meaning which country and which country is he "haafu" of? (sounds a bit weird in English but that's just my literal translation of the Japanese expression).

    Because just the word "haafu" doesn't tell it all, usually we ask them which country the person's mom/dad is from.

    I am "haafu" myself, and whenever I tell people that, Japanese people ask me "doko to doko no haafu desuka?" instead of just thinking that I am haafu and that's it (and I appreciate the fact they ask because it gives me a chance to talk about my heritage and I appreciate the fact that they are more than often interested in listening).

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    @CH3

    Ask your daughter, who you say speaks Japanese well, if there is such an expression in Jpaanese like 中国系マレーシア人とブラジル人黒人のハーフ.

    Well I would argue that the repetition of 人 in kokujin and brazil-jin makes this particularly phrase extremely unidiomatic and possibly ungrammatical but that's beside the point.

    Anyway, I know that people can be described in this manner, but long description like these are not commonly thrown around and mixed race people with no Japanese genes are not a salient and separate category in Japanese society. This is obvious surely?

    The are haafu-talento and gaijin talento, there are haafu models and gaijin models, but there are no 'gaijin who have parents from different countries models or gaijin who have parents from different countries talento'.

    I thinks you are being deliberately obtuse.

    In the course of an individual conversation with an interested party, sure, someone may ask about the countries of a foreigner's parents but to all intends and purposes such people are treated as foreign. I know because I am one of them. My parents are from different countries, neither of which is Japan. No-one in Japan has ever, ever called me a haafu, not once, but plenty of people have called me gaijin. I don't see how you can even dispute this.

    It seems as if you cannot understand the basic means by which people are categorized in Japanese society.

    "Half/Hafu" means a child whose parents are from different ethnicities or nationalities...

    ...with the generally understanding that one half is Japanese.

    If someone writes, as many have recently, 'ハーフタレントのごり押しもううざいんだよ' 'I'm fed up with haafu celebrities all over the TV'

    the nuance of haafu-Japanese is meant by the speaker and understood by the listener.

    Maybe the use of haafu to refer to a gaijin with parents from two different countries does exist, as Fishy claims, but it is very much secondary in terms of frequency of use. What people mean when the term is used without qualification is quite clear. Half not Japanese. Half not pure.

    When I wrote earlier posts saying that I think the 'haafu category' is created by Japanese society and embraced by some haafus as a defensive minority grouping, having had their claim of Japanese-ness rejected, you argued that haafus are happy with the term and there is no problem with the category (implying your understanding and agreement with the premise that haafu is pretty much used to mean half-Japanese exclusively).

    Note this comment:

    If "Halfs/Hafus" are proud of being "Halfs/Hafus" and proud of being called so, you really do not need to come around and say that they are alienated and have no alternative

    This comment **of yours ** clearly refers to haafu with the implicit understanding that it means 'haafu Japanese'. Otherwise the 'you really do not need to come around and say that they are alienated' comment makes no sense. Here you and I are clearly using alienation to mean the 'alienation of haafu Japanese people from Japanese society' not some global comment about the status all mixed race people from around the world.

    Anyway, you now seem to have moved away from your prior position that category exists and is not a problem and now seem to be claiming that haafu is a generic term equivalent to mixed race, thus invalidating your earlier arguments.

  • 2

    Strangerland

    What people mean when the term is used without qualification is quite clear. Half not Japanese. Half not pure.

    This is the way you hear it, but that doesn't mean that the intent of the speaker is negative like your interpretation. In my experiences, the intent is:

    Half Japanese, half from another country.

    Just because you look at the glass half empty, doesn't mean that all people are negative.

  • 1

    jpn_guy

    @strangerland

    You're right, the connotations of ethnic purity are up for debate and I appreciate you and others may disagree.

    But what, by the way, do you think of CH3's sudden claim that haafu, like mixed race, is completely neutral does not even imply haafu-Japanese at all?

  • 0

    Elizabeth Heath

    I don't know what is more depressing; the persistent use of that nasty, pejorative word 'haafu' or the fact that that beauty contests still exist.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    But what, by the way, do you think of CH3's sudden claim that haafu, like mixed race, is completely neutral does not even imply haafu-Japanese at all?

    I agree that it is neutral. And I agree that it can be used when referring to haafu where neither half is Japanese. I agree with you however that when nationality is left out, the implication is that half is Japanese, and half is something else. I disagree with you that this means it's discrimination however. It's simply something that doesn't need to be expressly stated as it's understood by inference.

    the persistent use of that nasty, pejorative word 'haafu'

    The word is not a pejorative.

  • -2

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 24, 2015 - 04:29PM JST

    But what, by the way, do you think of CH3's sudden claim that haafu, like mixed race, is completely neutral does not even imply haafu-Japanese at all?

    I have been arguing there is no much difference between "mixed race" and "Half/Hafu" from the beginning.

    I just googled "黒人と白人のハーフ" which means "Half/Hafu between a Black and a White." If jpnguy were correct there should be no such expression in Japanese. In face of continued denial by jpn_guy, there are 17000 hits to the search.

    It seems you got everything wrong right there.

    jpn_guyMar. 24, 2015 - 03:20PM JST

    such people are treated as foreign. I know because I am one of them.

    I remember you said you are a British national. A British national is a foreigner in Japan. Is this a joke or something?

    you argued that haafus are happy with the term and there is no problem with the category (implying your understanding and agreement with the premise that haafu is pretty much used to mean half-Japanese exclusively)

    How could that ever imply so? I did not mean so, and if you have got that impression, it is your fault.

    Otherwise the 'you really do not need to come around and say that they are alienated' comment makes no sense.

    It does make sense, just as saying "If Blacks are proud of being Blacks and proud of being called so, you really do not need to come around and say that they are alienated and have no alternative" makes sense.

  • 2

    jpn_guy

    I remember you said you are a British national. A British national is a foreigner in Japan. Is this a joke or something?

    No, it is not a joke. I'm merely pointing out that while your argument rests on may say 17,000 Google hits for 黒人と白人のハーフ" ( "Half/Hafu between a Black and a White) my argument rests on actually being a 黒人と白人のハーフ , and my experience of two decades in Japan during which not one single person called me 'haafu' ever. Not once. I was frequently referred to a a gaijin. So, I terms of how people react to and categorize people there are the three categories. The existence of "Half/Hafu between a Black and a White" as a phrase on the Internet nothing to change this.

    Think about it like this: Japanese people know about and refer to different nationalities like French, German and Italian. This knowledge does not prevent people from throwing them all in the same pot and giving them the 外人扱い (foreigner treatment).

    So, yes, while 黒人と白人のハーフ exists as a description 黒人と白人のハーフ, it is a subcategory of gaijin and not a subcategory of haafu. 黒人と白人のハーフ are not treated as haafus in everyday interaction.

    I may be repeating myself, but that's because the principal, most frequent and most salient meaning of haafu is 'half not-japanese', with all that implies about ethnic purity and exclusivity.

    If your statement that haafu is a neutral, non-discriminatory category with no relationship to Japanese uniqueness, please explain why no-one has ever called me, as a non-Japanese mixed race guy, a haafu?

    I don't think you can explain this.

    Your determination to deny that many people in Japan are obsessed with ethnic purity certainly leads the conversation in some bizarre directions.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    I may be repeating myself, but that's because the principal, most frequent and most salient meaning of haafu is 'half not-japanese', with all that implies about ethnic purity and exclusivity.

    You do keep repeating yourself, and it doesn't make it any more right. The meaning of haafu is not 'half not Japanese', it's 'half-Japanese'.

  • 0

    CH3CHO

    jpn_guyMar. 24, 2015 - 05:35PM JST

    If your statement that haafu is a neutral, non-discriminatory category with no relationship to Japanese uniqueness, please explain why no-one has ever called me, as a non-Japanese mixed race guy, a haafu?

    That is most probablly because you do not introduce yourself as "Half/Hafu", but as British.

    By the way, if you google オバマ (Obama) and ハーフ (Half/Hafu), you get a number of hits because President Obama has a Black father and a White mother and therefore is a "Half/Hafu" in Japanese terminology.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    @CH3CHO

    Thank you for mentioning self-introductions. You are right. If I don't mention being mixed race when I introduce myself no-one else mentions it. Lucky me.

    Now if Ariana Miyamoto, before she was famous, (or anyone else who looks similar and identifies as Japanese) introduces themselves to another Japanese for the first time without making any comment as to their family background, how do you think the conversation proceeds? Are you going to tell me it proceeds as above?

  • 0

    badsey3

    She looks very similar to a teen Whitney Houston.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs3E_2nFQYM

  • -2

    Peeping_Tom

    jpn-guy

    I understand where you're coming from, BUT come on now!

    Are you seriously saying that in Britain nobody asks what part of the Caribbean you or your parents really hailed from?

    I'm British too, ya no?

    And unlike you I live in London (not that this affects the issue in any way).

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    Are you seriously saying that in Britain nobody asks what part of the Caribbean you or your parents really hailed from?

    Doesn't come up, no-one cares about where in Africa my folks are from. In Japan though, people with one non-Japnaese parent who identify themselves as Japanese cannot self-introduce without explanation and questioning. So if they are in a role that requires them to meet new people every day, that's the dance they have to do, every single day of their lives.

    Whether you consider this a trivial matter or a serious matter depends on the individual. Some people can continue to laugh it off over years and years of having to repeat the same conversation. Good for those people and their thick skins. Others find exactly the same (trivial?) experience exhausting and, when they are exhausted and it still doesn't stop, the exhaustion may graduate to trauma.

    個人差はあるけど、毎日自分を説明しなければならない辛さを過小評価してはいけないと思う。

    That's the insidious status quo so many people on this thread are delighted to accept and reinforce.

    I'm grateful to CH3CHO for bringing self-introductions into the discussion and prompting me to summarize the marked difference between Japan and countries like the UK.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    So if they are in a role that requires them to meet new people every day, that's the dance they have to do, every single day of their lives.

    Whether you consider this a trivial matter or a serious matter depends on the individual. Some people can continue to laugh it off over years and years of having to repeat the same conversation. Good for those people and their thick skins. Others find exactly the same (trivial?) experience exhausting and, when they are exhausted and it still doesn't stop, the exhaustion may graduate to trauma.

    This is why many foreigners who come to Japan return home. I personally don't mind so much, but I'd rather not go through the same spiel all the time, so I generally go to places where I'm already known, so as to not have to go through it all again.

    I don't see that this is a negative thing though, it's just a thing. The fact is that people in Japan have not been exposed to many people who aren't Japanese, so they have curiosity towards those who aren't. It's human nature. Few people don't ask questions about where a person is from when they meet them. People who get frustrated by this are not going to do well in Japan.

  • 0

    jpn_guy

    I personally don't mind so much. People who get frustrated by this are not going to do well in Japan.

    Agreed. Completely. You are lucky if this attitude came to you naturally. If you had to work at it consciously then more power to you for your success.

    This is why many foreigners who come to Japan return home.

    Agreed again. Japan is a wonderful country is so many ways, it's a wonder more Japanese people don't stop and ask why more people don't stick around. If the question is asked, the usual answer if difficulty learning the language and adjusting to the customs, which is way off base. The real answer is just what you said.

    This is why many foreigners who come to Japan return home.

    I really like this quote, so I'l put it up there again. But what of mixed-race kids who find it traumatic but have no where to go? Helping such people by changing attitudes is my major motivation for my (possible excessive?) contribution to this thread.

    Anyway, despite this long discussion, it seems we are in considerable agreement, other than on the role the reliance of various labels plays in perpetuating this situation of categorization.

    At least you acknowledge there is a situation even if you would deal with it using more indirect less confrontational methods than I would choose.

  • 0

    madramooto

    She is beautiful and hot!

  • 0

    Feihu

    I am the father of two Eurasian girls. I believe that in English the terms "Eurasian" and "Amerasian" are completely acceptable. In Japanese there is no term that is acceptable. "Ainoko" is derogatory, Konketsu is listed as a 'sensitive word' in the dictionary and Haafu is simply a ridiculous term. Half Japanese and half American is incorrect because while Japanese can be both an ethnic description and a nationality American is only a nationality. It will be centuries before American will be considered an ethnic group unless you are speaking only of First Nation or Native American. I have seen many North Americans from the US claim white or black as an ethnicity. Well they are just colors. It is pretty difficult to find a term in English to aptly describe a person of two or more ethnicities and we could chase or tails around forever. I think the two I mentioned at the beginning here are the most logical. That said I do not find the Hawaiian term "Hapa" as offensive as Haafu.. As people of mixed origin in the Islands use the word to refer to themselves and seem to use it with pride. I am told that though it sounds like a corruption of the word "half" it , in reality, refers to a person of many ethnic backgrounds which is quite common in Hawaii.

    For a very valiant battle of a person like Ms. Miyamoto check out the Korean singer Insooni. You'll find it a little sad but at the same time very inspiring.pr that of James Senese..

  • 0

    cleo

    Haafu is simply a ridiculous term

    Most haafus seem to think it works....

    while Japanese can be both an ethnic description and a nationality American is only a nationality. It will be centuries before American will be considered an ethnic group

    ...then how is Amerasian any better than haafu?

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