What do you think of the word "hafu," the Japanese term used to describe anyone who is half-Japanese?

  • 0

    crazygaijin

    hafu me likes it and the other hafu me doesn't.

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    Before the bashers get geared up, my son is one and I have no problems with it. It's a word used to describe kids who are half-Japanese and only has stigma in the minds of those with too much imagination (paranoia)

  • 0

    smartacus

    When I first came to Japan in the mid-1980s, the term seemed to bother people who were not hafu. Everytime I asked a hafu if it bothered them, they all said no. Nowadays, I don't hear of too many people objecting to the term. One friend said he preferred "double" instead of hafu, but I doubt that will ever catch on.

  • 0

    Maria

    I don't like it. It's lazy, and not too far from "half-breed". If you know someone's background you say it.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    only has stigma in the minds of those with too much imagination (paranoia)

    If only this were true. I guess your son is not at school yet.

  • 0

    Beelzebub

    As is often the case of words with foreign derivation, haafu was coined because previous terms like ainoko and konketsuji carried too much negative baggage. That said, it puts a label on people and I prefer to avoid it for that reason.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    My answer to my son being called "hafu" (happened only twice).

    Is he is 200%, 100% Japanese and 100% other nationality(he got dual citizenship).

    Or hey he is still 100%, best of both. ;)

  • 0

    dudeshane01

    Hmm, interesting term. I think there is some small form of racialism involved if you describe mixed bloods this way. It is better to use proper terms instead of hafu or such bull

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Said that I don't think "hafu" is a truly offensive term just a quirk in the japanese language.

    Calling something "A" don't make it "A".

  • 0

    Monkeyz

    I think it bothers me because it implies that the only important part of one's heritage is the Japanese part. You're "half" Japanese and half, well, something else (but who cares what it is). It makes you inferior to a "real" Japanese by default. And this isn't paranoia. Spend enough time in Japan and studying about Japan and you'll know that this is exactly how people think.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    MonkeyZ.

    Same can be said for english.

    Personally I find the terms asian-american, african-american, caucasian equally racist.

    But they are ALL americans, so why put the non-common decimator in front for all non-caucasians.

    Is an asian-african different from an african-american, hispanic, etc. They shouldn't be in the eyes of the law and citizens.

  • 0

    fishy

    i am hafu and been called hafu all my life but never felt offended because when people here use the term, they don't mean it to be offensive. although when i talk to people in english, i tend to choose the term "mixed" but that's because i am aware that there are many westerners who "prefer" the term.

  • 0

    VelvetRosetta

    Funny because I am half, American and half Puerto RIcan, and here some ppl call me gringa, meaning american...I find it offensive at times when ppl dont acknowledge that I am half Puerto Rican, I speak spanish, I have lievd in Puerto Rico, for 20 yrs, yet I am still labeled...So to me to call someone Hafu...would be a bit offensive.

  • 0

    fishy

    You're "half" Japanese and half, well, something else (but who cares what it is). It makes you inferior to a "real" Japanese by default

    .

    hmm.. when japanese people use the term "half" they usually say "amerika-jin tono haafu" etc.. they almost never say things like "he's half japanese.. people tend to say "he's half american" etc.. to me, it sounds more like the "other" part matters to the japanese more than the "japanese" part.

    and really, most japanese people don't mean to be offensive when they use the term haaf.. even haaf people (including me) use the term. i always say i am haaf and my dad is french.

  • 0

    kazan

    I don't like the term mostly because I've seen how upset some kids here get when it's used on them. I know a Japanese-Phillipino boy who's very bright, but despite the fact that he was born in Japan, his classmates single him out as hafu or as Phillipino, never Japanese. I can see how other people would not be bothered by the term, especially adults, but I think that in many cases the way some kids use it makes it derogatory and insulting.

  • 0

    combinibento

    I have no problem with it. It is an accurate description, quite frankly. But as a non-"half" and having never been called a "half," perhaps I don't have the perspective required to accurately pontificate on the matter.

  • 0

    herefornow

    Actually, I find calling those idiots on TV "tarento" much more offensive. Just another case, as has been said, of Japanese creating a non-word to classify people or things. Goes with the territory here -- like "Nails and Make" salons.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Ooops, decimator should have been denominator. No slight intended. Still not sure why americans need to classify themselves into sub-groups.

    Happens when you try to talk to a client(phone) and type same time.

  • 0

    bicultural

    So when you mix a dark beer and a light beer, it's called half-and-half. Why not use the same word for biracial people? I personally dislike the word "haafu" as much as I dislike the word "gaijin." Both have negative connotations which most Japanese are unaware of when they use the word. Explaining this take a lot of time and basically I've given up. Whenever a refer to one, I say "zokuni-iu / iwayuru (so-called) haafu"

  • 0

    cleo

    It's a word. Just a word. Like many katakana Japanese words, it does not have the same meaning or connotations of the non-Japanese word it was derived from.

    Both my kids are haafu, and its never been any big deal.

    As to whether the haafu refers to the Japanese half or the non-Japanese half - I've been told that my granddaughter, whose dad is Japanese, is a 'kuwa-ta'. I reckon that means it's the non-Japanese bit that's being specified. Not that it matters.

  • 0

    smartacus

    american_bengoshi

    You can't speak for the intention of all Japanese and how they use the term hafu. I have never heard it used as a derogatory term by any Japanese. Most hafus whom I know have never had a problem with it.

  • 0

    cleo

    The Japanese use it to mean "half-breed". That is exactly their intention most of the time. The term is derogatory.

    Rubbish.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    My son is Haafu but looks more japanese and speaks japanese like all the other guys around.

    Most his school-friends actually think it is COOL as I cook dishes from a variety of countries, etc. Neither did any of his muslim class-mates, etc have probs.

    People just cater for them and make a tofu-hamburger, Chicken pieces, etc for them when having a party.

    Just a label.

  • 0

    fishy

    I've been told that my granddaughter, whose dad is Japanese, is a 'kuwa-ta'. I reckon that means it's the non-Japanese bit that's being specified. Not that it matters.

    kuwa-ta -- Qualter when one of the parents is haaf.

    It's a word. Just a word. Like many katakana Japanese words, it does not have the same meaning or connotations of the non-Japanese word it was derived from.

    completely agree. i am haaf and never had ANY problems with the term in my whole life. never felt offended.

  • 0

    fishy

    smartacs-

    You can't speak for the intention of all Japanese and how they use the term hafu. I have never heard it used as a derogatory term by any Japanese. Most hafus whom I know have never had a problem with it.

    100% agree!!

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Funny story.

    I got to know my son's grandmother only in january(long story but the parents got divorced when my wife was 8).

    Anyhuh, so we went to a trip to visit her in nagoya and we are sitting in her standard Karakoke. 6hrs later one guy clicks on that I am a foreigner and sez so. That was all. No mention of my son being a haafu, etc.

    All knew about the visit, etc.

  • 0

    fishy

    kuwa-ta -- Qualter when one of the parents is haaf.

    oops, not qualter, it is QUARTER. you can tell how i'm not a native eng speaker-- mixing up L and R LOL

  • 0

    XXXXX

    That is soooo old, like the term itself. I don't consider myself to be hafu anything but I suppose I can't avoid answering the sneaky little question and I don't mind so much now, at least they're recognizing the difference. But while I'm abroad, meaning I'm in Japan or any other country than mine, I represent my country through my nationality, period. If I get to know people better, than we may talk about background, but like, that doesn't happen every day. That's not so important, really.

  • 0

    m5c32

    Personally I find the terms asian-american, african-american, caucasian equally racist.

    That's understandable. It seems racist. And I agree that people (American nationals) should just call ourselves American. I think it has to do with identity politics. People wanted more influence so they self-dentified as one or the other.

    It was not top down. It was self-labeling. I even hear the terms European-American. To me that describes someone who is 0th generation European and American. Not a 1st generation American of Euro descent.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    m5c32.

    thx.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    I think in most cases the Japanese use of the word hafu is derogatory. If they made mention of the "other" half I don't think it would be an issue. But as it is, the reference of hafu is to the 1/2 Japanese blood of the individual and not being 100% pure which I believe is the issue here. I've received the BS that a lot of people here are denying from my own family here as I was the only grandchild not raised in Japan. I will never be anywhere near Japanese in their eyes and that's fine by me.

    Personally, growing up in the States I've always referred to myself as Half Japanese/Half American or Japanese/American.

    I also think it's easier to say for the Nihongo only crowd - Haafuuu

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    Those insisting that haafu is derogatory - those who are and grew up in Japan, and their parents will tell you that you are clutching at straws.

    I'm not saying the odd loser won't have a go at haafu kids, but this is the exception, not the norm.

    If anything, my haafu son gets too much attention from girls, lucky him ;-)

  • 0

    Zenny11

    If anything, my haafu son gets too much attention from girls, lucky him ;-)

    Too true, I always tease my son till the girls like your new clothes/haircut. He gets all bashful and refuses to answer but you can see that he likes the attention.

    Mixes tend to be hot.

  • 0

    kawachi

    They now often call dogs that are a mix of two breeds "half" in order to sell them for a higher price. Crazy. But I hope they don't start calling people who are part-Japanese and something else the standard Japanese word for "mutt" which is "zasshu." (雑種)

  • 0

    Zenny11

    till = did

  • 0

    Orchid64

    The existence of the term indicates that people are being classed according to the ethnic background differently than other people. It means some people are "pure" and some are mixed. This focus on "breeding" is inherently insulting and racist. Whether or not people are offended by the need to focus on the composition of their ancestors is rather beside the point. Defining people by their blood in this way diminishes and classifies them in a fashion which carries no value whatsoever to the individuals or society. It's about assigning status based on arbitrary factors.

  • 0

    bicultural

    My how times have changed. Nowadays being "haafu" is cool, but 20 years ago the "haafus" were getting teased and bullied at school (the ones in Japan, anyway). I think those people are the ones who would resent the term the most, the ones that are adults and working in Japan now.

  • 0

    fishy

    and i think it's an asian thing.. maybe... one time i went to a chinese restaurant in the states and a chinese waiter asked me if i was "haaf"... he used the term haaf (said are you a haafu??". i was also asked while visiting korea if i was haafu.

    in any ways, i know they dont mean it to be offensive and i am not offended, so i'm totally fine with the term.

    and most of the times when i get asked if i am haafu, they usually mean it positive rather than suggesting anything negative.

    the only thing that kind of bothers me is as soon as people find out i am haafu, they automatically think i speak english (well, i do, but my father is not from an english speaking country!)

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Orchid64.

    So how to you call/name a person of mixed heritage in any other language?

    I as a european got a family tree all over the continent and now even across the globe.

    So how to you call a person of mixed heritage without offending someone?

    P.S.: Mixed heritage was NEVER a problem for us as we valued the person more.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    I'm hafu- I really don't have a problem with it. I had racist problems in American and Japan. So to me, Japan and America has racist issues.

    I like being different !!!!! But when people start to rub it in or make a funny topic out of it. I try to shut them up or make fun of them.

    America- Asians live here, nose high caucasian people live here, poor caucasian people live there, Brown people live here or there.If you move to our neighborhood and your not living at you designated spot. We will check you, crose check you and have paranoid delusions about what kind of neighbor you are.

    Japan- You can live anywhere but don't bother me gajin !!!!If your lucky to get an apartment with the aprtment contract that doesn't state no gajin allowed. Keep the noise down, and take out the specific trash on a specific trash day.

    **But on the same note, alot of native Japanese try their best to look haffu. **Blondie hair people to Euro style clothes people. Pretty soon 100% of all native japanese will not sport their natural hair color.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    IME & IMO, many people that ask if you are a haafu are actually curious/interested, so an opening for exhange.

    Even if not it is an opportunity to turn it into something good/positive.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    In America many people asked if I'm chinese. Chinese is the default word to describe any asian. Is this cooler word than haffu ?

  • 0

    cleo

    20 years ago the "haafus" were getting teased and bullied at school (the ones in Japan, anyway). I think those people are the ones who would resent the term the most, the ones that are adults and working in Japan now.

    Can't say that's what my kids have experienced (both adults). I've never seen them express any resentment. For them haafu is just an easy way for them to explain how come they're better-looking and hotter than most other people. ;-)

  • 0

    mareo2

    Most people still dont is aware of how rude it "can" sound to some people from a different culture. Some even think that it is "cool", but to some it sound racist. I think that the safe bet is to go neutral and dont even mention it.

  • 0

    DamoSuzuki

    I always tell mixed blood kids that they are not 'half' but 'double'. They are special. They are say, 100% Japanese and 100% American. Double !

  • 0

    Zenny11

    mareo2. But how much is true racism and how much is perceived? Not something I can answer as it is situation per situation.

    Plenty of times I could have jumped down a guys throat for calling me a gaijin, etc. But I could also sense that no harm was intended, just the way how he knew to address a situation.

  • 0

    fishy

    Both my husband and I are haafu and we both don't have any problems with the term "haafu". We also have friends who are mixed and they don't have any problems or at least never said they felt offended.

    BUT if people here insist that the term is negative, sure, I give up... I guess it can mean offensive to some people. NOT ME, though, and I'm NOT guessing how haafu kids feel because I am one and I am married to one, too.. and both of our kids are mixed and been called haafu and no problem!! They both go to Japanese elementary school and hoikuen and never had any negative experience regarding their mixed heritage.

    But then again, I give up.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Consensus seems to be, from Haafu and parents of haafu seems it is not derogatory and neither perceived as such.

    And I think I am with fishy that the schools here don't care either, actually I get a LOT of support from them and my muncipality to help out when I get stuck(not often).

  • -1

    bboy30

    Well...I dont have any Japanese in me, but I am half..black and white. And when they sometimes ask me me about my roots, I tell them that. "OH, hafu?!" they sometimes say. I dont take it personal..its true! I consider myself a half-breed..whats so derogatory about it? What is annoying is when people make a big deal out of it, like the question on this forum. Theres nothing wrong with saying it...it is, what it is! Now if there is any other word that is used to express half-japanese people (in my case OREO, or Zebra), maybe it could be considered a bit offensive to some..but actually even in the US, us open minded mixies might even refer to ourselves as those...just my opinion... HALF BREEDS ROCK!!!

  • 0

    chinpira

    It not used by Japanese as a derogatory word at all. It may sound derogatory since non Japanese simply take the literal English meaning of "half" and perceive it and directly translate it the way "half" is used in the English language. Its just another butchered English based word compacted and used by Japanese to describe a person of mixed heritage. If anything, it seems to be used in complimentary form.

  • 0

    fishy

    HALF BREEDS ROCK!!!

    yes yes!!! :))

  • 0

    Darren White

    I don't think that it actually means "half Japanese" ...

    I used to really hate the term, but realised that the fact that they say "quarter" for someone with a gaijin grandparent means that it's "half gaijin", right ?

    I think that it does annoy some people because it sounds a bit like "half-caste", and other old-fashioned casual-racist terms in English from less enlightened times.

    I'm sure I've read somewhere that ハーフ is on a list of words that are banned from broadcast on NHK, but I asked my (mixed race) son about it a while back, and he doesn't really care - it's just an easy way to explain because most Japanese don't really understand the concepts of multiculturalism / multinationalism bless 'em. C'mon, they still believe all of that rubbish about blood types, and their world geography is shocking anyway ...

  • 0

    ratpack

    I hate the term hafu. So too does my daughter who gets annoyed whenever someone asks 'are you hafu'? (and she is 6). She answers NO, I'm Japanese Australian.

  • 0

    Eyeblack

    I think hafus are usually quite gorgeous.

  • 0

    Tahoochi

    ratpack at 04:10 PM JST - 8th July

    I hate the term hafu. So too does my daughter who gets annoyed whenever someone asks 'are you hafu'?

    ratpack: Might it be possible that your daughter hates the term hafu because you do?

    Personally, of all conversations I've heard in Japan involving the word hafu, not once have I heard it used in a derogatory manner. If anything, many Japanese are envious or look up to "hafu" because according to them, hafu are generally "good looking", or are lucky to experience multiculturalism... maybe that's what bothers some people when they are referred to as hafu, because they don't want to be considered any different or special from everyone else. I think it's usually just pure and sincere curiosity on the part of the Japanese though.

  • 0

    the_sheriff

    I personally have no problem being called "half" (whereas I'd be annoyed if I were referred to using the retarded "double"). But when it comes to labeling ethnic groups, it's impossible to find a term that everyone in that group agrees upon. Some people will like the term, some will hate it, and others will be somewhere in the middle.

    I don't think there's much more to be said about the topic.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    IME, tahoochi got it right.

    If you expect to be singled out, you can find many situations/terms that might mean so.

    PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I had few problems here as a foreigner and been hapoy here how I have been received that is compared to other countries I have traveled lived.

    Hit the mediteranean and speak with a german accent you get the cold shoulder till they found out that I was not german and things changed. Same way many brits and french get cold-shouldered across europe.

    Now this is in my own backyard so to speak.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    I'm glad that there are a lot of "halfies" like myself who don't have a problem with the term "hafu". In most situations, I am in that boat and don't find it offensive.

    But come on people, really. To think that Japanese are using the term in EVERY situation as a term of endearment or respect is ridiculous. I can agree with many here that yes, there are a lot of J-people who may enjoy variety and respect the fact that someone can share two or more cultures. But most Nihonjin won't admit it to anyone who isn't non-Japanese, that Japanese people are one of the most xenophobic and racist cultures out there. History proves that the Japanese islands were populated by Korean and Chinese descendants along with Ainu, yet the majority of Japanese will vehemently defend their perceived homogeneity. If they can't get over the fact that they share hereditary ties to mainland Asia how do you think they truly accept a "hafu"?

    I respect everyone's position on the topic and find it an interesting place for discussion. The above is just my take.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    I don't think the term 'hafu' is derogatory or racist at all, and my daughter is one. I think a key point to keep in mind is convenience. How can a speaker say 'half English,' 'half French,' 'half African,' etc. if they don't know what the foreign portion is? They can't. Hence the convenient term 'hafu.' 'Mikusu' ('mixed') may work although it hasn't caught on. I've got some foreign friends who think 'hafu' means half human - that's just - wow - how someone can think that.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    What about when we use the old adage: glass half full compared to glass half empty.

  • 0

    mrskit

    my daughter is haafu, she is so cute, most people dont say she is haafu though, they say 'waaaa ningyo mitaiii' and they also say ' mama wa suteki na gaijin desu ne' , but hey maybe we r just good looking :D what i do think is funny though....totally different subject,,,,but dont you other gaijins think it is funny when Japanese speak about you 'wao kirei na gaijin da' just a few feet away, not realising that you might be able to actually understand what they are saying, like im a museum wax lady or something,,, ha ha, lucky im not obese otherwise it would be 'waaaa mite, ano debu gaijin!' ha ha ha

  • 0

    Zenny11

    mrskit.

    Agree, once had an encounter in a mixed pub with some overseas friends as well as some buddies who Mastered in japanese. Naturally we chatted in english besides having multiple mother-tongues.

    One guy close by started his "anti" rant till I couldn't contain myself anymore and walked over to this table and told him.

    "We might speak english but we listen in Japanese and gave him a repeat of what he said." He shrunk visibly as a few guys waved.

    Same way I tell my buddies MANY japanese do understand english but might not show it.

  • 0

    XXXXX

    bicultural at 02:43 PM JST - 8th July My how times have changed. Nowadays being "haafu" is cool, but 20 years ago the "haafus" were getting teased and bullied at school (the ones in Japan, anyway). I think those people are the ones who would resent the term the most, the ones that are adults and working in Japan now.

    Hmm I doubt that's absolutely true as I can't say I ever heard of that. Then, I wasn't born or raised in Japan. I've met 'fellow' hafu's born in Japan and it seems they're more comfortable with their Japanese roots. Obviously and generically speaking.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    Also, there's foreigners out there who feel they need to lash out at....something...as part of a personal strategy to cope with the pressures, confusion and complexity of adjusting to a strange enviromment. It's like they start seeing ghosts because they really want to believe ghosts exist because their minds keep telling them that ghosts exist. All of which - in most cases - is cover for a coping strategy. There's nothing inherantly wrong with coping strategies - unless they tar people unnecessarily.

  • 0

    bboy30

    why is the question,

    "What do you think of the word "HALF", the Japanese term used to describe anyone who is half-Japanese?

    I gess the argument is about the word "HAFU", but what they are saying is HALF. HAFU is the Japanese pronunciation of HALF, Im sure we all know.
    I dont know anyone back home that wont deny it if they are HALF. "Hey, what are you?", "Im HALF nani nani"... now that I think more about it...this is a pretty stupid topic!

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Sushisaki3

    Amen.

  • 0

    bboy30

    @SushuSake31... what exactly are u saying as far as the word HALF?

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    bboy30 - the term 'hafu' shouldn't be taken literally, among other things.

  • 0

    pointofview

    Its a silly word really. If I asked someone back home if they were half this and half that, theyd think I was uneducated or an idiot. Japanese sure like to take short cuts with their vocab.

  • 0

    borscht

    The only time I heard haafu being used derogatorily was by my child's teacher who said it when said child tripped and fell while carrying an armload of books. "She wouldn't have tripped," said the teacher "if she wasn't haafu." Fortunately, several other kids in the class didn't care about lineage and helped my child to the nurse's office (had a nasty cut on her forehead). One of the other kids was also a haafu but the teacher didn't know it since he was half-Chinese/half-Japanese. He told us what the teacher said.

  • 0

    bboy30

    @borscht well than i think that teachers is just an idiot, of course you find idiots everywhere. But I dont think that the majority feel they are superior to people who are half.

    @pointofview- not sure where your from, or what your ethnicity is, but in the USA, it is very common for people to ask others what they are... doesnt make someone an idiot, its actually a good convo starter. Im proud of my mixed race, and I like to talk about it and here about others experiences.

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    pointofview: Yup! The word is silly and over-simplified just like the words 'gaijin', 'nyu-hafu' that tend to clump too many people into one category. As I wrote that, I thought--'Is that a bad thing?' On one hand, having fewer categories and fewer labels for us humans seems like a good thing but words are important because they are part of our language and therefore also part of our culture. However, these kinds of general terms can also dehumanize us in a way because the word does not make us feel individual or unique. My conclusion is that it is best not to use any word to label people and just try to everyone as people!

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    oops! 'see everyone as people'!

  • 0

    mrskit

    another totally different thing,,, i dont have a problem with my daughter being half or being called half,,,,i do have a problem with my MIL not hugging my daughter (4 years old) if she has her earrings (pierce..) in , but if she has taken them out, then she will hug her and tell her she is kawaii,,,,weird weird weird

  • 0

    cleo

    mrskit - Maybe your MIL is worried her jewellery might scratch the little one's face?

    borscht - Your child's teacher is a jerk.

  • 0

    lostrune2

    This has been asked before, and my answer then is just use "part-"

    like part-Japanese, part-Irish, part-Italian, part-Martian, etc.

  • 0

    XXXXX

    generically speaking

    LOL, I meant generally speaking. we're not talking about drugs. yet.

  • 0

    mrskit

    @cleo, sorry I worded it wrong, my daughter has pierced ears, my MIL hates it, and says it makes her less Japanese,,!

  • 0

    Eddisofbextar

    I have encountered several mixed japanese-xxxxx blood in my time here. All of them, especially the ones which are mixed of both asian blood (phillipino-japanese as an example) who have been raised primarily in Japan are quite sensitive about this topic.

    I recall a recent conversation with a Phillipino-Japanese half woman in which she referred to herself as Japanese, but when questioned about her parental lineage she got upset that I thought she wasnt fully Japanese (I have developed an eye for spotting them apparently). I asked her why she is upset, so I can understand better - since I am not mixed blood. Her reply was that the stigma with being labeled half, and the amount of harassment during childhood led her to be so sensitive about it.

    It doesnt matter what the speaker thinks, what matters here is how their words will affect the Wa around them - and yes, this includes every person around regardless of blood/race.

    This woman I spoke to recently, as well as all past examples (must be about 20 now) are also likely related to Wa. They probably got so tired of being segregated and just wanted to live in harmony and enjoy the same social conditions as everyone else around them - and when they are reminded of their differences it can make them upset.

  • 0

    KingSaint

    Like any word, the word is not the problem but the baggage that comes with it and how it is used. personally, i prefer the hawaiian term "hapa" i never heard it used derogatorily, plus hapa girls are HOT.

  • 0

    borscht

    Cleo

    Your child's teacher is a jerk.

    Yes, and she was made to feel incompetent when, in front of my 'whole' Japanese wife she said she didn't notice the blood spurting from my kid's face. Also, most of the wives in the PTA defended my kid against this 'haafu' thing. So, on the one hand, what's wrong with the word? on the other hand, it was how it was used that mattered, not the word itself. Japan needs a George Carlin, eh?

  • 0

    S7ro9kGm3aQ

    "She wouldn't have tripped," said the teacher "if she wasn't haafu."

    The teacher was obviously referring to the Japanese half.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    If it's used by itself (i.e. "That guy is a haafu."), it seems to indicate a derogatory usage. It's as if the person is only half of what he/she should be. If it includes both halves in the sentence (i.e. "That guy is haafu Nihonjin and haafu Amerikajin."), then the usage seems fine.

  • 0

    taiko666

    I accept that the word 'haafu' is usually not used in an intentionally derogatory way, but I don't think that's the point. To the Japanese, race continues to be of paramount importance. Using the word 'haafu' is a symptom of this. And the suspicious closeness of the expression to 'half breed' means that it grates on the ears of, or downright shocks, people who are new to Japanese culture (and its unhealthy obsession with race.) I'm sure that Japanese people using 'haafu' outside Japan come a-cropper very quickly. As would people like Cleo, who I'm sure would never refer to her children as 'haafu' while back in the UK.

  • 0

    taiko666

    My conclusion is that it is best not to use any word to label people and just try to see everyone as people!

    An excellent sentiment. Many parts of the world are already there, or very nearly. Japan is nowhere near, and use of the word 'haafu' is one of the reasons why things aren't going to change for a long, long time...

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    The term is used in Japan to describe a child with one 'white' parent and one Japanese parent, even if that white parent is Japanese. I saddens me that even in 2010, the white race is still held to such esteem that people feel it is important enough to point out someone's amount of 'whiteness' in conversation. I can give a million examples of famous people who are never referred to as ha-fu by the mainstream media even though both parents are of a different race. (Tiger Woods, Sadaharu Oh) In legal terms, there is no such word. I mean you are either Japanese or you aren't. What exactly does ha-fu mean for all you people who use the term on a regular basis? I suspect those that are also proud of the 'whiteness'.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    Fadamor - "If it includes both halves in the sentence (i.e. "That guy is haafu Nihonjin and haafu Amerikajin."), then the usage seems fine."

    My point, raised above, is what if the speaker doesn't know what the other half is?

    I'm mixed, born between 2 white caucasian parents and have no problem referring to myself as 'half-nantoka and half-nantoka.'

    As someone said above, it helps with conversation and - very importantly - helps define who we are and where we come from.

  • 0

    realist

    The term "hafu" as used in Japan is sick, and racist.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    realist - "The term "hafu" as used in Japan is sick, and racist."

    Why? Are you confusing the meaning of the word?

  • 0

    Fadamor

    But even in your example if you say "I'm half (whatever) and half something else", you're still including both halves even though you aren't sure what the other half is.

    I equate calling someone a "haafu" with calling someone a "half-breed". Both are based appearance but really have little to no actual value in describing the person as a whole. As proof that it's appearance-based, people who are half-Japanese but retain all their oriental features are not referred to in this manner.

  • 0

    lillia

    meh....you guys are sensitive lol im a japanese half (hafu-half)<-they cant speak well ^^; and i did had a bad experiance when i was small..but kid do look at people in odd way when theres something different from them.. now..theres nuthing wrong with a word itself..half means just a mix between some other countries :/ and nwdays japanese think half is hawt ;)its just some dumb people who look at people in racistway..and thats everywhere..not only in japan. sorry about my bad grammar :x peace<3<3

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    Fadamor - But even in your example if you say "I'm half (whatever) and half something else", you're still including both halves even though you aren't sure what the other half is."

    No, I'm stating both halves precisely because I DO know what both halves are.

    My point is, if I/you don't know what the other half is, how can you label it?

    You can't.

    That's the point.

  • 0

    cleo

    I'm sure that Japanese people using 'haafu' outside Japan come a-cropper very quickly. As would people like Cleo, who I'm sure would never refer to her children as 'haafu' while back in the UK.

    ??

    We'd come a cropper 'cos folk in the UK tend not to speak Japanese.....

    In the UK the kids are (in English) 'half-Japanese'. It's no big deal at all and simply serves to explain why they're so darned good-looking.

    The folk explaining that 'It's half-this and half-that', 'half-breed' 'half-human' etc., etc., seem to be carrying around a lot of English-language baggage. 'Half' doesn't work in English - that's fine. Don't use it in English. In Japanese, it's just another word.

    The fact that the expression 'vacuum cleaner' makes Japanese people titter and think of old-fashioned toilets is no reason for it not to be a perfectly normal expression in English.

  • 0

    lillia

    i got bullied alot when i was in child hood but thats in kids nature. thats everywhere.nothing wrong with the word itself and nowdays japanese think half is hawt;) its just some dumb racist that exist all over teh country. peace<3<3

  • 0

    lillia

    yahh half is like a half breed o_o and infact we are..wats wrong with it?

  • 0

    XXXXX

    jesus, where I come from everybody is a mixture, I mean, everyone, it's nothing new, it's nothing special, get real! Frankly it annoys the hell out of me that the Japanese AND foreigners make such a fuss about it. It's NO BIG DEAL, get over yourselves

  • 0

    MrDarryl

    I like Nihon-mixu (if part Japanese). Half sounds like you are not whole and it's derogatory no matter how you slice it. Half of anything is not a whole and to think so requires compromise.

  • 0

    Sarge

    It's too short. It should be lengthened to half-breed, as in "I'm sick of your half-breed interference."

  • 0

    lillia

    awww:D pokes ma self see! D: its no big deal!

  • 0

    XXXXX

    it really isn't!

  • 0

    mareo2

    SushiSake3 at 10:15 PM JST - 8th July

    As someone said above, it helps with conversation and - very importantly - helps define who we are and where we come from.

    With all due respect, opinions can be very different from person to person. Some people can like to be seen just like any other japanese and keep personal data to them and the people they trust, others dont have a problem in give more personal information about themselves to strangers.

    In my case Im not hafu, if we dont call okinawan a diferent race. But I dont mind to be called argentine-japanese due to be a nikkei, in fact I like it, it save time to me and dont feel shame and need to hide my cultural mixed roots, like you say it help to define who I am. But that dont mean that everyone have the same opinion as you and me, after all not everyone came from the same countries and have different cultures, to think that all are going to have or have to have the same reaction is a simplistic generalization. When I say, I think that is better dont ask, I mean to let the other person talk about it if that person want it, not to push personal questions. For example some people dont want to talk about a divorce, others dont mind. In my case I dont like to talk about the divorce of my parents, that can come up because I have the surname of my mother and not the surname of my father. I think that is common sense that build some trust must to be done before make personal questions to someone that we just meet.

    Again, I am ot hafu. But even so in my humble opinion I agree with the idea that is a racial based word and for some people is an unwelcome word. To fail to see these is, I think that can be impolite.

  • 0

    Klein2

    What do I think? Glad you asked. Of course, my answer is too long, so don't read it.

    I don't think it is a euphemism. It is an epithet and it is lazy (cheers Maria). I would never ever use this to describe someone because it is not helpful and signifies nothing (cheers Orchid). It is also likely to irritate people (Cheers Eddis).

    The simple fact, to borrow a term that seems to carry a lot of weight with some people, is that one-half is less than one. It is physically impossible for a human to survive that way, as far as I know, and there is nothing about a "half" person that is in any way inferior to a "pure breed" person. So the term is misleading and it means that one person is less than another. I cannot think of any actual language that refers to an individual as a "half." I think it was invented after miscegenation became commonplace.

    I don't want to get too anti-religion here, but there are religions that see miscegenation as a sin, and countries where it is criminal. "Half" children are therefore abominations proscribed by the word of GOD (Ge 24:3). How nice to live in Japan and not have to confront that. Any reinforcement of that way of thinking is wrong, in my opinion. In fact, I reject it and fight it. Coupled with the fact that many religious people are science-challenged, they are less likely to realize that "wild type" children born of miscegenation are inherently superior genetically to either of their parents. It is a fact. They are, in short, more accurately considered as "more than one", rather than as "less than one".

    That's it. People who use the word are either lazy or they have an agenda. Calling someone by their name to identify them is so much better than calling them half and all that it might imply.

    Oh. Gee. I have to add that Japanese people ARE confused by this in terms of legal standing. The concepts of citizenship and race are so mixed up in Japan that many many people do not understand that a person can be "half" and be legally 100% Japanese. I am sure about this. Ask some average people and you will see what I mean. Phrase the question like this: is a "half" child, Mariko Ito, who is half Japanese and half French entitled to receive the child allowance from the Japanese government? The answer, if you think about it, is definitely YES. Japanese people will not be sure. The point that the kid is JAPANESE will be overshadowed by the HALF race-based confounder. That is discrimination friends, and it is wrong. People judge rights in Japan based on race, not citizenship. Don't believe me? Ask Arudou Debito. He'll talk your ear off, and he is right.

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    Klein 2 I see what you're saying. People were quite shocked to find out that I was using Kanji and not katakana for my kids names. They still are. It makes me laugh when westerners themselves even find it normal or assume it necessary to give their kids katakana names cause they're not 'really' 100% Japanese.

  • 0

    XXXXX

    its too short. It should be lengthened to half-breed,

    yeah as in 'this site could really do without your half-wit posts. I'm sure I'm not alone in this sentiment ;)

  • 0

    taiko666

    We'd come a cropper 'cos folk in the UK tend not to speak Japanese.....

    Several of my English speaking Japanese friends have used the word while speaking English.

  • 0

    lillia

    like i have mentioned before.you guys are exaxurating.i know its misspelled you think most japanese knows what happened in those histories? the answers is no. sammuraisteve,,ur friends are weird. odds are just attractive to others..so there wil be misjudge and misconcepts.but soon half is gona be common, non half..(purebreed?) is gona be rare and its gona stand out.look at the world..most people are ruled by chinese blood :)we rnt a history no,we got smarter and we dont look at it by old ways

  • 0

    taiko666

    What do you think of the word "hafu," the Japanese term used to describe anyone who is half-Japanese?

    Apart fom exemplifying the unhealthy Japanese obsession with race, the use of 'haafu' also seems to imply Japanese complete disinterest in the 'foreign half' of the person in question. What matters is that they're (only) 'half' Japanese. Why not acknowledge the other 'half'? It's a simple courtesy, the same courtesy that's lacking when somebody is referred to as a 'gaijin' instead of an American, Briton, Indian etc.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    taiko666, how can Japanese 'acknowledge the other half' when they don't know what it is? You're expecting the impossible.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    How can you call someone 'half French' if you don't know that they are 'half French'?

  • 0

    VelvetRosetta

    For me I would find it offensive, if the situation were that the person calling me hafu, was to acknowledge my other race and not "in this case me being hafu Japanese as well" I think it depends on the way its being said and by who...like stated above not all Japanese are racist, so not everyone would do this to offend but I am sure their are ppl who do this with the intention of being mean...

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    taiko666 - thanks, you just proved my point, albeit in a roundabout way. IF the speaker knows...in most cases they won't have a clue, hence the need for a general term.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    realist at 10:50 PM JST - 8th July The term "hafu" as used in Japan is sick, and racist.

    Are you ha-fu yourself? What experiences have you had to lead you to that conclusion? An awful lot of opinions being thrown about, but I believe that only people who re "ha-fu" like my kids, are qualified to answer this question. In fact, it only matters to them.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    SushiSake3 at 12:46 AM JST - 9th July How can you call someone 'half French' if you don't know that they are 'half French'?

    The accent? :)

  • 0

    itazuke1

    What hapened to nisay

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    HALF BREEDS ROCK!!!

    Well, that's cool because I'm actually half too, just not half-Japanese.

    Kind of wish I was though. Oh well, I can just look at my son to see how I'd look as one :-)

  • 0

    taiko666

    @sushisake

    I'd say that if somebody didn't know enough about the person they're talking about to know whether they're 'half-French' or not, they should refrain from making any assumptions or comments at all about their ancestry or racial make-up. It's time to ditch this obsession with race.

    hence the need for a general term

    When is a general term actually needed? Only in intelligent discussions dealing with general cultural issues- in which case, a more appropriate and considerate term than "HALF" should be used.

  • 0

    lillia

    @taiko666 you are making the halfu and half breed feel like every japanese is against them,hence by exaxurating this subject, you are treating us like an odd person :)

    the word 'half' it self has nothing to do with racism and its just depend on who uses that word with intention, which positive and negative oppinion happens everywhere. anyhow,we are not pure breed so we are half and what else whould it have to be called? lol

  • 0

    sillygirl

    which half? from the waist up? or split down the middle of the body. what a stupid term. half japanese is better.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    To me the issue is so simple. Words are words. If the utterance of the word "haafu" in Japan were meant to be offensive, then I would have a problem with it. But, it doesn't. Listen to a group of Japanese use the term and you'll realize it's not bad at all. The only problem is for older westerners who remember the use of "half-caste", but the word "haafu" is totally different. Actually, it's just another example of an English term that has a different meaning in Japan. So when you learn gairaigo, just make sure you learn the Japanese meaning, and forget the original meaning.

    So, people call my kids "haafu" all the time. As I often say, if the worst that happens to you is that people call you a "haafu" with a smile and a face showing admiration, you really aren't having such a bad life.

  • 0

    NuckinFutz

    I agree with Yasukuni, it is how the word is said and how it is taken. My children are Japanese-American and if somebody refers to them as half why should I be offended unless they say it in an obviously racist tone? I can't even remember the last time I heard the word, except here on this forum. Most people call my kids by their names and seem to overlook the fact that they look a little different. As for me, I'm not offended if somebody calls me a gaijin with a smile!

  • 0

    loserville

    I don't find the term insulting when used to describe your heritage, i.e. I am half Italian, Half Japanese etc. I being a mixture of 4 different nationalities, and only a 3rd gen American at most, i am immersed in 4 different cultures. I have always said I am quarter this and that.

    But if I was labeled as "a kuwa-ta" I would be offended, the semantics make it sound like im only 1/4 human or something. I would prefer to be refered to in relation to what country I hod citizenship, this case American.

    BTW it is interesting to try to explain to Japanese people how you can be an American, but still be French, Italian, etc. It seems to be quite confusing to many of them.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    yasukuni, your 8.11 post totally nailed it. Brilliant, and I have to say you have a very healthy and realistic attitude. Your post made my day - thank you. :-)

    I'm now convinced many foreigners are reading way too much into the word.

  • 0

    morosophos

    There is no one 100% any race. Best to refer to them as "mikkusu," unless you know the percentages. Then feel free to say someone is hafu, or even shikusutinsu, or if you are pretty sure, satisekando. In the US, we have quite a few shikusutifosu.

  • 0

    ratpack

    Tahoochi at 04:50 PM JST - 8th July

    Might it be possible that your daughter hates the term hafu because you do?

    No i started to hate the term after my daughter came home one day crying because she was sick and tired of people calling her 'hafu' instead of her name at school.

  • 0

    supernatural

    Who really cares? It's just a label. I don't see people using the term in a derogatory way, so why the fuss?

  • 0

    dracpoo2

    If someone has parents, each of different races, they are indeed made up of a half of each race. I consider this to be rather exotic and unique. Japan, however, has smade it a bad term through their unwillingness to accept that differences exist and are ok.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    I think a key part of the issue here is that English-speaking foreigners are applying the English meaning of the word 'half' to the Japanese term 'hafu' and finding themselves getting upset because they aren't aware that the meanings of the 2 terms are different. Unfortunately, that's called ignorance.

  • 0

    proudnippon

    It is just a word. with correct intonation you can say 'banana' so it sounds a bad word. If you look very hard you can find racist in everything but it is looking too hard

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    You can accept the the word "hafu" anyway you like. It really doesn't matter how it is uttered, be it a cute 20 something girl saying it in a tone that is complimentary and shows that she wants my phone number :) or an obaa-san who learns of my heritage and takes a step back as she says it :(

    The fact of the matter is the reference is to being ONLY 1/2 Japanese. Doesn't matter how it is said and most of the time it doesn't matter what the other half the individual is.

    As I posted before, in most situations the term "hafu" does not bother me. Back in the States, that's how I describe myself: Half Japanese/ Half American. Though I do prefer Hapa. Just don't blindly think that "hafu" is a totally clean and innocent word.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    sushi- I'm just curious and you are in no way obligated to answer but what is your cultural background if you don't mind me asking? It can be easy to comment looking in from the outside.

    Anyway you look at it, the reference is to the Japanese half and only that half. I feel the Japanese language has taken the word "half" and used it just as the English definition intends. Please explain how you find another meaning for the term "hafu"?

  • 0

    fishy

    there are so many katakana words that don't really make sense or not being used "properly", but guess what.. when English word becomes Japanese (katakana), you should not apply English usage ..

    haaf is a JAPANESE word for mixed-race people.. doesn't mean anything else. Certainly does NOT mean the person is only 1/2 worth.

    And as I said earlier, I (I'm 1/2 japanese and 1/2 french) and my husband (he is 1/2 japanese 1/2 american) do not feel the word offensive and our children who are mixed do not have any problems with the term.

    while most haafu people don't mind the term at all and haafu people use the word as well to describe ourseives, there are many people who are not haafu and complain about it.

    and like I said, it is just a katakana word and I do not use the word when speaking in English or French because I don't see the word haafu as an English/French word.

  • 0

    mareo2

    ratpack at 10:02 AM JST - 9th July

    No i started to hate the term after my daughter came home one day crying because she was sick and tired of people calling her 'hafu' instead of her name at school.

    The very same feeling I got in Argentina because everyone called me "chino" (spanish for male chinese) in the school. Some people brush it off like it is nothing, but it really hurted my feelings that people preffered to call me by a racial nickname based on my appearence than for my spanish given name. I find it superficial and rude as like calling someone "fatboy" just because it is overweight.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    fishy, you make valid points. But if someone were to be for example, Mexican/American, would the Japanese person really be thinking "hafu" or gaijin? My bet is on gaijin because it really makes little difference in the minds of most (not all) Japanese people, what their cultural make-up is, they're still "outsiders" and not Japanese. I think "hafu" is only in reference to people who are mixed with Japanese.

  • 0

    fishy

    ElJeffeEnJapn-

    I think "hafu" is only in reference to people who are mixed with Japanese.

    Right.. When Japanese people use the JApanese term "haafu" (see how it's not Half, it is a Katakana Japanese word!!), it usually means 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 non-asian. you're right.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Thanks fishy, though I do think that 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Asian applies as well.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    As an example, my Japanese wife is bewildered that foreigners don't like the useof the word "haafu", and, she thinks her "haafu-chan" is the most beautiful child in the world!

    But don't worry, I will keep trying to convince her that she's being racist. Maybe one day she'll stop using horrible words like that. (btw, she doesn't speak English).

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    ElJeffeinJapan, fishy is right - hafu means 'mixed', not 'half.' I think too many foreigners create grief for themselves by applying the English meaning to a Japanese word. Easy to do, but not wise. My girl is a hafu and she rocks! :-)

    And fyi, I also consider myself mixed - 2 Caucasian parents from different countries.

  • 0

    fishy

    ElJeffEnJapon- Right, technically, 1/2 asian (non-japanese) 1/2 japanese is also called haafu... but usually when people you don't know come up to you and ask you (or your child) if you(or the child) are haafu, it is when you obviously look mixed with other race other than asian. Are you my fellow haafu French, by the way???? :)

    Yasukuni- When people come up to me and ask if my baby is haafu-chan (they say "haafu-chan desuka?), they almost never mean to be offensive or being racist. They just want to know and they are often envious that the child gets the best of both.. When they ask if my baby is a haafu-chan, they usually ask questions such as language we speak at home, if we get to see the baby's grandparents abroad often enough and stuff like that... You say your wife is being racist by using the word haafu is so harsh. You can nicely tell her that YOU prefer the term mix or something else and YOU prefer it if she chose different term, but for you to say she is being racist is too much as I KNOW she is not especially if she doesn't speak English, the English definition of Half doesn't apply to the word Haafu she is using. That said, if YOU don't like it and don't want her to use the word, tell her YOU don't like it rather than she's being racist.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Sorry fishy, I'm 1/2 American. But the roots trace back to England and then to Normandy. So technically, yes?

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Sushi - a German/Austrian or English/Danish person is "hakujin/gaijin" in the eyes of most Japanese no? They wouldn't consider them "hafu" I don't think the "hafu" moniker applies to any other situation except when someone is half Japanese. Please let me know how to see it another way.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Glad to hear your little one rocks by the way. I like to think I do as well! ;)

  • 0

    nisegaijin

    Nothing wrong with it.. pretty accurately describing an obvious fact.

  • -2

    hadorison

    I don't mind hafu, I'll be happy if I was considered hafu instead of outsider or even Mr/Mrs.YouDon'tBelongHere.

  • 0

    fishy

    ElJeffEnJapon-

    Sorry fishy, I'm 1/2 American

    no need to be sorry :) Looking at your name I thought you might be French but your English didn't sound like it (not that I can hear but I can read it!!)..

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Funny thing is hadorison, some in my own family (the much older men who grew up in WWII/Post WWII) consider me an outsider and Mr. YouDon'tBelongHere even though we share the same blood.

    nisegaijin- no argument that the term isn't accurate. It definitely is. But innocent it is not. Even with the best intentions it holds a "you are not fully one of us" connotation. While that also may be accurate, I don't agree with the people on this thread who flatly deny it exists.

    Here is my statement on the subject: I am a "hafu", "half breed", "mutt", "hapa" whatever word you want to use to describe us but you (no one in particular) can go to hell if you think that we are any less of a person than you.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    Pamelot - "Katakana should be phased out. I am tired of seeing mine and others' languages butchered by its use."

    So you're saying that you - a foreigner - think Japan should phase out one of it's 3 written languages?

    Sorry, but do you have any idea how arrogant that sounds?

    "Learn the meanings, and pronunciations of words as they were intended."

    That's not going to work, due to the differences methods of pronunciation used in Japanese and English. I take it you don't speak or understand much Japanese?

    "I am offended that my language was borrowed from to create it."

    Well, you had better stop using 'menu,' 'restaurant,' and all those other words from French, German, Latin, etc. that your language borrows and uses quite happily.

    It is entirely natural for languages to adopt words from other languages. .

  • 0

    societymike

    nisegaijin at 02:01 PM JST - 9th July Nothing wrong with it.. pretty accurately describing an obvious fact.

    exactly. who cares. My kids are "hafu" and I see nothing wrong with it.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    Fishy, I totally agree with you. In a previous post I stated that I have no problem with "haafu".

    I was being sarcastic. What I was trying to say is that my wife is Japanese and uses the word "haafu" for her own children who she loves to bits - so I don't think Japanese are being racist at all for using the word.

    I don't even have a problem with "gaijin". I call myself one.

  • 0

    masterkun05

    Oh ok they have a name. I will tell my son. Maybe call him haafu for fun. If I am watching TV I just ask my wife "is that a half". So I was close anyway. Some of them are very attractive. Especially the half French news reader. Wow. So pretty.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    "Haafu" is derogatory. Half of what? Half a human? It echoes the 1950s racism in places like Australia where Aborginal people of some European ancestry were labelled "half" or "quarter". Similar also in the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. Thankfully, it no longer happens in either place. Fact is - everyone on earth is of mixed ancestry - there is no such thing as an ethnically homogenous person!

    When I am lucky enough to have kids with my wife, they most certainly will NOT be called "haafu". They will be called "kids".

  • 0

    bubzabub

    When someone calls my kids hafu I give them a quick chop to the windpipe and tell them the correct word is "better"

  • 0

    yasukuni

    "When I am lucky enough to have kids with my wife, they most certainly will NOT be called "haafu". They will be called "kids""

    sigh You are young perhaps, but some of us probably remember being scolded for saying "kids" instead of "children. And "haafu" in Japan echoes nothing about Australia. Strange coming from a person who calls himself burakumin.

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    I think the fact that Japan has a word like this in its vocabulary is quite telling of the culture itself.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Yasukuni, "kids" could hardly be termed as in any way negative or derogatory. It is accepted vernacular. "half" clearly would be an uncomfortable label - at best - for some. I think it echoes a LOT about the US/Aust/GB decades ago, where it was OK for the majority to call minorities whatever they wanted - regardless of it offended anyone. In 20 years Japan will be in the same situation - it will be far more cosmopolitan - and I'd bet anything that "half" is no longer used.

  • 0

    kevinintokyo

    I feel that hafu is not bad. But they are Japanese citizens and should not be considered anything but. This countries culture is slowly changing. Their are more and more hafu and foreigners becoming citizens. Lets see what Japan looks like in 20 years. It will be similar to major metros in the US and other 1st world countries.

  • 0

    marushka

    I am ok being hafu, got used already after so many years :) when Japanese are asking me if I am hafu and I answer – yes, half Korean, they look so lost in their thoughts:)

  • 0

    yasukuni

    Burakumin, you are no doubt young, and don't even know about the times you talk about in the past.
    Firstly, ask people over 40. "kids" was slang, and teachers for example wouldn't use it. Yes, it's accepted vernacular now, but once it wasn't.

    And what I am trying to get through to you is that, yes, if I called someone "half" in English in Australia, it would echo the bad old days. But the mistake you and many others here are making is thinking that "haafu" is a katakana variation of "half caste". It is not used in a bad way here at all.

    Look at Sushisakes response to Pamelot. Words are borrowed and lose their original strict meanings all the time. Even words within a language change over time. (Like "kids"). If you don't understand that, how do you cope learning and using Japanese?

    Lets put it as simply as we can. Many words change in meaning over time within a language, and can often become something very different when borrowed and then become part of another language. Judging someone on the use of a word based on its meaning 300 years ago will lead to the same kind of problem.

    I could care less whether people get upset about haafu, but what irritates me is when gaijin will get all annoyed and start sermonizing when some poor well-meaning Japanese plucks up the courage to reach out to a foreigner and compliment them and show interest in them.

    But don't worry, I often explain to Japanese people that many gaijin will get offended if they use the word "haafu". They are usually totally surprised. It's one thing to be super-sensitive, it's another to feel slighted because of ignorance.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    I do see your points there Yasukuni. As you say, "haafu" used in the Japanese context would absolutely be less patronising than the "half-caste" of old.... however some labels that get thrown at people - even in some places today - that seem harmless in writing are outrageously offensive. As an example, the derogatory slang for Pakistani people used in some places (no need to write it). But I do agree with you in that "haafu" used in this context is never intended as a put down. If you, your wife and children are cool using the word, then all power to them. BTW I'm 32 - I wish I was as young as you guessed!

  • 0

    space_monkey

    I am 1/4 french 1/4 Irish 1/4 Scottish 1/4 British but I call myself Australian. Enough said.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Likewise space monkey, I've got mixture of English, Scottish, Irish, Italian and Aborignal in my ancestry - God knows the fractal amounts! - but would only ever consider myself 100 percent Aussie as would everyone I know from Australia who are all also of mixed ancestries.

  • -2

    hadorison

    Japan is a very homogenous nation and with this homogeniety comes a great deal of culture. I don't think the few genetically confused will take offense to a term like "hafu".

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    yasukuni- you say that words are borrowed and lose their meaning over time. Let's take the word n*gger for example. While it has become socially acceptable in America for African-Americans to use the term amongst themselves, should a non African-American use the word it still holds every single ounce of spite in other people's eyes, regardless of race. Just because the term has been used for a period of time does not subtract from the original intention.

    Japan considers itself to be a completely homogeneous society. When the term "hafu" was deemed necessary/useful, it was in a context of "you are not fully Japanese and this is how we will differentiate you from us". This also applies to mixed races as Japanese again mistakenly consider themselves to be pure. The fact that there are multitudes more "hafu's" around does not change this. The origin of the term, however innocent or "just a simple translation of half or mixed" people deem it to be on this thread is quite honestly irrelevant.

    It is what it is.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    Let me also re-iterate. In most cases the word "hafu" is not an issue to me. Maybe it's just the gaijins w/ no Japanese ancestry on this thread who feel that they know what is right when not walking in the shoes of the people they are commenting about. And having a child with a Japanese spouse doesn't make you an expert. I trust your children are beautiful and precious, but you are just an observer/commentator in my opinion.

    Is it only those that have experienced it in Japan that can truly understand?

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Japan is a very homogenous nation and with this homogeniety comes a great deal of culture

    Actually - Japan is not homogenous. It's a myth. Multicultural nations - by definition - have more "culture".

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    I think the way that some foreigners are getting upset over the meaning and usage of the word 'Hafu' really doesn't reflect well on them at all.

    Unfortunately there's a lot of ignorance out there.

  • 0

    fondofj

    Japan is definitely still a homogenous country. There are many places even inside down town in Tokyo where people still stare at foreigners. In US or AUS or UK the people can't distinguish who is foreigner and who is local, because so many foreigners has been mixed within their society. In Japan even a naturalized foreigner speaking fluent Japanese is treated as foreigner as the trend is not well accepted by most of the people. The world 'Hafu' is absolutely derogatory and insulting, which means you are not full Japanese, so you can't enjoy full freedom in this country. It creates bad impact on the soft mind of children when they are called 'hafu' by their peers or neighbors. They might think they are sustaining a by born sin. Hope this situation will change after the next generation.

    Oneday, the hafu generation will be the majority in this country where population is ever decreasing.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    fondofj - "The world 'Hafu' is absolutely derogatory and insulting, which means you are not full Japanese,"

    But that is exactly the situation and an accurate reflection of reality.

    What exactly is the problem??

  • 0

    nigelboy

    Oneday, the hafu generation will be the majority in this country where population is ever decreasing.

    Then so be it. They'll still be referred to as "hafu" because quite frankly, there was no negative stigma attached to it from the beginning.

  • 0

    MrDarryl

    @ SushiSake3- Half-breeds have been mocked in Japan for a long time (3-4 generations if not more). Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (R) is a movie that shows how this was typical. Being called less than full is derogatory, period. Who is really "pure" any way?? Name calling needs to go away. The sooner, the better. I like marushka's statement about people being 'lost in their thoughts'. The confusion will only grow as time goes by. And what about people who are not just 2 races/nationalities? Where do they fit into the equation? But I guess their is no problem calling them something too...like mutt. That shouldn't be a problem. Should it?

  • 0

    Nanogolas

    I find it offensive. Of course you may say "I'm japanese (since I was born in Japan) but my parents are mexicans, french, etc...).

    Note that in Mexico, everybody born and grown here calls him-/herself mexican, even if her/his parents are not. Consider also the great variety of races mixed here. By the way, as long as I know (please correct me if wrong) the American man (precolombinan-races) came through Bering Pass, so it would be interesting to analyze how much do American peoples (not from the US, America means ALL the continent) resemble to Asian (some mexicans look very japanese, and viceversa (I apologize if some gets offended by this, no offense intended!)

  • 0

    Nanogolas

    By the way, though I'm mexican, I also consider Japan my home (never been there). Someday, It will be! Sorry to say, but Mexico is no longer (has ever been?) a good place for living.

  • 0

    vulcan

    I have no problem with the word and describe myself as such frequently. Usually it goes along with a compliment when I hear someone asking if I am haafu. Kakoii, haafu desu ka? Type of statement.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    How about using the word "mix" or "mixsu" and it doesn't matter if your fraction, quarter, half of any race. In Japan, there’s this notion that there’s an authentic race and you must fit in. The gaijins or "hafu" are constantly confronted with the lack of fit and the Japanese people still stick to a one race label. People of mixed race and their decision about how to identify themselves are deeply personal, not political and it's influenced by how and where they were reared, how others perceive them, what they look like and how they themselves come to embrace their identity.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    Eljeffe,

    But you just made my point. Words mean different things in different contexts. Like you said, African Americans use a word in a certain way, that I couldn't. That's what I'm talking about. And half or half-caste is not used in Australia, but in Japan, by Japanese, I think is okay. (There may be times, when it is used in a derogatory fashion - but anything can be.

    When I was young you would never call an Aborigine "black", but it would have been silly for me 20 years ago to chastise Americans for calling people black and insisting they call them Negroes.

    My last word on the matter is this. If you want to educate the Japanese to say "daburu" instead of "haafu", go ahead. Once it gets on TV everyone will say it. Hopefully though the next crop of gaijin to get off the boat won't be offended by that because it means something else in their home country.

  • 0

    SushiSake3

    MrDarryl - 'Being called less than full is derogatory.'

    Perhaps only in the minds of those who insist on misinterpreting the word. 'hafu' means half foreign or mixed, which are accurate descriptions. I'm still not sure why people find the word offensive.

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    What is wrong with it? There have been hundreds of documented cases in this country of people being discriminated against because although they are fully, 100% Japanese, they are treated differently because either one of the parents is white, black, hispanic, etc.

    Some of the arguments on this thread are whacked. 'Kids' used to be derogatory? Where and in what generation was that? Racism: 1 - the belief that some races of people are better than others 2 - the unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race The problem is kids who are thought to be ha-fu are thought to be a of different race or at least partly and are treated differently or unfairly. Whether it be in the school playground "You're a ha-fu!", "You're a gaijin!" "You're a ha-fujin!" is much like kids teasing others saying "You're fat!", "You have buck-theeth!", "Four-eyes!", whatever but they're all said to hurt the other kids feelings. Just that the first three are based on the fact that one parent is a different race - thus racist. Not being allowed into the onsen, not being able to get a kanji hanko, not being able to play on a sports team or be a member of a club because one is ha-fu is also racial discrimination. The more people use the term, the more people think they is actually a difference between kids with 2 Japanese parents and 1 Japanese parent. Legally there is no difference but for many of you, you feel a need to call them 'something.' Well, if I don't call them half, well, well, what do I call them (sometimes even one's own kids). Why call them anything but their name? We are all mixed. When will people realize this? Why call them anything? Why aren't Japanese kids who have one Chinese parent, one Korean parent, one Mongolian parent considered ha-fu. By your whacked thinking, they are only half Japanese. The other thinking that because some Japanese have a bit of "white" in them they are more attractive or cooler is also whacked, If one grandmother is Spanish, the other is English, one grandfather is Kenyan, the other is Chinese, then what am I? Human, I suppose. Just like if three of my grandparents are English and one is Irish, three are Japanese, one is Dutch. And slightly off topic but mentioned above, if people I have never met want to know what I feed my kids, what language we speak at home, how often we visit the other grandparents I usually make it a quick conversation and think "we're just another family, not a circus act, get a life, moron" Been here a long time and don't feel like wasting my valuable time speaking to people like that. Now I can say "Hey, you'd like the web-site JT."

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Just asked my son how he feels about being called a "Haafu".

    His Answer: Hmm, not too happy but I am one. But he also sez it depends on how it is said and by who."

  • 0

    ChrisBiggins

    In England we call all nationalities British if they are. half caste and suce are out of date terms peopel are people, that is it, THE END!!!!

  • 0

    Zenny11

    About the word "hafu" being derogatory but some said english don't have the same type of words.

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn't "Boy" and other words have similar derogatory inflictions not too long ago.

  • 0

    BurakuminDes

    Japan is definitely still a homogenous country

    Fondofj, Have you ever been to Hokkaido and seen the Ainu culture, Okinawa (Ryukyuan) , or Osaka - where you will find a huge community of ethnic Koreans? Not to mention many Japanese are of mixed origin post ww2. It seems like you must have just read a Japanese school textbook of the 1950s for your info! No nation has a "homogenous" population - and absolutely not Japan. Yes - it's more homogenous than the UK - but not homogenous. This myth of "we are all the same" is probably a reason why people feel the need to label others "haafu", etc.

  • 0

    krisallenation

    Why? Is it offensive?

  • 0

    spudman

    Why? Is it offensive?

    Cause it forms an opinion based on appearance. Same as fat, bald or mongoloid. What people look like shouldn't draw comments from strangers in polite company.

  • 0

    ElJeffeEnJapon

    yasukuni- no, you are not understanding my point correctly. Afican Americans began using the term as a method to disallow non African Americans from continuing to use the derogatory term. The fact they use it amongst themselves now does not negate the racist origins when used by non African Americans then or now. It is still a very loaded word. What part of that was not clear?

    Also, have you read in my posts where I am not in conflict with the term "hafu"?? I've used it my entire life.

    My issue is that people fail to recognize the origin of the word. It may be less derogatory in 2010. Fine. But, seriously think of why the word was adopted in the first place? I think it's OK that people don't have a problem with using the word. Use it till the cows come home for all I care. Context is one thing. Just don't deny the origin of the term.

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    Hafu is correct word in japanise socity. no need to get mad. ( I mean.. If not for bulling or to put you down.) If not both parents are japanise ( say Nihon jin.) I mean , An Example.. If a black person( easy to identify ) who is later become a japanise citizen and then in the system leagly identyfy as japanise (nihon jin). but in socily he is a still Guyjin , allways when he is on the road. unless dont show the pasport or the document on forehead. That is the fact. As long as anybody living in japan and can accept the buck in Yen? then Y not change and adjust to japanise way?

  • 0

    SendaiIR

    It all depends upon whether the person who is calling you "haafu" cares more about the label or cares more about you as a person. Same with the question "what are you?" though that question may be more common in the US than in Japan....

    By the way, I am half and my husband is white; my kids are referred to as "quarter.". I think "haafu" was originally "half white gaijin," but people have become relaxed enough about racial impurity that it maybe doesn't matter as much anymore. Normally one would only reference the part that is different though.

  • 0

    yasukuni

    Eljeffe, so we both misunderstood each other then. I personally don't use expressions that I know the listener won't like. But it's not always easy because as I said, different words mean different things in different countries. And not everyone knows the derivations. And often the people who THINK they do, don't.

  • 0

    Kevbodian

    Any word is ok if geinojin say it on TV and laugh. In all honesty, though, I think it may depend on context. Generally, I don't feel I have a problem with it; however, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever used the phrase half-Canadian or half-American when discussing someone who may have been born to ........ outside of Japan, it's not acceptable.

  • 0

    okitokidoki

    So which half of me is which?

  • 0

    Kevbodian

    okitokidoki

    The good hafu is the Japanese hafu.

  • 0

    The758

    I've always referred to myself as half since I was a kid (I'm not Japanese) and I've never had a problem with it. The Japanese are really good at taking innocent words and turning them into pejoratives, however.

  • 0

    my2sense

    This was a cool read... sheds a lot of a light on the JT regulars.... I havent had an issue with my lad... Most think he is American and you can barely see any Japanese with his brown hair and Irish-Italian skin, features. A mutt like his Dad. Cheers.

  • 0

    Cheebascience

    superficial or sincere, i love being called a half. unlike bald, fat, etc which has a negative connotation to it, the term haafu has no negative implification to it....unless its the uyoku saying it, then its bad because they only love pure bloods

  • 0

    krisallenation

    What should I tell people when they ask what race my son is then? almost Nihonjin?

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    krisallentown

    Tell them he's human.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    "Hafu is correct word in japanise socity. no need to get mad." And there have been words in all languages that are correct and official words that are racist and derogatory. The fact that it is correct says more about the established nature of racism in Japan than it does about the correct usage of the word.

    People should be seen as human beings. Not as "that Hafu girl" "that white guy" etc... What is wrong with it? Everything!

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    I don't really have the time right now to read all the comments but let me just say this:

    All those who say it's just a word or it is not racist or demeaning are fouling only themselves!

    My grandmother was called a Halfbreed most of her life being Caucasian and native American and in noway did those who called her that mean it in any nice way!

    I am viewed in Japan as Caucasian so my children have often been referred to as "Hafu", since they entered daycare more then a decade ago they took offense to the term immediately without any input form myself or their mother.

    When I asked why it bothered them the answers were enlightening:

    First; Both my son and daughter said that as far as they knew they were JAPANESE (basically as far as a very young child can put it no more and no less a citizen of Japan with all the same rights and not half the rights)!

    Second: They quickly noticed that when the term was used for their other mixed heritage classmates that were not Caucasian/Japanese it was not said in a "cute" or even mildly positive way or meaning.

    The facts are if you are a mix of Caucasian and Japanese then "Hafu' is used more often then not in a positive "they are so cute" manor BUT if you are a mix of SEA, Black, Arabic, Persian, Indian, etc.. then it is used almost always with a negative overtone.

    For those who with to defend the use of this word or the Japan apologist and Japanophiles, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, and sorry if this comment offends you, and if it does then I challenge you to leave your little corner of Utopia and come up to the east end of Tokyo and ask the Filipino, Thai (and a few others) mothers and their children what they think and how they have been treated and or called!

  • 0

    perspective

    If a black person( easy to identify ) who is later become a japanise citizen and then in the system leagly identyfy as japanise (nihon jin). but in socily he is a still Guyjin

    This is a perfect example of Japanese thinking - Japanese is more than just a nationality, it is also a race, and only Japanese with Asian features are TRULY Japanese. Just ask the minister Renho.

  • 0

    perspective

    Hafu, gaijin, whatever, they're all ways to distinguish true Japanese from everyone else in the country.

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    IchyaWarFare; First if you knew anything about me you would know that I am not American!

    Second: I do not think you know the meaning of racial profiling! Please look it up.

    Third; My children clearly knew their origins but took exception to the fact of being labeled as not fully Japanese as is clearly their case legally.

    What my grandmother went through was a long time ago and was already considered unacceptable by the time I was born way more then 40 years ago!

    And even back before it was considered widely unacceptable it would still have not been used by anyone in authority, upper education and especially not be the media!

    As for keeping my trap shut when we become like North Korea then maybe.

    As for dealing with it "like most of us have" well, NO!

    And when you say "most of us" are you implying the you are of mixed heritage ( I do mean Japanese/foreign) if not then maybe you are the one that should take you own advice and keep it shut!

    My children are the ones who vehemently object to it along with their other mixed heritage friends and I would think it is their right to object!

    Change did not come in my country for my grandmother by being complacent and quiet it came by people speaking out against racism and discrimination!

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    One more thing.

    The question here it self is misleading "half-Japanese" already gives use the notion that these children are half of something.

    I find it interesting that a friend of mine is considered "Japanese" even though he is a mix of second generation American of Japanese origin and of Japanese does that not make him "hafu" because he is obviously a Japanese/American mix especially since there is no such thing anthropologically speaking as "American" or even "Japanese"!

  • 0

    IchyaWarFare

    limbo

    As you said-if you are a mix of SEA, Black, Arabic, Persian, Indian, etc.. then it is used almost always with a negative overtone. So these kids are targeted to recieve or called something in a negative tone. Maybe I missed my mark on the profiling, but it sure sounded like these kids are always gonna be seen in a negative light.

    I really do not care where you came from or where you are from, but you first go on to say that your children thought they were Japanese period. Same rights. Good stuff on your kids part.

    The reason they took offense to it was because it was not said in a "cute" manner...seriously? Then it is mean when it is used as a casual, but it hurts your feelings when I do not an emphasis of it being in a positive light instead of as a regular word or description. Wow.

    Unfortunately, there are those of us half-breeds, some of us mixed with more than half, yes meaning me in particular that have no problem with the word. Sure, there are some people who may use it in a negative light, but growing up, I got taught there were some people who were gonna give me crap cause I was different. Sorry that you could not teach your kids that and that they do not know how to brush it off and turn a simple word into a derogatory one. I like how you only use what you have been exposed to. Try getting some more exposure so you can get a broader picture. How about you go by "other" on that checklist and go on about your day.

  • 0

    malapropos

    As an American and Japanese "double" (a term I find much more irritating than hafu), I find it almost disconcerting that the vast majority of those who find the term offensive are not even mixed themselves.

    I am a HAFU. It's the term I identify with and it's the term MOST half foreign, half Japanese identify with. It's only a derogatory term only if USED in a derogatory way. And even then, the bulk of half Japanese half, half foreign people are not offended by the term but by the FEELING behind it.

    Honestly, the terms existence gives us something to identify with. Something to cling to. Besides half + half still = whole. There is no implication that a second half doesn't exist, merely that the second half is ethnically different.

    In my experience, parents of us mixed individuals try to be OVERLY empathetic, totally ignoring how WE feel, what WE encounter, and how WE think. By trying to be sympathetic to something they'll never experience first hand they tend to attack what needs no attacking. My own parents are just as guilty.

  • 0

    Frungy

    Which half? Left, right, maybe top and bottom? It's an idiotic term, suggesting that someone can be split into pieces and you'll find little "made in Japan" stamps on some and "made in X" stamps on others. How moronic.

    Someone is all themselves, they aren't half anything.

    It's also important not to lose sight of the cultural dimension though. The Japanese constitution banned any sort of caste system, yet "half" seems a clear reference to "half men", one of the old castes.

  • 0

    fishy

    they use the word haafu in china and korea as well as japan. Im just wondering where the word first came from.. Japanese use the term a lot but its not just Japanese that use the word. I mentioned in my other post but I've been called haafu in the states by a Chinese person who doesn't speak any Japanese. He said "are you half?".. Me being haafu Japanese, I understood what he meant and I just said yes.. And he didn't mean it in a negative way, he just saw some "asian" in my face and simply wanted to know. Anyways.. I think it is not the word itself that gives some people negative feelings, it is when someone says it with negative thoughts/minds, that's when the word sounds negative. But then again, its not the word.. even if the same person with negative thoughs says someone is mixed or double, it probably would sound negative... As a haafu myself, I have zero problem with the term.

    Having said that, I also understand what limbojapan says about SEA, Filipinos and some other non white people often go through.. they don't get the same "envious" eyes from Japanese compared to those haafu white kids. But that doesn't have much to do with the word haafu..

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    IchyaWarFare: "Maybe I missed my mark on the profiling, but it sure sounded like these kids are always gonna be seen in a negative light."

    So what should they do just give in join the crowed and accept their fate?

    So they will always be discriminated against and accept it.

    By allowing, justifying and using this word you are helping keep that labeling and the discrimination that goes with it.

    What if the use of the word "burakumin" was still legal and still widely used do you think any progress would have been made in removing the stigma and discrimination towards them?

    The term was accurate that is and was what they were, so should they have just sat back and taken it."

  • 0

    IchyaWarFare

    limbo-so what you are saying is all of Japan thinks this way that is why these few need to stand up? You are generalizing. I think you do not mean all of Japan, and that is why I siad broaden your thoughts. Looks like you also agree with my point of profiling.

    Fishy said it best: Having said that, I also understand what limbojapan says about SEA, Filipinos and some other non white people often go through.. they don't get the same "envious" eyes from Japanese compared to those haafu white kids. But that doesn't have much to do with the word haafu..

    So please get back on subject of the word at hand.

    But I guess you cannot get back there is because the only way you take half is in the negative. Two halves make a whole, four quarters make and a whole and etc etc. The only person who take away from you or your kids being a whole is yourselves. If you let someone else do it, because they did not say it in a cute way...sad.

    malprops had something good to say too: In my experience, parents of us mixed individuals try to be OVERLY empathetic, totally ignoring how WE feel, what WE encounter, and how WE think. By trying to be sympathetic to something they'll never experience first hand they tend to attack what needs no attacking. My own parents are just as guilty. I think you should read this outload and listen to what he is saying, it might sink in and hit home.

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    IchyaWarFare;

    So if I understand you correctly then if I am using the word "Burakumin" to point someone from that group out but I in particular don't mean it in a negative way, then that would be acceptable along the same way as "hafu" just because I personally don't mean to be offensive.

    And I do get it but it seems that you either have intentionally tried avoiding my point or you just haven't gotten it.

    Simply put by allowing any form of labeling we perpetuate and acknowledge differences that other use as a reason to discriminate.

  • 0

    malapropos

    Appreciate the quoteage IchyaWarFare~.

    Also, let me say that when I lived in the US I realized half-ASIAN (not just half Japanese) all over the US tend to love and identify with the term "hapa", a Hawaiian term (short for hapa haole, half white) that used to be VERY derogatory. Sometimes even the negative terms gain positive feeling. Many of them say things like "Half Asian, 100% Hapa!"

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    As humans, we use labels and we cannot escape using them. Words are not just words because their are underlying meanings, connotations, history, culture and stereotypes... but they do help us to communicate. If I wnat to describe someone I might say: he is a man, he is Japanese, he is a photographer. These are all labels. They allow the listener to grasp an image of who I am talking about.

    However labels can also lead to assumptions, misunderstandings and discrimination especially if we use oversimplified or inappropriate labels. We have to be careful when we use labels so we don't offend someone but we can't become so cautious that we avoid the conversation at all. And we have to be aware of what those labels mean to us.

    And if the label seems offensive or derogatory to the group of people that it is describing, then that word should be dropped or changed. Discussion like this is a good thing because it makes us think about what lies under the label.

    Honestly, the word 'hafu' for some reason feels a bit negative to me and obviously to many others as well. Language can be changed. We have the power to change it...if we so desire.

  • 0

    XXXXX

    It's probably been said before (gosh, anyone reading that many posts?) but go ask any 'hafu' if you're not one because that's what matters, people seem to get caught up in defining what's right/wrong and totally forget the people being talked about. Redundant.

    They quickly noticed that when the term was used for their other mixed heritage (limboinjapan)

    It's a bit like Murphy's Law (bad analogy or not), but people will always point out and single out the other half that's different from the majority, no matter what country. I've experienced it, I've seen it, I know it. It's not always pleasant and one doesn't need to conform to it or accept it, but it's real, it's there.

  • 0

    malapropos

    but go ask any 'hafu' if you're not one because that's what matters, people seem to get caught up in defining what's right/wrong and totally forget the people being talked about.

    As a hafu, I mentioned that myself... Hopefully it didn't fall on deaf ears. I have yet to meet another hafu who genuinely dislikes the term. I've met some who PREFER "double" but never anyone who feels offended by the term.

  • 0

    XXXXX

    no matter what country you're in

  • 0

    XXXXX

    Your comment was not posted as it appears to be duplicated. Please edit and try again. ??

    no matter what country you're in

  • 0

    XXXXX

    sorry malapropos, too many posts to read.

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    Reality is very sad, You most feel Hafu is Insulting word....? "dont say hafu, We are Humans..." ohhh sorry......gomen naaa humannn ka...? Oh Japanise so far not known You are Human .

  • 0

    sf2k

    You mean like Japanese, being of Korean heritage? They won't even deal with that and accept it, so it's no wonder they can't deal with anything different from Japanese. Thus hafu reflects the ignorance in the face of a multicultural world of today.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/dec/28/japan.worlddispatch

  • 0

    jianadaren

    "hafu" is precisely what half of the Japanese words adopted from English are~ half-cooked

  • 0

    IchyaWarFare

    limbo-dude...the subject is about the word hafu right and if it is acceptable or not. You and your kids are not cool about it and most half's that I know and some people on this site are fine with it.

    Bringing up stuff that has nothing to do with the subject at hand does not help. But if you want to go there, we could go on about a bunch of derogatory terms that have nothing to do with the word hafu. So is derogatory labelization okay? No. Is hafu presented that way, maybe by some people, but again you would be generalizing if you did that. There is a lot more hate and problems in the world to have the word hafu be that big a problem.

  • 0

    KyokoSmile

    miyazawa3 at 06:50 AM JST - 14th July

    Reality is very sad, You most feel Hafu is Insulting word....? "dont say hafu, We are Humans..." ohhh sorry......gomen naaa humannn ka...? Oh Japanise so far not known You are Human .

    Is this a joke?!

  • 0

    elbudamexicano

    I agree with KyokoSmile, what a stupid joke. I do not like this word hafu, but I want my children who are hafu Mexican and hafu Japanese to be proud of their heritage, be proud of their background and to be happy with whom they are. I do not think most Japanese use this word is a derogatory way, they are just trying to make sense of this very complicated world, not everyone has black hair, black eyes, yellow skin etc..you start mixing, matching etc...and you will have many beautiful new children with many amazing lovely features. Both of the grandparents, Japanese and Mexican are so happy with my children and to them they are not hafu nothing just 100% cute, adorable, lovely grand kids!

  • 0

    sf2k

    why is it so important now? Years ago no one used 'hafu' in this way, until it became a media thing only recently. And once a media thing, the uselessness and brainlessness continues. It has no meaning and is only a distraction from getting to know someone.

    How you are is more important than what label someone else can give you. Ask any Japanese who has lived outside of Japan. Being Japanese is secondary to who you present yourself to be, and can be too much of a shock for some.

    That Japan is so hung up on race even when the term Japanese is moving away from it seems to make this a last cry from a lost horizon. When you can be accepted for being Japanese because you live and are a citizen but don't look Japanese comes slowly and has been going on for decades. It has a ways to go yet, but this term is a social indication of race holding back Japan from accepting people.

  • 0

    malapropos

    All I know is I prefer "hafu" to old people angrily telling me at age 3 I have dirty blood... or to my brother constantly getting in fights in shogakkou cause his classmates told him to go back to his own country.

    If the worst half Japanese half Foreign have to deal with these days is being referred to as a "hafu", consider them lucky. Christ.

  • 0

    cleo

    if the label seems offensive or derogatory to the group of people that it is describing, then that word should be dropped or changed

    Isn't part of the problem the tendency for some people to object to being seen as a member of a 'group', rather than an individual? To some extent I can understand that, but it can go too far. Some people are too touchy and see slights where there are none. At this rate words like blonde, brunette, red-head, mousy, fair, olive-skinned, blue-eyed, sloe-eyed, high-cheeked, tall, small, petite, plump, thin, freckled, short-sighted will all be frowned upon because they describe skin-deep traits and don't relate to the inner person. Granted, any physical characteristic has the potential to be used as an insult (You can say a person is short-sighted and wears glasses, or you can call him specky four-eyes), but that doesn't automatically mean that any and every reference to a person's physical appearance (which is what haafu is mainly about) is an insult.

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    something is against to the reason When it is apperently half in anyway How come you say its not a Half? then what is it ? Full ...or 1/4th ?

    Teach your kids that they are Half Japanese . ( If one parent Japanese) And will call them Hafu ,Kawai name. not to get mad with it. Let your kid be enjoy with it. dont spoil them ....

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    Cleo - except that ha-fu is based on race and racism is frowned upon by most of today's societies.

    Miyazawa - What? I will teach my kids that they are Japanese and they have the passport to prove it.

  • 0

    Cheebascience

    So if you are half japanese and whatever-else, what term would satisfy you? You are never going to be called Japanese as long as you don't look Japanese. Even if the Japanese change the term half to something else, it all results in the same thing. You will ALWAYS BE LABELED IN JAPAN! Accept the fact and move on...... Just be happy you weren't brought up post-war to early 90's as a half in Japan. Racism still exists in Japan but it's not as bad as it was before. I got beat up in elementary in the 80s for being half but I fought back and no one messed with me. Everyone called me gaijin, half or whatever, some told me to go back to my country, which was Japan. It didn't make sense to me at then. The strong will survive. The weak will complain. Teach the kids to learn how to fight back. The worst for being Half in Japan is during elementary school. The rest was fine with me.

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    You will ALWAYS BE LABELED IN JAPAN!

    I realize that but it still doesn't make it right. Personally I stop using certain words if some people find them offensive. It really isn't that difficult, time-consuming or troublesome. I just think before I speak.

  • 0

    cleo

    You are never going to be called Japanese as long as you don't look Japanese.

    My son doesn't look Japanese, and apart from it once being suggested that he was in the wrong English class at uni (the person assumed from his looks that he should be in the exchange student class next door) he's never been called anything but Japanese.

    ha-fu is based on race and racism is frowned upon by most of today's societies.

    Lots of things are 'based on race', but that doesn't mean it's racism or that it's something to be frowned on. If someone mentions that I have blonde hair and blue eyes (which I have on account of my race), they're not being racist, they're simply stating the bloomin' obvious.

  • 0

    sammuraisteve

    Lots of things are 'based on race', but that doesn't mean it's racism or that it's something to be frowned on. If someone mentions that I have blonde hair and blue eyes (which I have on account of my race), they're not being racist, they're simply stating the bloomin' obvious.

    DUH!

  • -2

    Roger Abrego

    The truth is no one is half of anything. But people need a term to define who have more than one heritage... so I think they should define themselves and not let the prejudice terms name them. I think you should address yourself as Double, not half. Half sounds lacking something and the truth is you have double "blood". So you are double.

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