Theorizing People of Mixed Race in the Pacific and the Atlantic

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Science on 2022-03-21 02:04Z by Steven

Theorizing People of Mixed Race in the Pacific and the Atlantic

Social Sciences
Volume 11, Issue 3 (Published 2022-03-14)
14 pages
DOI: 10.3390/socsci11030124

Yasuko Takezawa, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology
Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University, Kyoto

Stephen Small, Professor
Department of African Diaspora Studies
University of California, Berkeley

The most extensive theoretic and empirical studies of people of mixed racial descent extant today have addressed nations across the Atlantic. This article reveals how this literature on people of mixed racial descent is limited in its claims to represent a “global model”. In contrast, we argue that by juxtaposing institutional factors in the Atlantic region and Japan we can expand our understanding of people of mixed racial descent across a far wider range of social and political terrains. A consideration of Japan uncovers a fascinating combination of factors impactful in the emergence of populations of mixed origins in the Pacific region more generally. By identifying this range of variables, we believe this analysis can be instructive for scholars of race focusing on the Atlantic and can contribute to a more encompassing approach for theorizing people of mixed racial descent.

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New Film “Whole” Looks at Daily Struggles of Mixed-Race Japanese

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Interviews, Media Archive on 2021-11-26 20:38Z by Steven

New Film “Whole” Looks at Daily Struggles of Mixed-Race Japanese Your Doorway to Japan

Matsumoto Takuya

As the population of mixed-race Japanese—popularly called hāfu—grows, entertainers and athletes with bicultural backgrounds are increasingly prominent. However, most of those considered hāfu in Japan live normal, private lives, struggling daily with curiosity, prejudice, and their own identity conflicts. Whole, a new short film, takes up the issues facing just such people through the story of two young men. We spoke with the director, writer, and leading actor about the film…

Read the entire interview here.

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Speak, Okinawa

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Religion, United States, Women on 2021-11-13 01:09Z by Steven

Speak, Okinawa

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Volume 19, Issue 8, Number 4 (2021-04-15)
Article ID: 5590

Elizabeth Miki Brina

Wedding of Arthur and Kyoko Brina, Elizabeth’s parents, in Okinawa, 1974

Speak, Okinawa is a book I needed to write for a long time, long before I knew I needed to write it. The book is essentially about healing the relationship between me and my mother, me and my heritage. Both felt very strange and foreign to me, distant from me, for most of my life.

My mother was born and raised in Okinawa. She was born in 1948, three years after the Battle of Okinawa, which destroyed and devastated the entire island, killing one third of the population and leaving those who survived to wander and scavenge amidst the ash and wreckage. My mother was born into poverty and chaos and grief. As she grew up, she witnessed the militarization of the island, the countless crimes that were committed, the injustice. She became a waitress at a nightclub where soldiers, marines, and sailors came from nearby bases to drink, flirt, and forget about the war. She met and married my father, who was a U.S. soldier stationed on the island after fighting in Vietnam.

I had not learned this history, my mother’s history, my history, until I was thirty-four years old.

Perhaps the most direct impetus for writing my book was attending my mother’s baptism. She had recently joined the Rochester Japanese Christian Congregation. The forty or so members were all Japanese, almost all women, almost all middle-aged or older, almost all married to white American men who had served in the military. Seeing all these women together was a revelation. That was when I realized that my family was not utterly unique, not an isolated incident. I began asking questions. I began searching for answers. I wanted to capture this revelation, but in order to render the full impact I had to explain the history that brought these women together, brought my mother and father together. I had to explain my experience of growing up as the only child of two people from such vastly different cultural backgrounds.

Speak, Okinawa is my attempt to explain myself. Not just my own shame and internalized racism, but the long-standing systems and imperialistic origins that caused me to reject my mother and deny my heritage. Speak, Okinawa is my attempt at reconciliation…

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Eurasians and Racial Capital in a “Race War”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive on 2021-10-25 14:38Z by Steven

Eurasians and Racial Capital in a “Race War”

Asia Pacific Perspectives: A Publication of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies
Volume 14, Number 2 (Spring 2017)
pages 4-19

W. Puck Brecher, Ph.D., Professor of History
Washington State University

The ubiquity of racist propaganda in Japan and the U.S. during the Pacific War and the extraordinary cruelty of the fighting have fostered the perception that Japanese and Americans harbored a deep racial hatred for each other. Indeed, historical research convincingly interprets the Pacific War as a “race war” within the contexts of military engagement and state rhetoric. We know little, however, about how resident Westerners lived and interacted with Japanese during the war and whether they became victims of racial hatred. This article explores the impacts of state ideology on Japanese citizens’ racial attitudes by examining the treatment and experiences of mixed-race individuals, and Eurasians particularly, stranded in Japan during the war. In doing so, it contextualizes and corrects harmful allegations of racism among civilian Japanese.

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Beyond being either-or: identification of multiracial and multiethnic Japanese

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2021-10-11 21:50Z by Steven

Beyond being either-or: identification of multiracial and multiethnic Japanese

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume 47, 2021 – Issue 4: Special Issue: Re-constructing Ways of Belonging: Cross-country Experiences of Multiethnic and Multiracial People
pages 802-820
DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1654155

Sayaka Osanami Törngren
Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare
Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden

Yuna Satob
Graduate School of Human Relations
Keio University, Tokyo, Japan

Although the number of multiracial and multiethnic Japanese who are socially recognised and identified as haafu (mixed) has increased due to a rise in intermarriages, the identities and experiences of mixed persons in Japan are seldom critically analysed. Based on interviews with 29 multiracial and multiethnic individuals residing in Japan, this article explores not only how multiracial and multiethnic Japanese identify themselves but also how they feel they are identified by others in society. The analysis shows that multiracial and multiethnic persons self-identify in a way that goes beyond either-or categories and the binary notions of Japanese/foreigner. It also reveals how both multiracial and multiethnic persons face a gap between self-identity and ascribed identity and that they negotiate this gap in various ways. However, the gap and the negotiation process that multiracial persons face differ to those of multiethnic persons. Multiracial persons whose mixedness is phenotypically visible experience more constraints in their ethnic options and have more difficulty in passing as Japanese, whereas multiethnic persons whose mixedness is invisible can pass as Japanese more easily but face constraints in their ethnic option to be identified as mixed and in claiming their multiethnic background.

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Bilal Kawazoe’s film ‘Whole’ tackles the experience of being mixed race in Japan

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive on 2021-10-03 01:29Z by Steven

Bilal Kawazoe’s film ‘Whole’ tackles the experience of being mixed race in Japan

The Japan Times

Mark Schilling, Film Critic

In Bilal Kawazoe’sWhole,’ Usman Kawazoe (left) and Kai Sandy (right) play two biracial men who bond over coming to terms with their identity while living in Japan.

In Japanese, the word “hāfu” — a colloquial term for people who are half-Japanese — is a label that some accept, but others reject, preferring such terms as “daburu” (double) or “mikkusu” (mix).

So seeing the title of Bilal Kawazoe’s new film “Whole,” which tells the story of two biracial men of radically different backgrounds in Kobe who become friends, my first thought was that Kawazoe, who is of Japanese and Pakistani parentage, had come up with yet another alternative to the hāfu label.

Not so, as he explains in a video call. The title instead refers to the characters’ quests to become “whole” in terms of their identity. Kawazoe says his brother, Usman, came to him with the idea of “making a film based on the identity crises and the experiences of mixed people in Japan.”

“We did a lot of research and realized there wasn’t really a narrative film (on that theme),” he continues. Instead, they found films that were “quite stereotypical or just one-sided.”

“So we kind of felt this sense of responsibility to make an honest film on this whole mixed-race experience,” he says…

Read the entire review here.

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Elizabeth Miki Brina: “The historical and the personal are intertwined.”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2021-07-17 00:10Z by Steven

Elizabeth Miki Brina: “The historical and the personal are intertwined.”


Elizabeth Lothian, Digital Director

Photo credit: Thad Lee

The author of Speak, Okinawa talks about learning her family history, writing from guilt, and questioning her father’s values.

Elizabeth Miki Brina’s debut memoir Speak, Okinawa is a nuanced investigation of self, lineage, and inheritance. Born in the 1980s to an Okinawan mother and a white, American, ex-military father, Brina struggled with the duality of her identity. She connected more with her father—the dominant force in her family triad—often in an attempt to fit in with the 99 percent white suburb in which she grew up, and this made her feel distant from her already isolated mother.

It is only years later, after moving out of her parents’ enveloping orbit, that Brina comes to question why she feels so disconnected from her mother and Okinawan ancestry. She then sets out to explore her heritage—half that of the colonized and half that of the colonizer. We take this journey with her as she recounts the history of Okinawa. These chapters, voiced brilliantly in the first person plural “we,” tells the reader of Okinawa’s conquest by China and Japan, the horrors it faced in World War II—nearly a third of its population was killed in one battle alone—and the subsequent US military occupation of the island, which continues to this day.

As Brina learns the history of her maternal lineage, she comes to better understand not just her mother but herself. She is then forced to reckon with the role her father played in dictating her worldview and to try and unknot how America, as both a political entity and a cluster of ideals, has marginalized other ways of being…

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A Japanese School Edited Her Yearbook Photo. She Says It Was Racist.

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Media Archive on 2021-07-03 03:35Z by Steven

A Japanese School Edited Her Yearbook Photo. She Says It Was Racist.

VICE World News

Hanako Montgomery, Reporter


Ai Nishida had never been punished for her brown hair before.

Like many other schools in Japan, her middle school required all students to have black hair. But having told her teachers of her mixed heritage, she was exempt from this rule. Besides, she thought, she looked the part of the mixed-Japanese and white girl, so it was unlikely faculty would forget her lighter hair color was natural.

But when she received her middle school yearbook just days after graduating, she was shocked to see her picture had been edited. Nishida’s hair was painted black, a thick slab coated over her locks. For the first time, she felt someone was telling her she looked wrong. She’s called the school’s actions “racist.”…

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Shadow Child

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States, Women on 2020-07-06 14:53Z by Steven

Shadow Child

Grand Central Publishing
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781538711453
eBook ISBN-13: 9781538711446

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

For fans of Tayari Jones and Ruth Ozeki, from National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Rizzuto comes a haunting and suspenseful literary tale set in 1970s New York City and World War II-era Japan, about three strong women, the dangerous ties of family and identity, and the long shadow our histories can cast.

Twin sisters Hana and Kei grew up in a tiny Hawaiian town in the 1950s and 1960s, so close they shared the same nickname. Raised in dreamlike isolation by their loving but unstable mother, they were fatherless, mixed-race, and utterly inseparable, devoted to one another. But when their cherished threesome with Mama is broken, and then further shattered by a violent, nearly fatal betrayal that neither young woman can forgive, it seems their bond may be severed forever–until, six years later, Kei arrives on Hana’s lonely Manhattan doorstep with a secret that will change everything.

Told in interwoven narratives that glide seamlessly between the gritty streets of New York, the lush and dangerous landscape of Hawaii, and the horrors of the Japanese internment camps and the bombing of Hiroshima, Shadow Child is set against an epic sweep of history. Volcanos, tsunamis, abandonment, racism, and war form the urgent, unforgettable backdrop of this intimate, evocative, and deeply moving story of motherhood, sisterhood, and second chances.

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The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Europe, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Oceania, Social Science, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States on 2020-01-31 02:28Z by Steven

The Palgrave International Handbook of Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification

Palgrave Macmillan
817 pages
16 b/w illustrations, 17 illustrations in colour
Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-22873-6
eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-22874-3
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-22874-3

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and Asian Journal of Social Science

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader in Population Health
University of Kent, United Kingdom


  • Shows how classification and collection processes around mixedness differ between countries and how measurement has been changing over time
  • Provides a window into the radical global changes in the trend towards multiple racial/ethnic self-identification that has been a feature of the recent past
  • The first and only handbook to directly address the classification of mixed race/ethnicity on a global scale
  • Pays specific attention to both the standard classifications and the range of uses these are put to – including social surveys and administrative data – rather than just census forms and data

This handbook provides a global study of the classification of mixed race and ethnicity at the state level, bringing together a diverse range of country case studies from around the world.

The classification of race and ethnicity by the state is a common way to organize and make sense of populations in many countries, from the national census and birth and death records, to identity cards and household surveys. As populations have grown, diversified, and become increasingly transnational and mobile, single and mutually exclusive categories struggle to adequately capture the complexity of identities and heritages in multicultural societies. State motivations for classification vary widely, and have shifted over time, ranging from subjugation and exclusion to remediation and addressing inequalities. The chapters in this handbook illustrate how differing histories and contemporary realities have led states to count and classify mixedness in different ways, for different reasons.

This collection will serve as a key reference point on the international classification of mixed race and ethnicity for students and scholars across sociology, ethnic and racial studies, and public policy, as well as policy makers and practitioners.

Table of Contents

  • Front Matter
  • Introduction: Measuring Mixedness Around the World / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
  • Race and Ethnicity Classification in British Colonial and Early Commonwealth Censuses / Anthony J. Christopher
  • The Americas
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: North and South America / Peter J. Aspinall, Zarine L. Rocha
    • The Canadian Census and Mixed Race: Tracking Mixed Race Through Ancestry, Visible Minority Status, and Métis Population Groups in Canada / Danielle Kwan-Lafond, Shannon Winterstein
    • Methods of Measuring Multiracial Americans / Melissa R. Herman
    • Mixed Race in Brazil: Classification, Quantification, and Identification / G. Reginald Daniel, Rafael J. Hernández
    • Mexico: Creating Mixed Ethnicity Citizens for the Mestizo Nation / Pablo Mateos
    • Boundless Heterogeneity: ‘Callaloo’ Complexity and the Measurement of Mixedness in Trinidad and Tobago / Sue Ann Barratt
    • Mixed race in Argentina: Concealing Mixture in the ‘White’ Nation / Lea Natalia Geler, Mariela Eva Rodríguez
    • Colombia: The Meaning and Measuring of Mixedness / Peter Wade
  • Europe and the UK
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: Europe and the United Kingdom / Peter J. Aspinall, Zarine L. Rocha
    • The Path to Official Recognition of ‘Mixedness’ in the United Kingdom / Peter J. Aspinall
    • Measuring Mixedness in Ireland: Constructing Sameness and Difference / Elaine Moriarty
    • The Identification of Mixed People in France: National Myth and Recognition of Family Migration Paths / Anne Unterreiner
    • Controversial Approaches to Measuring Mixed-Race in Belgium: The (In)Visibility of the Mixed-Race Population / Laura Odasso
    • The Weight of German History: Racial Blindness and Identification of People with a Migration Background / Anne Unterreiner
    • Mixed, Merged, and Split Ethnic Identities in the Russian Federation / Sergei V. Sokolovskiy
    • Mixedness as a Non-Existent Category in Slovenia / Mateja Sedmak
    • Mixed Identities in Italy: A Country in Denial / Angelica Pesarini, Guido Tintori
    • (Not) Measuring Mixedness in the Netherlands / Guno Jones, Betty de Hart
    • Mixed Race and Ethnicity in Sweden: A Sociological Analysis / Ioanna Blasko, Nikolay Zakharov
  • Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucasus
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucasus / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
    • The Classification of South Africa’s Mixed-Heritage Peoples 1910–2011: A Century of Conflation, Contradiction, Containment, and Contention / George T. H. Ellison, Thea de Wet
    • The Immeasurability of Racial and Mixed Identity in Mauritius / Rosabelle Boswell
    • Neither/Nor: The Complex Attachments of Zimbabwe’s Coloureds / Kelly M. Nims
    • Measuring Mixedness in Zambia: Creating and Erasing Coloureds in Zambia’s Colonial and Post-colonial Census, 1921 to 2010 / Juliette Milner-Thornton
    • Racial and Ethnic Mobilization and Classification in Kenya / Babere Kerata Chacha, Wanjiku Chiuri, Kenneth O. Nyangena
    • Making the Invisible Visible: Experiences of Mixedness for Binational People in Morocco / Gwendolyn Gilliéron
    • Measuring Mixedness: A Case Study of the Kyrgyz Republic / Asel Myrzabekova
  • Asia and the Pacific
    • Front Matter
    • Introduction: The Asia Pacific Region / Zarine L. Rocha, Peter J. Aspinall
    • Where You Feel You Belong: Classifying Ethnicity and Mixedness in New Zealand / Robert Didham, Zarine L. Rocha
    • Measuring Mixedness in Australia / Farida Fozdar, Catriona Stevens
    • Measuring Race, Mixed Race, and Multiracialism in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha, Brenda S. A. Yeoh
    • Multiracial in Malaysia: Categories, Classification, and Campur in Contemporary Everyday Life / Geetha Reddy, Hema Preya Selvanathan
    • Anglo-Indians in Colonial India: Historical Demography, Categorization, and Identity / Uther Charlton-Stevens
    • Mixed Racial and Ethnic Classification in the Philippines / Megumi HaraJocelyn O. Celero
    • Vaevaeina o le toloa (Counting the Toloa): Counting Mixed Ethnicity in the Pacific, 1975–2014 / Patrick Broman, Polly Atatoa Carr, Byron Malaela Sotiata Seiuli
    • Measuring Mixed Race: ‘We the Half-Castes of Papua and New Guinea’ / Kirsten McGavin
    • Measuring Mixedness in China: A Study in Four Parts / Cathryn H. Clayton
    • Belonging Across Religion, Race, and Nation in Burma-Myanmar / Chie Ikeya
    • Recognition of Multiracial and Multiethnic Japanese: Historical Trends, Classification, and Ways Forward / Sayaka Osanami Törngren, Hyoue Okamura
  • Back Matter
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