The Other Hafu of Japan

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science, United States, Women on 2011-01-20 22:34Z by Steven

The Other Hafu of Japan

Rafu Shimpo: Los Angeles Japanses Daily News

Brett Fujioka, Rafu Intern

A new documentary examines the lives of racially mixed individuals as they explore their own identities.

Is a ship the same if you take it apart piece by piece and replace its frame? No simple answer exists, as anyone who has tackled this philosophical Rubik’s cube knows.

The ethno-national equivalent to this riddle grows exceedingly more complicated with the swelling number of international unions each year. Statistics in 2004 chart that 1 in 15 marriages in Japan were international and that 1 in 30 children born there possesses a parent of non-Japanese descent. Japan’s ethnic constituency is rapidly changing and its people may need to rethink what it means to be Japanese in a country where blood and national identity are considered one and the same.

The same applies for the hafu (mixed Japanese) community. The lives for each individual half-Japanese vary from person to person and the filmmakers for the upcoming documentary, “Hafu,” and their subjects best represent this.

“Hafu” is the tentative title for an upcoming documentary in Japan following the lives of several half-Japanese individuals as they explore their identities.

Both Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi spent most of their lives away from Japan. Takagi is half Spanish and stayed in Madrid, Sydney, Washington D.C., and Ottowa due to her diplomat father’s itinerant career. She eventually completed her higher education at the Francisco de Vitoria, Complutense and Waseda Universities before finally returning to Japan.

Nishikura, likewise, lived her childhood spread throughout the world. She stayed in Beijing, Manila, Honolulu, DC, Berlin, London, and Los Angeles and graduated from New York University.

“Lara and I have unusual stories and come from international backgrounds,” said Nishikura in an interview with the Rafu. “I don’t know if that’s representative of a lot of the mixed Japanese community.”

There’s a reason why they’re so hesitant to pinpoint a grand narrative for the hafu experience. There is no all-encompassing hafu story and the eclectic subjects of the documentary are indicative of this…

Read the entire article here.

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The whole story on being ‘hafu’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Videos on 2010-12-03 02:23Z by Steven

The whole story on being ‘hafu’

CNN International

Daniel Krieger

The movie ‘Hafu’ explores the limbo world of people who are half-Japanese and half something else, as they try to find their place in society

What does it mean to be half-Japanese in 21st-century Japan?

This is what filmmakers Megumi Nishikura and Lara Takagi set out to explore in their documentary film, “Hafu,” of which they showed a preview screening last month at the Kansai Franco-Japanese Institute in Kyoto.

The film, which is not yet completed, is an offshoot of the Hafu Project, which was set up in London two years ago by sociologist Marcia Yume Lise and photographer Natalie Maya Willer, both half-Japanese.

The project profiles hafus with photos and interviews that shed light on the experience of living between two cultures.

“We wanted to create an opportunity to discuss contemporary Japan through the lens of half Japanese,” says Lise…

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HAFU: a film about the experiences of mixed-race people living in Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Live Events, New Media, Social Science, Videos on 2010-09-27 04:58Z by Steven

HAFU: a film about the experiences of mixed-race people living in Japan

Hafu Film Sneak Preview in Kyoto
Institut Franco-Japonais du Kansai, Kyoto, Japan
Saturday, 2010-10-23. 19:30 – 22:00 (Local Time)


Lara Perez Takagi
Megumi Nishikura

David Yano (29). David was born in a small village in Ghana, to a Ghanaian mother and a Japanese father. His father, an architect, was in Ghana to build the Noguchi Hideo Memorial when he met David’s mother. After spending 6 years in Ghana, they moved to Tokyo. However due to difficulty of adjusting to their new life in Japan, his parents filed for divorce when he was 10. The next 8 years were spent in an orphanage school in Japan with his two brothers. There he discovered his greatest passion: music and performance. He started modeling when he was a university student and now works as a multitalented TV presenter. Due to his dark complexion, David is regarded by default as a gaijin (foreigner) when people meet him for the first time. However, having spent much of his life in Japan, he feels he acts and identifies as Japanese more than anything else. Despite this claim David, has returned to Ghana once a year since the age of 20. Seeing the dramatic difference between the two countries, David felt the call to use his talents to benefit the people of Ghana. He has set an ambitious goal of raising $30,000 over the course of 8 months in order to build kindergarten back in Ghana. Audiences will watch him as he organizes various fundraisers and events has he struggles to attain his goal.

With an ever increasing movement of people between places in this transnational age, there is a mounting number of mixed-race people in Japan, some visible others not. “Hafu” is the unfolding journey of discovery into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of five “hafus”—the Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese—and by virtue of the fact that living in Japan, they are forced to explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself as the mono-ethnic nation. For some of these hafus Japan is the only home they know, for some living in Japan is an entirely new experience, and others are caught somewhere between two different worlds.

For more information, click here.

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