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Monday, June 11, 2018

What Does It Mean To Be Hafu In Japan

I'm with my friend, Matthew, who Tweeted recently that he hates the term "hafu".

It's a Japanese term created by the Japanese to describe kids who have two parents: one Japanese, and one something else.

The kids are hafu-Japanese.

It's that sucky katakana Japanese language way of saying half.

It's meant as a derogatory term to put down anyone whom they feel isn't completely Japanese... they can thus only be hafu Japanese.

It's part of the Japanese kata to be Japanese... and anything less than 100 per cent kata following - including happening to be born with one parent a non-Japanese, is enough to make them not Japanese.

It's one of those incredibly ridiculous thing about Japan that I despise.

It's worse than discussing a foreigner doing their utmost to learn all the kata about Japan: how to speak; how to eat; how to dress; how to think; how to be Japanese... and then claiming they aren't Japanese even when they become Japanese citizens (or try to become Japanese citizens)... it's why so few immigrants to Japan even bother anymore.

What's the point? No matter what you do, in the eyes of the Japanese, you are not Japanese.

But with regards to the humiliating term "hafu" (humiliating in my opinion)... we have a person born in Japan... and even should that person live their entire life in Japan, speak, read, eat, and think like a Japanese, they are punished because their parents dared to love one another and create a child that is not 100 percent Japanese.

There are indeed many good kata for the Japanese to follow that will ensure that the Japanese identity continues to exist.

But ignoring the so-called hafu as NOT being Japanese enough is just plain ugly.

Here... take a look at this short CNN video that was attached to Matthew's tweet:

Andrew Joseph

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