What is Hāfu?
Hāfu/haafu is the commonly used Japanese word to refer to somebody who is biracial. The label emerged in the 1970s and comes from the English word ‘half’, referring to the half foreign and half Japanese-ness. Hāfu is the widely accepted self-definition for half Japanese people and is frequently used in introductions.
What does it mean to be hāfu, how do hāfu relate to Japan or the other country and how does being hāfu define their identity? Hāfu2Hāfu is a personal investigatory project by Tetsuro Miyazaki, a 38 year old half Japanse / half Belgian photographer living in Amsterdam. He wanted to know what defined the identity of hāfu, what they have in common and what separates them from each other? His ultimate question was another question: what would they want to ask each other.
Hāfu2Hāfu is a series of photographic portraits and interviews of half Japanese. At the end of each interview and before the photo is taken, every hāfu has the opportunity to ask one question to the viewer (other hāfu, their families, friends).
The portrayed hāfu is asked to think of this question whilst being photographed. Black and white portraits in combination with questions give a unique look into the hearts of half Japanese people and raise questions about advantages, privileges, opportunities, difficulties, belonging and wanting to belong to two different societies.
More hāfu – I will continue to photograph and interview many more hāfu. Ideally, I would include hāfu with as many different ‘other’ halves from all over the world as possible. They would provide valuable insights in how half Japanese-ness is being experienced differently in different parts of the world, both inside and outside of Japan.
Publish or expose – I hope this project results in more mutual understanding amongst hāfu, their parents and their (non) Japanese friends or colleagues. I would like to exhibit Hāfu2Hāfu, give presentations and debate about the outcomes of the interviews. Publishing these photos and questions would equally help me to get these stories told.
Broadening – I’d like to meet hāfu from other countries. Also, we could reverse the idea and photograph hāfu from various countries in one particular Japanese city, region or prefecture.
I am looking for all kinds of partnerships with individuals, governmental and non governmental institutions or companies that would benefit from having these stories shared and documented for the future.
Possible forms of partnerships include financial support, (photography) hardware, travel allowance, exposure and access to your network within the Japanese intercultural institutions.
In a nutshel:
|Lived in||the Netherlands|
|Visited Japan||15 - 20 x|
|Lived in Japan||2 years|
|Reading and Writing||⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪|
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