David Yano | 矢野 デイビット

“Do you self-identify as hāfu or is it a label used for the convenience of others?”

ハーフは自分のアイデンティティですか、それとも周囲の便宜のためのレッテルに過ぎないでしょうか。

Please share your answer to David’s question in the comment area below.


About David:

FatherJapanese
MotherGhanaian
Age35
Born inGhana
Lived inGhana - Philipines - Japan
Speaks Japanese⚫⚫⚫⚫⚫
Reading and Writing⚫⚫⚫⚫⚫
SpeaksJapanese - English - Twi (Ghanese)

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9 comments
  • Melissa says:

    I find it interesting that you phrased your question they way you did, David. It definitely means different things to different people.

    I do not identify with the word “Hafu” personally. I do believe it has evolved out of convenience, but doesn’t originate from the point of view for the people they are describing. As many others have pointed out, many people who are referred to as “hafu” are multiracial and multicultural to begin with.

    In English, I refer to my ethnicities simply by name (to date, I have 5). Same with my nationality. I use “multiracial” to refer to my race. “Japanese American” is my shorthand/”convenient” answer.

    I don’t feel the need to mention percentages, fractions, etc., any more than most people are required to know my height, weight, or blood type. So it goes without saying that I don’t use the words “half”, “quarter”, etc. To me it’s just a statistic, not info that will necessarily give you a cultural context for understanding someone.

    The closest term in Japanese that I have felt helps define this experience is “Nikkei” or “Nikkeijin”, because it focuses on our common thread with Japan and of belonging to Japanese culture and people through the Japanese language. I feel the term “hafu” does the opposite of that.

  • Amanda says:

    I wish the general public would not use the term label. We are a society of many things, many hopes and dreams, many wants and needs but the term “label” to me is a tag attached on a garment to describe what it is and its general care. A person no matter what ethnic background is more complex than that. I never needed a label to describe me or how to care for me.
    I genetically am a mixed culture but was raised American. I know few words in my mothers native language and mostly as children we picked up fragments so I would use English as my primary language to communicate.
    I am half Japanese, half Caucasian and I have never had an issue with identifying as so on a general level. I am Hafu.. never a label for anyone’s sake.. ever..

  • I am proud to be a hafu! I do not think it is as controversiala term as konketsuji. My father is from Tokyo and my mother is German/Scottish/Welsh, and he raised us to be proud of how we look and who we are. I also grew up in America where it is incredibly diverse, as opposed to the more homogenous society of Japan, so being mixed is more common and not as much a reason to be bullied. It’s nice to have your own ethnic grouping.

  • Rumi says:

    I am half Japanese and half Nicaraguan, grew up in Japan and am currently living in the US. I identify with and use the word “half” to describe myself because it acknowledges both of my cultures. I don’t see it as a label. If I were one-fourth this and one-fourth that, I might have a problem with it and say no, I’m mixed race. I am proud of my two cultures.

  • Mariko Oyama says:

    People can call me whatever they want but I refer to myself as “half-Japanese”. I feel this term might cause some confusion or misrepresentation since my dad is Japanese American, not Japanese but I feel it’s the easiest and quickest response to explain why I look the way I do.

  • Sheri says:

    A label, yes. But, I have never thought of it as “bad” or “ugly”. Most of my life, I always checked the boxes on ethnicity as “white”. Well, newsflash – my skin is white, but, I am not just white. I am a proud Hafu! I now mark “other” and indicate in the space that I am Japanese/caucasian.
    Hafu gives me an identity that I did not have as a child. It gives me a place to fit in.

  • Bobby D says:

    ハーフ here, mang! Any word/term/moniker can be said with respect or disdain, we can usually tell which. Haafu in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a word to describe those of us with one Jpnse parent and one who isn’t. We said in English growing up in the U.S., “I’m half-Japanese” to people we’d meet all the time. Haafu is the direct translation of half-Japanese, is it not?

    Double is not going to ever take off, there’s too much baggage plus trying to educate all the Jpnse on what that means is a challenge that I will not be a part of. 😀

  • Julia Yuka McDaniel says:

    I identify as “hafu” or mixed-race. For me, this identity resonates much more than either of my separate countries of origin. I prefer mixed-race though, because “Hafu” brings to mind a specific brand of half-Japanese mix {specifically Light-skinned (usually Caucasian mix), conventionally
    beautiful, celebrities on Japanese TV and models} which I am less-comfortable identifying with.
    In Japanese I just go by ハーフ (Japanese has limited diversity of vocabulary to describe non-Japanese identities)

  • Howz it david my name is Scott tuhoro yeah I say I’m hafu cause I’m my country new Zealand I look japanese but I sound like a new Zealander it makes me mad sometime’s but oh well what can u do bro lol

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