Tosao van Coevorden

“Why not refer to yourself as daburu or ‘double’
instead of hāfu, which comes from ‘half’?”

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


About Tosao:

FatherDutch
MotherJapanese
Born inthe Netherlands
Lived inthe Netherlands
Age31
Visited Japan15 - 20 x
Lived in Japan-
Speaks Japanese⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
Reading and Writing⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪

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40 comments
  • Osamu says:

    It seems that many commenters are missing the point that I think Tosao is trying to make.

    Instead of a ‘dilution’ of oneself (from ‘whole’ to ‘half’), why can we not consider our mixed-race heritage as an opportunity to take in the best parts of two cultures (‘whole’ to ‘double’). I love that mindset. Yes, Happas face obstacles (person without a country, etc.), but why not construe it as a small price to pay for the opportunity to broaden our minds?

    I am a remarkably half-looking 1/8 British, remainder Japanese. If I were to apply the same logic, would that make me 8x (octuple)?

  • Facebook User says:

    I hadn’t heard the term, “hafu/haafu” til about 8-10 years ago. I had only heard, “hapa”, which I guess is a Hawaiian term for someone of mixed heritage. When I first typed, “hapa” into my computer many years back, the first thing that came up was this Hawaiian definition, then a website called , “Halvsie.com”. I ended up joining in with the Halvsie.com folks, where the term “hafu/haafu” was used. I honestly hadn’t heard of “daburu” til very recently. So I guess I identify with either halvsie or hafu/haafu. Maybe in years to come, “daburu” will be the norm?

  • Bennet Pizzolani says:

    You look dabaru Japanese. I can’t see any part of you that is white.

  • Ken says:

    I go along with “hafu”, it could give a negative impression but it really depends on how someone says it, in what situation, and tone of voice as well. I used to like the term “double”, but that’s like reaction to the term “hafu”, and I see it as an outcome of superiority complex. Now I consider myself “2 over 2”, different but same, same but different. Why not!?
    These are just terms and I don’t see much importance in it.

  • Star says:

    I have always used the term ‘half’ because that is what was always used, and I grew up with.
    Only in recent years I’ve heard of ‘double’. A sweet old Japanese man insisted that I’m not ‘half’ a person, but I am both!
    It was really moving for me to hear that this man never wanted me to lessen myself, and was fighting that I never call myself ‘half’.

    but unfortunately I still find myself saying ‘half’ because ‘double’ is just not known by people. I feel maybe embarrassed to explain it in fear that I’m trying to sound superior.

  • Facebook User says:

    I’ve always use “half” when speaking to Americans and “hafu” when i speak to Japanese. Its just the term i used growing up. I am proud of both heritages, am very open about my experiences and dont care what “full” people from either culture think of it. I think thats what it comes down to…how an individual feels about their ethnicity/culture. In my experience, the people who use “daburu” are sensitive about being biracial/multiracial and saying the word “hafu” makes them feel like they are less Japanese than “full” Japanese people. I can understand that feeling, but I dont necessarily share their feelings. The term “daburu” does, however, contribute to the argument of mixed-race Japanese people in Japan and how they are treated. Terms like this wont come up if we were considered equals.

  • Facebook User says:

    Depends on who I’m talking to. This is a hybrid word. Most people here in the Midwest won’t understand the word ‘Hafu’ so I just say mix. When I meet Japanese people I refer myself as a ‘Hafu’ to them..

  • Facebook User says:

    We say daburu.

  • Facebook User says:

    I’m half Japanese therefore hafu is fine with me. it does not make me less of a human.

  • Facebook User says:

    People should feel they have the right to use whatever term they wish. Good luck getting people to: 1. understand “double” in Japan, if in another country you’ll need more than good luck. 😛 2. Double reeks a bit of superiority complex whether intended or not. “I’m double, I have two cultures/ethnicities while you peons only have one.” Trust me, I get it, kids who are getting teased by Jpnse probably need this in some cases.

    For me “haafu” is fine. Can it be said with disdain, a lack of respect, to denigrate, etc? Sure, same for any word, e.g. “gaijin” but I don’t think the word is (I wanna use ‘prima facie’ but can’t think of the right term here) on its face carrying that implication. I’d never use that outside of Japan though….

  • Facebook User says:

    Just to add on, in Reggie Life’s documentary, “Doubles: America & Japan’s Bicultural Children”, a kid who’s 1/4 said, I’m Undercover Japanese!” I LURVE that and laughed when I heard it.

  • Facebook User says:

    I classify myself as a woman. But if ppl are persistent in knowing what my genealogy, I tell them that I am an Asian hybrid. The best of both worlds,Wild west (card carrying Mississippi Choctaw ) meets Far East.

  • Facebook User says:

    Lots of people use the term haafu and if it helps to get a ticket to join the team, it’s an okay description. I have heard of the term double, but it seems to be less used. If people use any of the terms to be derogatory, then it’s a reflection on them. There are many, many mixed culture people in the world, so it’s easy to embrace the idea as a good thing.

  • Debbie says:

    Regardless of what terminology is used, I feel very fortunate to have experienced a mixed culture upbringing. It has presented many situations where it is apparent to me that contrasting cultures are each worth respecting. Some peers I know have not had such experiences and as a result are less open to differences in others.

  • Facebook User says:

    When in Japan I used haafu but in US I affectionately referred to myself as s must because my dad’s mixed too. My Kids who are mixed with mostly Asian call them selves Asian blend

  • Facebook User says:

    Before I was introduced to this group and didn’t know that I am a Haafu, I use to describe my self when asked in Japan where I learned my Japanese, I would reply, ” Atashi wa “hanbun” Nihon jin desu. “Hanbun”. Well now, I can proudly say “Haafu”! Same here in the states. “Half Japanese”.

  • Facebook User says:

    “Why not refer to yourself as daburu or ‘double’ instead of hāfu, which comes from ‘half’?” I’ll tell you why 🙂

    “Double” is a contrived expression introduced by a Caucasian parent of Half-Japanese children via a short film that was made about 15 years ago, and was largely dismissed soon thereafter. There was great effort made at the time to falsely assert that “Hafu” was a slur. Anyone with even superficial exposure to Japan knows that “Hafu” is embrace and used by half-Japanese people in Japan with much pride. It’s a huge mistake to say that “Hafu” refers to the numeric value “half”. The Japanese word for half is “han-bun”. “Hafu” has always meant “a person with one Japanese parent and one non-Japanese parent” and was never a term of derision. It is derived from the expression “half-Japanese”, which is a naturally intuitive term used by half-Japanese English speakers when describing their ethnicity. Thus the Japanese use the same expression we use to describe ourselves, but with the typical Japanese truncation, which they commonly apply when adopting English expression like “pasokon” (personal computer) or “niju-pa” (I’ve only got 20% power left in my smart phone). I don’t care if someone wants to refer to themselves as a “double”, but I wish they would do it without at the same time questioning my use of “Hafu” 🙁

    Another reason I don’t use “Double” is that it’s often used to describe certain negative human traits and behavior, such as “double minded” (indecisively weak character), “double speak” (misleading language), “double agent” (traitor to two counties), “double bind” (intentionally confusing act), “double deal” (deceive in business), “double dip” (take more that ones share), “double cross” (cheat) etc. I hope this answers the question” 🙂 (y) <3

  • Facebook User says:

    As I mentioned once before, a woman gets to a certain age and definitely does not appreciate being called double :/ Haafu is fine.

  • Facebook User says:

    Not double because I’m only referring to the Japanese part. If I were double, I’d be whole. 🙂

  • Facebook User says:

    Haha, this question. I say hafu. Daburu just doesn’t do it for me.

  • Facebook User says:

    I dislike daburu/double too…… I am not two people in one….. I like and dislike parts of my mom’s culture. .. I like and dislike parts of my dad’s culture….. the two of them combined makes me one whole person . The word Daburu / double is usually implanted from some sort of guilt one of the parent feels for their child’s “plight” trust me on this…. we can handle our “plight” just fine if we have friends and family who treat us as good one whole person. (Like we do have in this group in abundance )

  • Facebook User says:

    When someone asks me where I’m from I always say my mum is Japanese and my dad is English, I don’t tend to refer to myself as half English and half Japanese. Although technically, its easily understood. But then peoples next question would be is your mum or dad Japanese? So it preempts their second question by stating so from the outset.

  • Todd says:

    I refer to my ethnicity as Japanese/Scotch-Irish or Half-Japanese. I first heard the term “Hafu” only within the last year. If I used to the term “hafu” or “daburu” very few people would know what I am talking about. I find the term “hafu” to be odd, sort of objectifying, like “half-breed” or “mudblood”. 🙂

  • Facebook User says:

    It’s typically parents with an overly-inflated sense of self-righteousness over the “plight of their mixed race child” that clamber over the “double” label when these labels have almost no bearing on the identity of their child. Most of the time hafu themselves are just looking for a simple term to explain themselves so they don’t have to waste 5 minutes explaining their background to everyone they meet.

  • Yoshi says:

    I like to identify as “half” instead of “double” since I don’t feel enough of either to be “full” in both. I will identify as more american than japanese since I live here and grew up here. Since I’m not as connected to my japanese side, I have a hard time considering myself more than “half japanese”.

  • Facebook User says:

    As someone who weighs twice what I should weigh, I don’t want to say I’m “double”. Hafu is easy for people to understand so I use it. And it’s specific to being Japanese. Sometimes I’ll say my mom is Japanese and my father is American and I’m a little of both.

  • Facebook User says:

    We always said so with my brother. I’m not half a person. If anything, I do have the understanding of 2 mentalities I can easily adapt to. So daburu would be the more correct term in my opinion. But it’s also not that big of a deal what word you use, as long as you know who you are.

  • Facebook User says:

    I always use ‘haafu’. Nothing derogatory about it, it’s just a term used to describe us, no? Totally proud to be haafu and see nothing wrong with the word.

  • Facebook User says:

    I always used haafu, nevere double, it sounds weird to me.

  • Mei says:

    I never referred to myself as anything until I encountered the term “happa” as an adult. In fact, I hadn’t even realized “hafu” existed as a description until I was invited to join the FB Hafu group!

    As a Japan-born US Navy brat rowing up, I harbored disdain for being half American but have since learned to wholly embrace myself and take pride in my kids’ happa+quappa mix.

  • Facebook User says:

    Heh, funny how some hafu really detests the term double (me inclusive)

    • Facebook User says:

      I’m one of those that detest it but mostly because of my experiences with those who prefer it. They’ve usually made the claim that the terms I prefer are derogatory. Go ahead and use whatever term you feel most comfortable with but don’t tell me my preferences are somehow less enlightened than yours.

  • fri says:

    I say mixed in English, only use the term hafu when speaking in Japanese. I don’t consider it an English term, so don’t really associate it with “half”. I’ve never really considered the term daburu… Seems overly PC and I’m only one person, not two.

  • Facebook User says:

    I call myself mix and my little one mix or a mutt since he has 5different things all mixed in him.

  • Michiko Amano says:

    I don’t refer to myself as double, nor as hafu, I actually just say that I’m a Mexican-Japanese descendant. I learned about the hafu term after a documentary and from a facebook group.

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