Why I watched the Hāfu Film, again.

Why I watched the Hāfu Film, again.

Posted by / February 26, 2018 / Categories: blog /

I had already interviewed about 24 Dutch Japanese hāfu for Hāfu2Hāfu when a friend forwarded a link to the Hāfu Film (Hafu – the mixed-race experience in Japan).I thought I had accumulated quite some stories and experiences from all these encounters, but then realised they were relatively one-sided. 23 of ‘my’ hāfu where Dutch caucasian hāfu and most of them were born and raised in the Netherlands.

The Hāfu Film opened a whole new world for me; it projected a much more diverse image of hāfu Japanese people. David (Ghana x Japan), Alex (Mexico x Japan), Sophia (Australia x Japan), Edward (Venezuela x Japan) and Fusae (Korea x Japan). Each person in the film has a different background and therefore different experiences being hāfu.

Then, in February last year, I had the chance to meet Hāfu director Megumi Nishikura and two of it’s featured hāfus: David and Edward. We talked about their experiences and what I had learned from the 24 hāfu in my project.

It was there, at the Hapa Japan Festival in Los Angeles, that I decided to photograph hāfu with one Japanese parent and one other parent from every country in the world. The idea of a worldwide project was born. Megumi has supported this idea from the very beginning and David an Ed were kind enough be one of the first participants in the next chapter of Hāfu2Hāfu.

Now, exactly one year after the festival and about 70 portraits and questions later, I decided to watch it again.

And I learned new things, again. Every stories shared by the hāfu in the film resonated with me, more than before. Also, I realised that so many of the questions that Hāfu2Hāfu participants have asked, are related to the stories in the film. Here are just a few examples:

How can teachers play a positive role in connecting you with your classmates?

—> when David talks about teachers looking away when he was beaten and when Alex finally feels accepted in this new school

How important do you consider mastering the Japanese language?

—> when Sophia is practicing her Japanese particles.

When in Japan, have you ever left unmentioned you are hāfu?

—> when Fusae talks about hiding here Korean heritage

Megumi and Lara, thank you for making this film and for being so supportive of Hāfu2Hāfu. I hope we can one day work together and organise an event, where we screen this important film, and where some of the Hāfu2Hāfu portraits and questions will be exhibited.

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  • Hayashi says:

    I actually have tears in my eyes as I am watching only this trailer! I am half Japanese and half German and have never been to Japan. I will visit my other home country Japan this year in October for the very first time in my life. In Germany, I was often treated as the “exotic parrot” in school. I do not know how the Japanese will react to me. I am especially worried about my bodyshape: I’m fit and have an athletic body type but I am not (and will never be) as frail and thin as Japanese women. It sounds superficial but it worries me. Probably I am just overthinking this. Great website and I will also check this movie! Best regards, Yuki Hayashi

  • Several years ago, my mother notified me of this documentary. I cried and related to every single mix raced individual, especially little Alex.
    Couldn’t even get past the first 10~15 min until now. I gad to leave Japan time to tume due to so much violence that my parents feared for my life as a “hafu” in Tokyo.

    I personally thank everyone that put this together this film to shine some light in our lives for this little known aspect of our lives.

    Like others in the documentary, I found my way to move forward with my life. If curious, just listen to the song “Ominous” in the web field “Website”.

    Songs I myself am singing are all from my experience in Tokyo. (Ominous, Step Up, Scar-Spangled Banne). All recorded and performed my myself except for the guitar solo in “Ominous”.

    Thank you all for your brilliant work.

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