Mariko Groosman Mooiman | 真理子グロースマン

“Biologically speaking we are 50/50, but how would you rate your hāfu-nes?”


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

About Mariko:

Born inthe Netherlands
Lived inthe Netherlands - Japan
Speaks Japanese⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪
Reading and Writing⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
SpeaksDutch - English - Japanese

  • Mariko Groosman より:

    Gosh u guys I am so sorry for not responding to any of your comments! 泣
    It’s ima sara but here’s my take on this discussion 🙂

    It’s nice to see similarities but also interesting how different ppl interpret the question.
    First of all, this in NOT a question about how “pure” one is… I myself actually never use the term “haafu” for myself… Whenever ppl ask me if I am Japanese (judging usually from my name, not necessarily the looks) I would automatically reply “my mom’s Japanese”. This is then usually followed by another question “so what’s your dad?” 🙂 From my OWN experience, I feel like nowadays ppl don’t really ask “what are you?” anymore, but more “where are you from”. In which case I say Holland. Once you get in a real conversation, then sometimes the topic of my Japanese roots pop up. Or if they give me a funny look like hmm are you really? then I enlighten them by saying well my mom is Japanese so…

    For me, the level of how Japanese I feel has changed over the years, and still changes depending on where and with whom I am. Long story short, as a kid I never felt out of place or different in Holland. Grew up in a small town but with lots of mixed-background kids, so everyone looked different. In Japan though, especially when I would walk the streets with my dad (25 yrs ago or so), ppl woud stare, so I wouldn’t necessarily feel out of place (I could understand the language) but it would make me extremely shy. But that’s more about the looks. I was more referring to the inside – feelings, emotions, behaviour.

    Reason why I wondered about other kids with Japanese mixed backgrounds, is because the last 10 years, I got often told by friends ((mixed) Japanese friends) that I am sooo Japanese in my behaviour, more than they are themselves. Whereas I was not aware of the fact that I was “being a total Japanese” and was just myself 🙂

    For the last 10 years I have worked for Japanese companies in NL. The older you get the more you “get to know yourself”, and now I feel so privileged that I grew up understanding both cultures, because I – in a way – can now “switch” between the Japanese Mariko and the Dutch Mariko depending on the ppl I’m with or the situation I’m in. Not to the split-personality extreme obviously, just a version of myself which adapts to the cultural background of the company I’m in. So I try not to look for differences with the crowd so that I feel different, I try to look for similarities and things in common. I will however admit that yes me too like to appeal with “the exotic” every now and then ^^

    It’s a vague question, but it’s funny to see and hear different opinions. And looks can definitely “deceive” (the look on people’s faces when they sit next to you on the train, talking in Japanese how they are lost and worrying where to get off, and you give them advice – gold)

  • Manako Maddisonマディソン学子 より:

    I explain to people by saying that I just have a convenience of being Japanese In Japan, and English in England. Then I have a convenience of having dual nationality in Austria where I go for my winter holidays

  • Elissa Hishikawa より:

    I said 50/50 and realized that’s not it. What I aim everyday to be is 100% in both culture. that’s what I am really

  • Elissa Hishikawa より:

    I feel very split in the middle. I read and write and speak like a native in Both English and Japanese. I spent my first 12 years in Japan going to regular Japanese schools there. I only knew Japanese then. I learned English later….

    I never doubted me being a Japanese as a child. I was nothing else then. That is the base of who I am. I had to learn to be American later. which took a while. like 30 years, but I finally feel that I’m smack in the middle. Appearance, language, thinking…. everything! even from books I read to TV show I watch, food I eat. it’s all 50/50 .

    I am THE hafu.

  • Ken Visser より:

    When I was younger I felt very connected to being half Japanese. As a matter of fact, I wanted to be more Japanese. As I grew up I felt more comfortable in this ”hafu” roll. When I’m in western countries I like to accentuate that I’m Japanese. But in Japan I do the opposite. In my footballteam in Holland I’m the Japanese guy. During my internship in Japan, I liked to be the Dutch guy. Maybe I just like being different at times. So I guess my ”hafu”-nes fluctuates based on where I am.

  • Todd より:

    I feel I am Japanese on the inside and non-Japanese in how I present myself to others. I have always identified more with Asian culture and philosophy than Western and have felt somewhat like an outsider in America – I find there is very little overlap.

  • Facebook User より:

    For me, really depends on where I am! When I’m in Japan, I realise how Western I am, and vice versa. Plus I tend to complicate things further. I’m half-Japanese half-Belgian by nationality, but grew up mostly in The Netherlands, so I feel Dutch most of the time. 😉

  • Facebook User より:

    embraced both sides equally, but have never used the term hafu tho…

  • Facebook User より:

    Me 80 % Asian looking 20% White looking.

  • Facebook User より:

    One would think I had pondered this question harder, but I guess not. As I grow older, my face is more like my mother’s but I still have reddish high-lights to my hair. What I like to eat changes day to day, but may make me seem more like my American father (not a fan of raw fish.) My inner space may be more like my mother. If I had to come up with a hard number, I guess I am truly hafu and proud of it. Thank you for raising this interesting question.

  • Mari より:

    I have always been WHOLE. Not half of anything. I am double. Both Japanese and Italian American.

  • Facebook User より:

    I used to say I felt 60% Spanish and 50% JP since I grew up mostly outside of Japan, but after having lived there and realizing a lot of my inner thinking and mannerisms that separated me from my friends back home are pretty Japanese…I feel the opposite now…and then there’s the food factor….can’t live without Japanese food…

  • Facebook User より:

    But most Europeans (for example) are all mix-n-match back for thousands of years so my kids are 50% Japanese, 10 % Viking, 20 percent Irish Celt, 6% Roman, 12% Scottish, 2% French…. I just made that all up, but you can see what I mean, and that is assuming you buy into the ‘pure race’ Japanese thing which I don’t (of course…, since my IQ is into double figures). That’s why I think ‘Hafu’ is used much more in Japan than anywhere else where nationalities mix. But then again if we are just talking nationality and not genetics….

    • Facebook User より:

      I’m sure you’re correct that “Hafu” is used much more in Japan since it’s a Japanese word; however, its English linguistic equivalent “half-Japanese” is very commonly used in my home country, actually much more there than in Japan in my opinion. Many people there readily use the prefix “half-…” when describing their own background, and to acknowledge each of their parents individual ethnicities or nationalities as the see them 🙂

      • Facebook User より:

        ハーフ is the Japanese word, but I wasn’t being nasty about the expression, this group taught me to accept it. At first I didn’t like people calling my gorgeous girls (daughters) ‘hafu’, where I grew up I heard ‘half’ used more like in half-breed and half-caste and it seemed a very negative expression complete with it’s implication something/someone isn’t ‘whole’. I was surprised that so many folk on this group are proud to use ‘hafu’ about themselves, so I relaxed, you taught me it was OK. I guess the language is ever changing.

        • Facebook User より:

          Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts, and acknowledging the importance of this identity to those for whom it has great personal relevance. 🙂

  • Facebook User より:

    On looks 25/75 Japanese. Feelings 60/40 Japanese while in Japan and 40/60 Japanese while in US.

  • Facebook User より:

    looks i’m more gaijin… but….. on the inside…. i would say i’m gobu fifty.

  • Mari より:

    Goedeavond Mariko!

    I’m half Japanese and half Canadian.
    Looks wise, I’d say I’m 90% Canadian and 10% Japanese.
    But my mannerisms are 80% Japanese ^_^

  • I’d say I look less Japanese, more towards non-Japanese side. So on a scale of 1 one to 10 where 10 is totally Japanese looking and 1 is totally not-Japanese looking I’d say I’m a 3. My fb friend Kenny Alwardt is a 10

  • Facebook User より:

    No one ever guessed that I was Hafu. But everyone who try to guess from where I am…Usually go for a Southeast Asian country… So… I’d say 35% to 40%?

  • Ken より:

    That’s like asking Dutch or Japanese “how do you rate your Japaneseness or dutchness?”. I’m just what I am.


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