World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


The word hafu/haafu (ハーフ hāfu (half)) is used in Japanese to refer to somebody who is biracial, i.e., ethnically half Japanese. The label emerged in the 1970s in Japan and is now the most commonly used and preferred term of self-definition. The word hafu/haafu comes from the English word "half" indicating half foreign-ness.[1][2][3][4]


  • Social context 1
  • List of notable hāfus 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Social context

Fashionable images of the half-Japanese people have become prominent especially with the increased appearance of hafu/haafu in the Japanese media.[5] Hafu/Haafu models are now seen on television or fill the pages of fashion magazines such as Non-no, CanCam and Vivi as often as newsreaders or celebrities. To name a few, AKB48 member Sayaka Akimoto (Filipino/Japanese), singer Stephanie (Armenian/Japanese), newscaster Christel Takigawa (French/Japanese), and models Kaela Kimura (British/Japanese), Anna Umemiya (American/Japanese) and Jessica Michibata (Argentine/Japanese), and in sports Indian national football team footballer Arata Izumi (Indian/Japanese). The appearance of hafu/haafu in the media has provided the basis for such a vivid representation of them in the culture.[6][7]

One of the earliest terms referring to half Japanese was ainoko, meaning a child born of a relationship between two races. It is still used in Latin America, most prominently Brazil (where spellings such as ainoco, ainoca (f.) and ainocô may be found), to refer to mestizo (broader Spanish sense of mixed-race in general) or mestiço people of some Japanese ancestry. Nevertheless, it evolved for an umbrella term for Eurasian or mixed Asian/mestizo, Asian/black, Asian/Arab and Asian/Indigenous heritage in general. At the same time it is possible for people with little Japanese or other Asian ancestry to be perceivable just by their phenotype to identify mostly as black, white or mestizo/pardo instead of ainoko, while people with about a quarter or less of non-Asian ancestry may identify just as Asian.

Ainoko, however, inferred social problems such as poverty, impurity and discrimination due to the negative treatment of hafu/haafu in the 1940s in Japan. The word was gradually replaced from the late 1950s by konketsuji (混血児) which literally means a child of mixed blood.[8]

Soon this, too, became a taboo term due to its derogatory connotations such as illegitimacy and discrimination. What were central to these labels were the emphasis on "blood impurity" and the obvious separation of the half-Japanese from the majority of Japanese. Some English-speaking parents of children of mixed ethnicity use the word "double."[8] Amerasian is another term for children of mixed ancestry, especially those born to US military fathers and Japanese mothers.

The 2013 documentary film Hafu is about the experiences of hafu living in Japan and deals with issues of identity and stereotype that they face.[9][10]

List of notable hāfus

See also


  1. ^ Krieger, Daniel (29 November 2010). "'"The whole story on being 'hafu.  
  2. ^ Navidi, Nooshin (22 June 2010). "Hafu draws viewers into world of Japanese identity".  
  3. ^ Yamada, Mio (28 February 2009). "Hafu focuses on whole individual".  
  4. ^ Fujioka, Brett (14 January 2011). "The Other Hafu of Japan".  
  5. ^ "Growing Up Different but Never Alienated".  
  6. ^ Japan and Global Migration: Foreign Workers and the Advent of a ... - Mike Douglass, Glenda Susan Roberts - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  7. ^ American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity - Naomi Zack - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  8. ^ a b Kosaka, Kristy (2009-01-27). "Half, bi or double? One family's trouble".  
  9. ^ "Documentary shows hardships of mixed-race individuals in Japan - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  10. ^ Shoji, Kaori. "Double the trouble, twice the joy for Japan's hafu". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links

  • Hafu Film
  • The Hafu Project - By artist Natalie Maya Willer and researcher Marcia Yumi Lise
  • Halvsie
  • Hapa Japan
  • "“This Is Who I Am”: Jero, Young, Gifted, Polycultural" -(Fellezs 2012)
  • Die Kreuzungsstelle - A voices of half Japanese, mixed race/multiracial or multiethnic persons.
  • Biracial Beauty Queen Challenges Japan’s Self-Image, NYT
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.