I got a great comment from Maya on “Video: ‘White Japanese People – 白人系日本人’” about how mixed-race people living in Japan are also often treated as “foreigners,” and I wanted to share some recent links on that subject.
This film on mixed-race children in Japan premiered Oct. 5 in Shibuya.
J.T. Quigley. “In Japan, Will Hafu Ever Be Considered Whole?” The Diplomat. 3 Oct. 2013.
On identity politics and Japan’s complicated nationality system for mixed-race children, this article includes a discussion of the Hafu Project film. The article and project both deal with issues encountered by different mixed-racial groups, which is great since the focus is often on White-Japanese.
She continues, “Because of my skin color, no one suspects that I was actually born and raised in Japan. I have been put down by strangers on the street. Sometimes I hear children behind me, if I’m talking in Japanese, saying things like ‘the foreigner spoke Japanese!’”…
“In my day-to-day experience in Japan, on first encounter, I am often treated as a foreigner – not able to speak Japanese and a visitor to Japan,” she observes. “I have been stopped by the police on the street and asked if I am Japanese or not. I usually just tell them I am hafu and that seems to end their questioning. Obviously, though, they are singling me out of the crowd as I don’t look like the average Japanese.”
See more about the film here.
Finally, for the US side of these issues, Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience’s exhibition War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art runs until Jan. 17, 2014; and Under My Skin: Artists Explore Race in the 21st Century runs until Nov. 17. I highly recommend the latter and will be viewing the former soon, I hope!
Have more links on race issues in Japan? Send them my way!