Japan is Changing by Hafu Film


Some very interesting statistics on ever-changing Japan. Be sure to check out the documentary,  Hafu.

“”Hafu” is the unfolding journey of discovery into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of 5 “hafus”–the Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese–and by virtue of the fact that living in Japan, they are forced to explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself as the mono-ethnic  nation.”

“As the first feature length broadcast-able documentary to explore the experiences of hafus and produced by a team of hafus, this ?lm aims to show both the joy and the sorrows, the struggle for acceptance, the funny moments in cultural misunderstanding, and ultimately the self-empowerment that occurs as these individuals come to terms with who they are.”

Here is the backstory on one of the Hafu’s featured in the documentary:


“David  (Ghana x Japan) David was born in Ghana and at age of 6 moved to Tokyo with his family. His parents divorced when he was 10. The next 8 years were spent in an orphanage with his two brothers. When David went back to Ghana for the ?rst time in his early 20s, he realized how blessed he was to have grown up in Japan. He is now determined to build a school back in Ghana and get in touch with this other side.”

Additional information on the documentary and those featured can be found on the Indiegogo page for the documentary:

“According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, one in thirty babies born in Japan today are born to a couple where at least one of the parents is not Japanese. This newly emerging minority in Japan is under-documented and under-explored in both literature and media. The feature-length HD documentary film, “Hafu – the experience of mixed-race Japanese” seeks to rectify this gap.

This film will explore the themes of race, diversity, multiculturalism, nationality, and identity within the mixed-race community of Japan. And through this exploration, it seeks to answer: What does it mean to be hafu?; What does it means to be Japanese?; and ultimately, What does this mean for Japan?

It is our hope through that by giving an intimate glimpse into the every day lives of 5 mixed-Japanese, this film will break down stereotypes and open up a dialogue about the mixed race experience.

Regardless of where you are from or what your background is, this is not just the story of the half-Japanese experience but a greater story of our desire to find acceptance from those around us and ultimately within our selves.”

Learn more about Hafu here.

1 Comment

  1. “Race” as a term for sociological/anthropological analysis has been thoroughly discredited. There are ‘populations’ of humans that exhibit similar features, such as skin color. The violent, imperialist origins of racial ideology, or “scientific racism” that came to dominance particularly in the mid 19th century is a well known story. It is therefore disappointing that the terminology used here such as ‘half’ and ‘mixed race Japanese’ perpetuates racist/racialist ideas. As the concept of race has been discredited, as I mentioned, I would suggest referring to “Japanese” as an ethnicity, or nationality. If there is a desire to emphasize physical appearance, you might consider speaking of (East) Asian populations. When people from other populations have children with this population, there may or may not be features that cause them to stand out from the general population. As the film makes clear, however, the Japanese population itself is not ‘pure’ in any way, so the idea that a ‘half’ has ‘half-Japanese genes’ is rather ludicrous. To consider the socially constructed nature of these questions in Japan, consider how objectionable many people would find terms such as ‘mixed Britains,’ or ‘mixed Americans.’ Terms such as mixed and half presuppose a genetic purity in the rest of the population, a myth that appears to be, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuated here.

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