Asia

What it means to be hafu in Japan

Published 9:56 PM ET, Tue September 22, 2020
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RESTRICTED 04 japan hafu mixed heritage TETSURO MIYAZAKIRESTRICTED 04 japan hafu mixed heritage TETSURO MIYAZAKI
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Belgium-Japanese photographer Tetsuro Miyazaki has spent years photographing other hafu people for a project titled "Hafu2Hafu". As Japan becomes more diverse, he says there needs to be broader understanding of who the term applies to. Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu
Miyazaki wants capture the diversity of mixed heritage people in Japan and change the perception of hafu as a binary Japanese-White experience. Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu
David Yano, a half-Japanese and half-Ghanaian man, has lived in Japan for over 20 years.

Some half-Black Japanese people hesitate about referring to themselves as hafu because people will tell them that they're not, according to Miyazaki.
Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu
Nana Darweeesh has Japanese and Iraqi parents. She's a popular blogger on beauty and fashion and has almost 18,000 followers on Instagram. Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu
Veronika Nomura has a Japanese father and a Russian mother. She has lived in Japan and Russia and speaks both languages. Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu
Kevin Ryoma New was born in France to a Cambodian father and a Japanese mother.

Miyazaki says that hafu is just another label: "Yes, you are hafu, but you can also be Japanese, or British, or Belgian or a woman or a man, or a parent. It's just one of the labels, it's not the one defining label that a person is."
Tetsuro Miyazaki/Hafu2Hafu