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Jun Hasegawa capitalizes on 'haafu' look

92 Comments
By Chris Betros

It’s a cold winter’s day, but Jun Hasegawa greets us, wearing shorts and tank top. It’s been a busy day of fashion shooting, but Hasegawa, 22, is all smiles and happy to chat about life as a model and actress in Japan. “Modeling is fun but much harder work than people think,” she says. “Even when it is snowing, we’ll be in our tank tops and skimpy skirts, pretending we are having so much fun. Then in summer, we’ll be outside wearing knitted caps, scarves, jackets and boots.”

Born in New Hampshire to a Japanese mother and American father, Hasegawa moved to Hawaii at the age of two and grew up there until she was scouted at 14. She has two sisters, April and July (all three daughters are named after months). “My mother met this Japanese man who was starting a production company in Japan. I auditioned and they liked me. So at 15, I came to Japan. For the first year, I was going to auditions for many magazines but I never got a job. I took dancing lessons and attended Yokohama International School. A year later, I went to an audition for a magazine called ViVi. That’s when all the doors started to open.”

Hasegawa still appears regularly in ViVi as well as many other magazines. She does ad campaigns for Shiseido and sports brand FILA, among others. With her exotic looks, Hasegawa has become sought after. Industry observers say the “half” or "haafu" look of models like Hasegawa is now more in demand. “I think nowadays, young girls want something different. Certainly, ViVi is doing better saleswise because it is a more trendy magazine,” says Hasegawa, who says she doesn't mind the term "haafu."

Fashion shows like the Tokyo and Kobe Girls Collection are big events for Hasegawa because it gives her a chance to see her fans who flock to the popular 6-hour shows. She recently took part in the collections in Shanghai, too. “Those long shows are hard work, a bit like model boot camp,” she says with a laugh. “When you see all the girls who buy the magazines you’re in, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s a very cool experience.”

Hasegawa’s latest project is her film acting debut in “Honokaa Boy,” which was filmed in Hawaii. It’s a simple story about a young man named Leo who visits Honokaa and falls in love with the place. He moves there and works as a projectionist at an old theater. “My role is the local girl who Leo falls for. I’m sort of playing myself, I suppose. Sorry to tell you, there are no lovemaking or kissing scenes,” Hasegawa jokes. “Making a movie was a huge learning experience and a good start in the industry for me. I definitely want to do more movies.”

Looking very sleek, Hasegawa says the secret to keeping in shape is to know your limits. “I like to have just as much fun as the next girl, but usually work starts from 6 in the morning. Some girls can party all night, sleep for two hours and still look fresh. I need my beauty sleep. I used to go to the gym and tried yoga, but now I take belly dancing classes. That’s a fun way to keep fit.”

And what sort of man turns her on? “I’m obsessed with Elvis,” she says. “Actually, I like men who make me laugh. My happiest moments are when I am with a guy who can make me laugh so hard. That is a big turn-on.”

Hasegawa knows that there is more to life than modeling and says that in future, she would like to become involved in projects to help less fortunate people in Africa, for example. “I really admire what Angelina Jolie does,” she says.

© Japan Today

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92 Comments
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the law says take the pick at 22. So I assume she took the Japanese passport?

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And what sort of man turns her on? “I’m obsessed with Elvis,”

it'll be quite a shock if and when she finds out he's dead

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Looks like gaijin from the outside, but by her comments on Elvis, it is Japanese in the inside. Just like those nice looking oranges with little or no juice in the inside.

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I just saw her on "Gu-tan" last night and she was ravishing. Vivacious. OK, maybe not genius-level smart, but not a ditz, either, by any stretch.

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booooooooooooriiiiiinnnngggg

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Yeah, the law says 22, but the MOJ doesn't enforce it.

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"I'm trying to figure out what happened to May. Anyway, "haafu" is a baaaad word. How about "daburu"?"

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I saw Gu-tan last night too and since I didn't know who she was before, imagine my surprise to hear normal English come out of her mouth. Even if it's not a big deal for them, anyone who's bilingual gets points from me.

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so pretty!!!

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I noticed that the girls are named April, Jun and July. What happened to May?

Another question: does anyone else besides me think the term "haafu" is rather racist? Wouldn't the term "daburu" (double) be more respectful? I first read about this concept of children of "mixed" marriages in Kyoto Journal (Issue 40, 1999 - "Reel Life and Real Life") in an interview with filmmaker Regge Life who made the documentary "Doubles".

Moderator: Japan Today does not consider the term “haafu” racist. As far as this story is concerned, Hasegawa herself said it doesn’t bother her, which is good enough for us.

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It’s a cold winter’s day, but Jun Hasegawa greets us

One name in the byline, but "us" in the lede. Greeting multiple peronalities seems to have given the writer one himself. ;)

Moderator: What about the photographer, editorial assistant, the makeup artist and hair stylist?

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Chill out, half is quite a widespread word, whatever your assesment of its connotations. It's typically Japanese in its approach - it suggests half-Japanese half-whatever, who cares. I don't really hear it applied or thought about for those without a Japanese parent. Personally, the fact that people are even being delineated as not Japanese RACIALLY regardless of their country of rearing is what gets me; I believe that nurture has a lot more to do with your ability to get by in a given society than nature.

You should go check out this article on 'halfs' and 'doubles' if you're really keen:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090127zg.html

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Please don't tell me to chill out on something that should be discussed. I think to dismiss someone in this way is disrespectful. There are plenty of people out there who feel differently than you do about this term.

Thanks for the opinion and the link. I suggest you watch the documentary "Doubles" by Regge Life or read the article in Kyoto Journal (Reel Life and Real Life, Issue 40, 1999) if you can get a copy of it. If you want, I can provide you with one.

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Modeling is fun but much harder work than people think Yeah, I gave up my promising career as a model because it was too hard, I went back to coal mining.

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whyamiinjapan

I don't think there is anything offensive about the word "haafu." I have lots of "haafu" friends and they have all said at one time or another that it doesn't bother them, though of course we never use the word in daily conversation.

If the word does bother you, then I suggest that you need to ask yourself what is it deep down inside you that you are afraid of. There may be some subconscious unresolved issue. Just a suggestion.

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Haafu is only not denegetory when your Famous for those who have normal live,haafu means not fully Japanese.

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Just curious...but most of the complaints you see about the word 'haafu' come from those that arent even impacted. Being 'haafu' (and as was mentioned by Braniac) most of my 'haafu' friends/family never think 2x about it. Not offense taken. We typically refer to ourselves as 'haafu'.

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So why would some Japanese feel the need to point out to a eight year old kid that they are a haafu and not %100 Japanese (despite the passport saying otherwise). You think that doesn't impact on peoples self esteem? Sure its racist and should be dealt with as discrimination. Look at what racism is defined as. the treatment of an individual based on their race. Chill out yourself.

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moderator thats a big principle to stand on. How about halfwit? is that offensive?

Moderator: "Halfwit" and "haafu" are not the same thing. In any case, we ask readers to please do not get bogged down or obsessed on this issue of "haafu" to the point where you just go around in circles. The subject of this story is Ms Hasegawa, her life and work.

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You'd think Mei / May would be the natural progression, wouldn't you? I thought Jun was only for boys, too.

People feel the need in Japan to point out that others are haafu, as if they didn't know. I don't know if it's actually a spiteful thing - Japanese like 'safe' conversation topics that don't make assumptions about other people; if you're half and you show it, that's fair game for conversation. Unfortunately, it lets Japanese slide into the "OMG u can use chopsticks! What's your blood type?" field of questions that make foreign-raised folk wonder if all Japanese are completely vapid. Of course, the reality is that they don't (always) want to ask awkward questions, so things can get stuck in an odd place between curiosity and tatemae...

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say... i'm 22 too!

comes back down to reality

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As everyone is asking where is May....the names all coincide with their DOB. Blame the parents going at it too early or too late to get May.

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As everyone is asking where is May....the names all coincide with their DOB. Blame the parents going at it too early or too late to get May.

The birthstone of May ain't emerald for nothing. Rarest birth month there is.

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Nice moustache.

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The term 'Half' (haafu) has no derogatory connotations in Japan, so don't try to start a discussion, and certainly not here as the Mods advise. Jun, which is a personal name for males as well as females, would like to become involved in projects to help less fortunate people in Africa, Perhaps she could team up with Norika Fujiwara!

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Anyway, she is certainly beautiful and sounds like she might have a couple of brain cells to spare - a bit more to her than the average tarento, who's fit only to squeak "cute! delicious! gorgeous!"

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I would love to make her laugh anytime :)

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News = social gossip in Japan

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Anyway she has one of those faces likely to appear on skincare/clothes catalogues.

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She stunning, almost up there with Maria Ozawa.

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OK, let's see. I'm interested in knowing why this lovely young woman is quoted as saying "she doesn't mind the word "'haafu'". Does this imply that there are people who mind and she is aware of it? Was she asked "Do you mind the word 'haafu'?" Or did she say, "Oh, by the way, I don't mind the word 'haafu'?" Does anyone know where she is quoted? I am interested, that's all.

By the way, between the time that I "ghost-posted" here earlier and now, I went out and asked 10 Japanese friends (5 women and 5 men, all between 25 and 50), none of whom speak English, the following questions:

What do you call a person who has one Japanese parent and one foreign parent? Does this word have any sense of prejudice toward that person, or is it racist in any way? (This often involved explaining the use of the term "double" and the connotations and different nuances and meanings between "haafu" and "double".)

Everyone answered "haafu". One man, in his late forties, said the word had racist overtones but he didn't think it was purely racist. It depended on the usage. This man has a Korean mother and, after talking, said he would prefer the word "double" for himself but other people could do what they liked. Six people said the word had no racist overtones. Most of them (I didn't write down how many and can't remember) felt the term was a positive one. Out of the six, two women said that if they had married a foreigner, they wouldn't mind their children being called half. The conversation didn't get that far with the other four, two men and two women. One of the men said that I think too much. Hee hee! Three people, two men and a woman, said they thought it could be a term used in a prejudiced way but didn't think it was that bad. One of the men said, like the word "gaijin" people attach too much meaning to what's behind the word and shouldn't take Japanese peoples' outlook as prejudiced.

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My kids are half (half european and half Japanese, they have 50% of the DNA from each of their parents). Neither of them are double (in that neither of them contain 200% DNA as far as I am aware). My guess is that the posters who object to the word "half" are the same ones that see racism every time there is an empty seat next to them on the train.

Why is there no "e" in Jun?

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About the "haafu" thing, I know it is something that bothered my children and traumatized my best friend's son (he was the only bi-racial kid in his entire school). I think it depends on where you grow up. Most Americans refer to themselves as being various percentages of different nationalities, so it is not a big deal for us. I don't know if the same is true for Europeans. But, in Japan, where racial homogeny is still the norm, it can be a big deal, especially in regards to bullying in schools and such. For me, at least, it was an issue that required a lot of family discussion and a lot of hugs and a few tears to work through.

Taka

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Why is there no "e" in Jun?

Because Jun is a japanese first name and can be written with kanji, June can't.

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laconic, The term "double" refers to two-cultured not physical make-up. But I figure you know that already and are just being sarcastic, right?

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Miss Hasegawa grew up in the States. I wonder if her viewpoint would be different if she had grown up here.

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New Hampshire.... where?

Japan today is a Japanese website so if locations are outside of Japan, I think is appropriate that you mention the COUNTRY.

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My kids are half (half european and half Japanese, they have 50% of the DNA from each of their parents). Neither of them are double (in that neither of them contain 200% DNA as far as I am aware). By that rationale every human being is 'half'.

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If her dad is not Japanese why is she Hasegawa? This is won thing I really can't appreciate in these kids. My sons have my name. Taking mums name is low - they're doing it for the money.

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Taking mums name is low - they're doing it for the money.

How do you figure? Jun has two parents not one. Besides it was the mother who did all the heavy lifting after the father did his bit just before conception. Jun has as much right to her mother's name as she does to her father's.

As for the money quip .. it's called work.

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unscrejects : not so, my kids have their mothers name cause that is what works best for us here. My wife is a professional business woman and having a katakana name would be detrimental to her business. The whole double vs haafu debate still puts the race of the person foremost in the reference thus is rascist although not necessarily ill intentioned . I agree with Taka's comments, might be the first time:-).

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The headline should read she is capitalizing on her HOT haafu looks. Really whether she is half or not is irrelavent she's a model because she's good looking. unscrejects: My kids use my wife's name here because it just makes life easier from filling out forms to writing there name in class. My exceptionally German last name was impossible for people in the states to get right, Japanese wouldn't stand a chance.

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One more thought on the use of half: back home we had friends of all racial backgrounds and mixes. I found that our Japanese, Chinese and Korean friends all used the term half when referring to their children or ours. Maybe it's a common thread as in half Aisan half something else. Anyway, never bothered me and I use it to describe my kids because it's accurate.

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'...and World Peace'.

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She looks spunky and good luck to her. About the inevitable "haafu" discussion, my kids are proudly haafu and never had a problem with it. Disclaimer: Central Tokyo and intl. school. I suppose living in the sticks as the only haafu in a the whole school would give a different ambience.

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"I need my beauty sleep"

So do I.

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In my opinion haafu is only a derogatory term if its used as one. My kids have coped well so far, whether theyre termed Japanese/English or haafu has had no impact. It would be a shame for those with a chip on their shoulders to turn the term into one of abuse.

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blah blah blah are just kids

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So I wonder when the "pure breeds" will be popular again?

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And what sort of man turns her on? “I’m obsessed with Elvis,”

Translation: I like my men rich. And preferably dead.

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unscrejects

You may be surprised but there are quite a few cultures in the world where neither wives nor children take the husband/father's family name.

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I saw her on show with Tokio last night. She came across well, and was nothing like the typical J bimbos that usually populate such shows. Not a hint of 'Kawaii' or 'Sugio' in every utterance. Tokio spoiled it a bit by asking her if she could eat miso soup, so rolled out one of the usual Japanese asinine questions directed at 'foreigners', even though her name is Hasegawa and she speaks fluent Japanese. Rolls eyes.

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we are all 100 percent human beings. (at least i think we are!)

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knews: my gripe is that these kids change their surnames the day they come to Japan. That ain't cultural but financial.

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who says she doesn’t mind the term “haafu.”

As a father of two children with a Japanese mother and a foreign father (myself), I resent the stereotyped description 'haafu'. Instead of braindead models such as Hasegawa pretending to represent the mixed-culture community in Japan and cashing in her heritage on a fashionable 'look', I'd like more people from the mixed-culture community to stand up and say that this term is derogatory and racist. Don't judge a person at face value (such as braindead models) and whether they are half-whatever.

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unscrejects: Who cares? Would it make you happier if they kept their original surnames and were famous ONLY for the reason that they are noticeably foreign? It doesn't matter. A name is just a name, and that's all.

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A name is just a name, and that's all.

Amen.

my gripe is that these kids change their surnames the day they come to Japan. That ain't cultural but financial.

What about the vast numbers of first-generation Americans who changed their foreign-sounding European surnames to 'fit in' better in their adopted country? All the Roosevelts, Blooms, Goldwins, Rockefellers and the rest? Fitting in with the country you live in - isn't that cultural?

I resent the stereotyped description "haafu."

Depending on how and where they grew up, some haafus are no different from 'full-blood' Japanese. Some are as unJapanese as a 'full-blood' furriner. Some are at varying degrees within those two extremes. What's the stereotype? How is saying haafu any different from saying one parent is from country A and the other parent is from country B (apart from being a lot quicker and easier to say)?

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The way things are currently going, and it looks like there's no going back, not that we would want it to -- some day pretty much everyone will be haafu, and then even the word will be forgotten and we'll move onto another way to label each other.

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I agree with those who think that we are all "haafu" in that we are half from our fathers and half from our mothers. Where they are from is irrelevant really. Again, it's a word we use just based on a person's looks and, like it or not, that's how humans do see one another at first. There is no way around it. Someone maybe Caucasian, Asian or African-American and that is how we would describe that person. What simpler term could there be to describe someone who looks both Caucasian and Asian? If you can come up with a better word than "half", I'm all ears.

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Hasegawa is just making money from this current fashion and it fills me with anger when people like her accept the term 'haafu'.

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I am metis, which esstential means "mixed race". I don't mind be called Metis, it accurately reflects the truth of my ancestral background.

Hasegawa is just making money from this current fashion and it fills me with anger when people like her accept the term 'haafu'.

What right do you have to mad at her? Hasegawa is free to accept whatever term she wants to accept, it is her prerogative and her choice to make.

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I am half Japanese and Caucasian/American... I guess if someone called me a halfbreed I would take it negetively, but never view being called haalf as negetive. In fact I explain myself as haalf. As far as Hasegawa.. I don't care for her look, something about her smile.. maybe she needs darker red lipstick or something. I find only about "haalf" her photos on her website appealing.

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How is saying haafu any different from saying one parent is from country A and the other parent is from country B (apart from being a lot quicker and easier to say)? - Cleo

To make a point, I'd say Japanese can also be made "a lot quicker and easier to say" if we shortened it too.

But we know how we all feel about that, so maybe you can understand how some people view the term "haafu".

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Northlondon:

" , I'd like more people from the mixed-culture community to stand up and say that this term is derogatory and racist. "

Many people here have been standing up and point out that it isn´t, inherently. It can be, just like "double" or "better" or whatver silly politically correct replacement you come up with. Depending on the context, any word can be derogatory, but that is a different topic.

Why do you try to re-invent the wheel and just repeat the stereotype, after we have been through all that?

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"It's a simple story about a young man named Leo who visits Honokaa and falls in love with the place. he moves there and works as a projectionist at an old theater."

That's what I want to do.

"Sorry to tell you, there are no lovemaking or kissing scenes"

What's the point then, ha ha ha!

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Well a former Los Angeles talent agent once told me that US models came in two types: tall for the "ready to wear" fashion industry and really tall for the "High Fashion" catwalk models. Also they had to start when they were teenagers. LA was "ready to wear" only so if a girl was over 178 cm she had to go to New York, Tokyo, Rome, or Paris maybe London. Tokyo also has a lot of "ready to wear" fashion houses. While Japan is now producing men that are big enough to make it in the US baseball major leagues, the women still tend toward the short side. So seeing haafu in the fashion business seems logical. Fashion designers just want girls that make the clothes look good, so as long as the girl doesn't have a really ugly face and is tall, they won't care about much of anything else.

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What is the definition of the term half? In Japan, it means one parent is white and one is Japanese. I find it ridiculous that people need to point this out and I also find it ridiculous that white people living in Japan married to a Japanese see it as OK to use this term for their own children. Probably because MOST of the racist comments 'Half are cute' or 'cool' or 'their skin is nice'. (Again, if these comments aren't racist then what is the definition of racism?) I realize that this will open a whole can of worms for the posters here but I have been here a long time and I have never heard Tiger Woods (one parent black the other Asian, President Obama, Oh Sadaharu (one parent Chinese one Japanese), etc. ever described as half. So why the need to say "Duhhh, your kid is a half?" "What do they eat?" "What language does he speak?" "Can he understand you?" "Ohhh, how cute and wonderful, he speaks Japanese." "You should speak to him only in English." Whatever. When people make these comments I want to say "We are all bleepin' human and until people realize that and get on with life we have to put up with ignorance." But I usually smile, wonder what my children think and move on depending on the day I am having. On a bad one I sometimes give the person or persons an earful and they just stand there bewildered at the strange foreigner and I realize there was no point.

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and if your a quarter Japanese or another country what are you supposed to call them without having to explain in detail. Ahh triple!!

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I noticed a friend of mine speaks Italian, I asked her why, and she explained, "oh, I am half Italian" (and half British, for that matter).

Now what is the politically correct thing to do? Should I lambast her for being a racist?

Our anti "haafu" brigade here can explain perhaps...

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If my child wants to explain to his/her friend at some point in the future that his/her mother is Japanese that's fine. If you say to your friend, "Ohhhh, that's why you stink./ are good at soccer./ have such a hot temper." - then maybe she should call YOU something.

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I completely agree with you Sammuraisteve. The terms "half"/Half Blood/Half Caste have thankfully been eliminated from terminology in Western nations, not due to PC ness, but because they ARE offensive. Its essentially like saying "Half a person". Half Japanese/Half Australian, Half Italian/Half British OK...but to be simply thrown a title "Haafuu" and then expected to act accordingly, is so outdated and offensive it's disgraceful. When I have kids with my Japanese partner in future, I will certainly be educating them that they are not "haafuu" and no-one can call them that!

The term "haafu" is almost as silly as the term "newhaafu". What a mangling nonsense of the english language!

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Groan.... it is sad to see political correctness rampant around here.

I am glad that at least Jun Hazegawa is level-headed. And pretty to boot.

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Hello - I have lived half my life in Japan and the other half pretty much in Hawaii - you ask someone "what are you?" or whats your ethnicity in Hawaii, its not uncommon to hear, "I'm half Hawaiian" or "quarter Chinese" - being a haafu myself I have no problem with the word - however I can't stand being called a "double"-although I do feel "doubly blessed, being a "haafu" - like being a "haole" in Hawaii or a "gaijin" here in Japan - its not really so much the word thats the issue I think, but the heart/attitude being the word. My son looks "haafu" but he is a "koota" (^.^) - not b/c he is a less of a person, but has 1/4 "gaijin/haole" blood running through his body. It seems those who have not lived in a "mixed race" area feels more offended over the word - perhaps they don't know how to truly use it or just doesn't get it - I haven't met a haafu that has an issue with the word - even those of us who use to get beaten up by the non-haafus as a kid.

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Groan.... it is sad to see political correctness rampant around here.

it's not political correctness, it's manners and common sense. give it a try you might like it

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It seems those who have not lived in a "mixed race" area feels more offended over the word - perhaps they don't know how to truly use it or just doesn't get it

Disagree. I come from one of the most multicultural nations of them all - Australia - and most people just dont go running around these days asking people straight out "are you a half Italian/Greek/Samoan/Aboriginal etc etc". Maybe in the 1950s it was OK, but times have changed. It's actually not considered that important, and to be honest, most people don't care. I think the fact Japanese have been instructed to consider themselves ethnically homogenous - itself a complete nonsense - means that they probably think any person of mixed heritage will have an inherantly different character. Again, a nonsense. Sure, I say full power to Jun-Chan if she wants to label herself as a "haafu" in order to further her career, but lets try and educate locals here that there are more important things that make up a person than their heritage and if they "look Japanese", their skin is very light, they have double-folded eyelids etc. Will probably take the next 500 years though...

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Haafu(s) themselves don't care about the word that much, in contrast to some people here. Ask them what they'd like to be called, they'll probably tell you their names or change the subject, because it really is not important. It does seem to be important for those who are not particularly haafu and feel uncomfortable with that word or the whole race pc thing. Probably because they don't feel comfortable around haafu.

I met a father of a haafu once (not my father) that commented that he wanted his kids to be more 'normal'. He was American btw. Maybe he had issues in accepting his kids 'haafu-ness' and that made me uncomfortable.

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If her dad is not Japanese why is she Hasegawa? This is won thing I really can't appreciate in these kids. My sons have my name. Taking mums name is low - they're doing it for the money.

unscrejects: You presume a lot. I wont go into the various possible ways her father could have the name Hasegawa while not being ethnically Japanese. But one thing I do know, with the existing laws of Japan (at least when I was born), if my Japanese mother married a Canadian and wanted to give her children both nationalities, she would have had to register her children under her name in Japan, as foreign nationals are not counted in Koseki records (not 100% on the details there). So her children would have lived under their father's name overseas, but if they wished to come to Japan and live under a Japanese nationality, they would officially go by their Japanese mother's maden last name. Much more to it than your 'its for the money' accusation.

When I have kids with my Japanese partner in future, I will certainly be educating them that they are not "haafuu" and no-one can call them that!

I think that's an extreme stance that in itself could cause your children a lot of pain. Particularly if they wouldn't have minded the term otherwise.

Also, I think some ppl forget that this is a Japanized word. Many words borrowed from one language and used in another are used with meanings that are quite different from the original. I would never ask someone in Canada "are you half?" simply because they would have no idea what I was talking about. They might guess at what I was trying to say, and they might guess negatively (half-wit? half-height? half-person?). That is understandable. But this is in Japan, where the word is widely used to refer to a certain person with a certain background, and is widely understood as such. The Japanese find it convenient to use and fits their cultral situation. There is no need to use/not use it because of the connotations that it has in another language. Ofcourse, I am NOT saying there is no racism at all in Japan. That is another thing altogether and has nothing to do with whatever name-calling that bullies choose.

whyamiinjapan: great post with first-hand info!

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hannari: Amen.

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Is it people coming from countries that have a history of racial tension (I'm thinking America and Australia, there may be others) that are touchy about people asking about/commenting on ethnicity? Sometimes you just have to leave cultural baggage at the immigration desk. Japanese will ask you about your parentage and cultural background in the same way that they will ask your age, weight and shoe size. If you don't want to answer, then simply say so. It's no big deal. Make a big deal out of it, get all huffy, and you will simply reinforce the stereotype of the hen na gaijin.

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New Hampshire.... where?

Japan today is a Japanese website so if locations are outside of Japan, I think is appropriate that you mention the COUNTRY.

NH is a state in the US, in the New England area. It's also my home state. Granite State Pride!

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What abou the other 99.9% of "haafs" in Japan who get bullied and taunted incessantly?

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Blue Tiger:

Where do you get the "99.9%" from? They certainly don´t match with my experience.

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WilliB - they do mine. I've taught at the college level for more than ten years, and half-Japanese/Half-Something-Else students to a man basically told the same story: bullying and name-calling by their classmates in school.

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Blue Tiger:

Well, they don´t match mine. My haafu kids are not bullied, and of all the haafus I have met, only told me he was bullied, and that was in one school, and not "incessantly".

So, where do you go from there? Are your 99.9% better than my 99.9%? And even assuming your figure is closer to the reality out there (maybe I have been blessed), how you would change that by loudly demanding that "haafu" should be replaced by "dabbulu" or whatever you deem politically correct?

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I don't know that the US is over 'race' or not. Look at any primetime network tv variety show - american idol, dance idol, survivor, comedy shows, etc. Always a couple of whites, a couple of blacks, token asian, token hispanic, and increasingly one or two token gays. No one ever says this out loud, but I can imagine some haafus in America, far from being celebrated for their beauty, would be penalized in the mainstream media for failing to clearly enough fall into the unspoken racial quota categories that they so clearly apply.

Haafu are popular as in the media here, they are celebrated, as they often are elsewhere. I think people need to get off their high horses and realize the hypocrisy in their own countries before slagging off on Japan. And power to Jun - good on her.

Peace

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Cleo's right, race can be a conversation starter if a person isn't too touchy. Sometimes you want to find out what you have in common just to get things rolling. I'm expecting when I come to Japan some people will say, "Are you Japanese?" I look like the mix between an Asian and a Caucasian. It just gets the ball rolling. "No, I'm a Native American." But I need to watch out with that b/c some ppl think everyone born in the U.S. is a Native American, which is actually correct when you think about it. We'll probably talk about ancestors and then move on to other mundane stuff - where are you from? Family with you? Baseball fan? Love crab puffs? Stay away from Roppongi. It's definitely a conversation starter. I also get, "Are you Mexican?" I'm not even sensitive to it anymore.

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I never really thought the 'haafu' had any negative connotations so I cant really see why people would take such offense to it. Personally, I think that some people like to overplay the victim role and that they look too hard to find racism in these kinds of things. But, then again I'm not ethnically mixed so who am I to say anything.

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Also, I agree with hannari. Some 'Japanized' words should be taken for what they are, and that rather than take offense to these words people should try to understand the 'Japanized' meaning a little better.

Another thing, wanting to know what nationality/ethnicity you are is not limited to Japanese. From what I've seen most asians in general will also ask what your nationality is, especially if you are asian or look like you are part asian.

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"Haafu" is not derogatory in Japan but I had blonde hair and am "half" and had a lot of negative comments growing up in a city (not Tokyo). It was mainly from mothers of other kids though and a teacher who said I would need to die my hair dark to fit in. The bullying wasn't violent as it was in the UK. After a certain age being 'half' becomes a positive thing because we're blessed with beautiful features of both races..usually! But I am not impressed with Jun..brought up in New Hampshire and Hawaii and went to an International school in Japan. Sounds like she could have done more with herself and she wants to 'help kids in Africa'..oh please

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just an example that she wants to do good, nothing wrong with that and she's still young...

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Ah_so She stunning, almost up there with Maria Ozawa.

or Meisa Hanai, Anna Ohura, and especially Tina Yuzuki

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As a rule, I tend to find the 'half' female personalities less attractive than Japanese. However, in Jun's case, I would say she's stunning! It might be, for me, her dominant features appear to come from the Japanese side. Either way, she's beautiful! She's got a nice personality, tooーfunny and down to earth. That's a plus, definitely. It'll serve her well when she ends up moving away from modelling and doing more variety TV in Japan, which is the usual career path for models in Japan.

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