A Japanese-Belgian photographer who has interviewed half-Japanese people with backgrounds from nearly 100 countries released a book this month.
The book is a culmination of Tetsuro Miyazaki’s racial-identity project that grew to 120 interviews — all documented in its 150 pages. After more than two years of interviews, the Hafu2Hafu project will continue to explore what it means to be half-Japanese even after the book’s release.
The paperback photo book, titled “Hafu2Hafu: A Worldwide Photography Project About Japanese Mixed Identity”, is a stunning collection of black-and-white portraits of half-Japanese, or hafu, a word most often used within Japan to label a person with one Japanese parent.
The book comes over five years after the ground-breaking documentary film about hafu in Japan (simply titled “Hafu”). On each page, interviewees do not answer questions but actually pose a question to you, the viewer/reader, to foster dialogue and stimulate self-reflection about identity.
Just like the project itself, Miyazaki hopes the book can serve as both a conversation starter and a tool for mixed Japanese families between parents and children, among siblings and so on.
“For Japanese people with mixed backgrounds who have not met many others like them, I hope this book will help them realize they are unique indeed but not alone,” he says.
In 2017, Japan Today documented Miyazaki during one of his early interviews. His work got a mention in the New York Times, as well as other publications in Japan such as The Japan Times and GaijinPot.
The photo book was funded through a crowd-source campaign on Kickstarter.com which wrapped up in March 2018. It is bilingual in Japanese and English, has 98 “other” countries represented, ships worldwide and costs around ¥3,700. You can buy the book off his website.
Miyazaki is still looking to do interviews with other hafu. Find details on his website if you or someone you know is interested in participating.© Japan Today