by Chris MaGee
This past week The Japan Times reported on what sounds like a fascinating documentary currently being produced. Titled "Hafu" it explores just what it means to be half-Japanese in Japan, one of the most culturally homogeneous nations in the world. Directed by Lara Perez Takagi and Megumi Nishikura "Hafu" follows the lives of half-Ghanian/ half-Japanese entertainer and TV presenter David Yano (above) and Tetsuya Oi, his Mexican wife Gabriela and their two half-Japanese children, Alex and Sara. What happens to these people who are both Japanese, but also viewed by pure blood Japanese as "gaijin"?
Besides Perez Takagi and Nishikura half-Japanese/ half-Italian-American researcher Marcia Yumi Lise has been with the project from its inception in 2008. "There are a few TV programs on the older generation of half-Japanese people in Japan who were born as offspring of the Second World War — the American GIs and Japanese," Lise explains in the Japan Times article written by Nooshin Navidi, "but nothing on recent mixed race half-Japanese people. It's a really under-discussed area."
It's important to stress that "Hafu" is still in production and the fact that it's being independently produced means that it's been a struggle for the filmmakers to put the funds together to complete it. There have been fund-raising events occurring in Japan for the film, but you can help get the film finished wherever you live just by visiting the films official website and clicking on "Support Us".
You can read more about "Hafu" by reading the full Japan Times article here as well as checking out these interview clips from the project below.