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‘Halfies’ and hapa the norm elsewhere

Hapa haole celebrated in Hawaii

I’m writing about an article published in your newspaper and written by Ryan Surdick with the title “There is more to my son than the fact he’s a ‘half’ “(The Foreign Element, July 29).

A perspective from Hawaii where my two children are “half” and who are here called hapa haole:

The Hawaiian term hapa (meaning “half”) has no negative connotation here; it’s just a description of the person’s dual ethnicity. And, here in Hawaii, it’s so common and expected.

Of course, that is the nature of our diverse peoples here compared to Japan’s people.

WILLIAM ROKUYO HIGA
Hilo, Hawaii

‘Halfies’ use term with pride

My daughter is half-Japanese, half Greek/Australian and is now 18 years old and just finishing high school.

Here in Australia they call themselves “halfies” and they say it with a sense of pride. Interracial relationships are becoming the norm everywhere; it’s a badge of honor to be mixed-race now.

My daughter often asks me (tongue in cheek), “You’re an Australian-born Greek and Dad is a Japanese-born American, so what does that make me?”

To which my answer is always, “It makes you interesting!”

JULIETTE MITSUTSUNE
Melbourne, Australia

An asset in Southeast Asia

Everywhere in Southeast Asia it is exactly the same [regarding the extra attention that mixed-race children receive] and, even better, it is good when it comes to getting work in TV advertisements, etc.

My half-Indonesian kid will always be called an “albino,” and if he is male, the girls will all like him.

A. WILLIAM RUSCOE
Kupang, Indonesia

Chill out, new dad

So what if your child is labeled a “half”? I find that reaction overly PC and irritating, much like the cultural climate in the U.S., where I currently reside.

I am a half that grew up in Yokohama, and though I’m no longer a permanent resident, I have no issues with anyone calling me a half because that is what I am. I am half-Japanese. It defines a huge part of my identity.

It’s no different than being told you have curly hair or big hands. If you find being told you have big hands offensive, then I suggest you grow thicker skin.

I can only speak from personal experience but I’ve never felt undermined or put down by the “reverse discrimination” I’ve received by being a half.

To each their own, but chill out, new dad!

BONNIE ELLIOTT
Yokohama

Send all your comments on these issues to community@japantimes.co.jp .

  • Iain Macpherson

    Spot on, Bonnie!