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Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan (2013)

A journey into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experiences in modern day Japan. For some hafus, Japan is the only home they know, for some living in Japan is ... See full summary »


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A journey into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experiences in modern day Japan. For some hafus, Japan is the only home they know, for some living in Japan is an entirely new experience, and the others are caught somewhere between two different worlds. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

5 April 2013 (USA) See more »

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Written and Performed by Justin North
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User Reviews

A mixed rooted Japan
14 December 2015 | by pggirasoleSee all my reviews

When we think about US or Europe we cannot avoid thinking of a so called melting pot culture. Nowadays as a matter of fact many foreigners, once immigrants, refugees or simply people who wanted to change the place they lived, are making new our traditions, societies and economies. Sometimes they restored what was lost. This happens since people are living beings and society they create changes as well as and together with them. However another country of the so called developed world seems to be different. A country where a monolithic culture is said to be present. We are speaking about Japan. And if we think this way we are doing a huge mistake. For two main reasons. And this movies make us understand this more clearly. First, Japan has a culture made of an unique syncretism since centuries. Most of the writing as well the Buddhism and the tea arrived from the continent and the modern lifestyle from the West. Maybe nowhere, as in Japan, cultures were so accepted and suited by the people. Second, modern Japanese are traveling around the world as well as many people are visiting Japan for the same many reasons (work, tourism, study). Maybe in this second case the numbers are not so high as in other countries of the West (the 2% according to this movie) but still higher than in the past. This second reason in particular is important since it shows how Japan society is going to change or, if it hasn't already started, need to. People differ as well as cultures. But the feelings are the same. So loving someone and having a family is a natural fact. And a fact that can show a new social perspective, however, that can brings a lot of benefits too. This is what is going nowadays in Japan. A country facing a new reality. Or, in other words, a new challenge. Watching this film we understand that mixed roots families and new born children are rising. They are the so called Hafu or half people, mixed. And this production is about them. First of all this term is not offensive since only Japanese use it and with no racist intention. Then, as this movies explain, many of the hafu raised in Japan prefer living there still trying however to make them more accepted as an unique heritage of experience and point of view in a country facing a lot of problems. As the decreasing of birth rate. In addition, because of their mixed culture of origin they can help mutual understandings between Japan and the rest of the World,necessary in particular in this period of worldwide tension. On the other hand, we witness how Japanese half people raised outside the Land of Rising Sun, can visit it to discover their old heritage while growing up as individuals before going back. Since society is changing accepting the other is a challenge that, if won, can bring a lot of advantages. Japan can do it. As did in the past with cultural traditions. And this movie should make think how important is a new generation not only of Japanese half people but of new individuals that can make a place, in this case Japan, where different roots can be shared and join to create something new. The overall pace of this film is that of a documentary film with the stories of five hafu showing the hardships as well as the moments of happiness they have as any other else. But what makes this movie a good instrument of analysis, as well as a different view of society, is that underlines how the unique heritage this people have, must be considered not an obstacle but and advantage, not only for the themselves, but for all the society. For the future Japan. That, we hope, can be more mixed rooted. More HALF.

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