Being ‘hafu’ in Japan: Mixed-race people face ridicule, rejection

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TOKYO — Ariana Miyamoto was born and raised in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese. But she said most people in her homeland see her as a foreigner.

“My appearance isn’t Asian,” she said, “[but] I think I’m very much Japanese on the inside.”

Miyamoto, 21, was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American sailor who left Japan when she was a child. In Japan she’s considered a hafu, or half-Japanese. Some people prefer the term daburu to signify double heritage, but Miyamoto said she’s not offended by the word hafu.

“I don't think the equivalent word for hafu exists overseas, but in Japan you need it to explain who you are,” she said . . .