Posted by achimrunnebaum on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 (Japan Standard Time)

HAFU

Looking at the Mixed-Race Experience in Japan

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While a somewhat normal sight in most countries these days, being “Hafu” or half, is still a rarity in Japan, and people born to mixed-race parents are still seen as rather “special”.  This can be both a blessing and a curse for some, as it makes fitting into the homogenous Japanese Society much more difficult and brings with it a special set of challenges.

The award-winning movie “HAFU” not only addresses this unique social issue, but also tries to bring it to the forefront and promote understanding of multiculturalism in Japan.  Having also grown up in two worlds, Filmmakers Megumi Nishikura, and Lara Perez Takagi became involved in the the Hafu project in 2009, and whose efforts eventually culminated in this full-length feature film.

After 3 years of research, interviews, and filming, the film was finally completed in April 2013 and has been shown to audiences all over the world since.  It has received glowing reviews wherever it was shown, and now its finally coming to Nagoya as well.

Told from the perspectives of mixed-race individuals, who serve as the movie’s protagonists, it tugs at the viewer’s heartstrings, revealing deep, emotionally-filled  stories of people who grew up HAFU. Each interviewee has a story to tell, rich with emotion and observation.  It is an insightful look at the lives of mixed-race individuals in search of their identity in a largely homogenous society.  Their trials and tribulations are brought to the forefront through deeply personal stories in the context of their multicultural and multinational upbringing. 

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If you're interested in seeing this excellent movie, and want to get a small glimpse into what its like being HAFU, there's a special showing coming to Nagoya from March 1st to the 10th at Nagoya Cinemateque.  You can find more information about it at the Hafu website.

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Sincere, emotional, raw, and true to its message, this is an event that should not be missed.... If you're in Nagoya, hope to see you at the Nagoya Cinemateque; if you're not in Nagoya, look on the movie's screening page to find a screening in your area.  Either way, everyone living in Japan, comes from a mixed-race background, or is interested in a pertinent cultural issue should see this movie - it will truly open your eyes.  Oh, and if you read through all the ending credits, you might see some familiar names.  :-D

Hafu Official Website
http://hafufilm.com/

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Achim Runnebaum
Freelance Photographer, Writer, and Journalist. Achim was born in Germany, raised in the States, and is currently living in Japan.
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