Stop Fantasizing that Mixed Children Are Beautiful! – Our Days of Fighting Against the Annoying “Pure Japanese”
Written by Sandra Haefelin
Reviewed and Recommended by eureka
I have some friends who are foreigners or so-called hāfu, or racially mixed Japanese. Although I want to believe that I do not have ‘fantasies’ about them, I may have had the kind of misunderstanding that the author points out. I regretfully remember being convinced by Yōko Kirishima, an essayist whose three children are all half Japanese and half American and fashion models, when she wrote, “hāfu look attractive.”
As the title suggests, a half Japanese and a half German author narrates how she encounters fantasies, assumptions, and bias that the Japanese possess about hāfu. If you imagine that hāfu are beautiful/handsome and have fancy jobs such as fashion models and anchorpersons, you would realize how biased your imagination is, after reading the reality presented by this book. The book also presents an interesting comparative study of cultures.
One of the disturbing questions that hāfu people are often asked in their first meetings with the Japanese is “how did your parents meet each other?” On the other hand, parents themselves trouble them. They usually do not share the experience of being a ‘half’ Japanese with their children. Illusions about hāfu obsess their parents, too. Not understanding bias that hāfu are facing, parents distress children. The author does not forget to mention the stress parents go through to raise hāfu children. Communication gap between both sides reminds me of children who are gay feeling alienated from their parents.
When the mother of a hāfu person is non-Japanese, a prejudice like “women from foreign countries are promiscuous.” deeply hurts hāfu. The author sharply points out that this is a loop of bias that extends to all countries. I hope the author will write another book focusing on gender issues.
The title of the book is excellent. Although WAN’s book review is supposed to have a different title from that of the reviewed book itself, I cannot imagine a better one for this book.
Translated by Atsuko Ishikawa
Original article by eureka (July 12, 2012)