Which Country Should Mixed People Say They’re From?
My father is Nigerian, and my mother is Japanese, but I was born and raised in Japan. I go to a Japanese school, and I embrace Japanese culture. My passport is also Japanese; basically, I wholly am a Japanese person.
However, I do not look Japanese. I have round milk chocolatey-brown eyes, long black curled eyelashes, and strong eyebrows. I also have a round nose and thick lips, and my naturally curly hair is the same bronzy color as my pupils.
No matter how you look at me, I am not "Japanese".
Nevertheless, my heart, soul, and nationality are all Japanese. When I am in Japan, I get treated as a foreigner, and because I am not a native English speaker, when I go overseas I get treated like a foreigner there too. Where am I not a foreigner? Where do I belong? These questions ate away at me in my adolescence.
But I have come to realize: no matter what anyone says, I am Japanese.
In America, people of many different backgrounds co-exist together. I heard that when people introduce themselves, they include their background. For example, they will say “I am African American”, or “I am Danish American”, and I found this really interesting.
Following this, I am African Japanese.
Appearance is just one part of someone’s identity, and you cannot judge someone based on this small bit of information.
The idea that people just assume your identity is such a frightening thing.
I will conclude my passage with something that piped my interest and raised many questions for me.
Famous American singer, Beyonce, and former president of the United States, Barack Obama, were both born to one white and one Black parent. However, they both identify as "Black". Why is this? Is it because their skin color is dark like a Black person?
How black does your skin color have to be, to be a Black person?
Would my children and grandchildren be considered Black people? I have no idea; it is a can of worms.
What I can say is this: do and think whatever you like. No matter what nationality you are, no matter your skin color, you decide who you want to be. Thus, I will continue to proudly call myself a "Japanese" person.
P.S. I am eternally grateful for my parents and grandparents who made sure I grew up healthily and who continuously supported my endeavors. I strive to be strong like them.
About Hanako Queen Takano
I am a ha-fu; my father is Nigerian and my mother is Japanese. I was born in Japan and raised like a Japanese person.
I am currently 21 years old and in my third year of university.
I was always very troubled by the fact that I look different to the people around me. However, thanks to the family and friends I was blessed with, the appearance that caused me so much grief is what I now consider my strength.
I hope that my article reaches many readers and that these readers can deepen their understanding of ha-fus and our experiences.
Connect with Hanako
Translated by Ariel Tjeuw
Edited by Emiru Okada