Birthed from the Hafu Project, the Hafu Film is a documentary that follows 5 half Japanese subjects as they explore their identity and place in modern day Japan. It is expected to be released next year.
Erika Wiseburg of the project describes the film as “an attempt to open the channels of communication and break down stereotypes that are so prevalent (in Japan)”.
Hafu Film is currently running an “Indie Go Go” campaign (For those who don’t know, Indie Go Go is a site where different artists can introduce their projects and ask for pledges in exchange for gifts). The directors of the film are looking for donations to help with post production.
For $10 you can get a postcard from the directors and a shout out on facebook. For $50 you can get a copy of the DVD, and for $100, you can receive artwork from a half-Japanese artist or your name in the end credits. The campaign runs until December 11th.
As a half myself, I am very intrigued by what these individuals will say about their experience. On the website for the film, the creators refer to the feeling of “being an outsider” in one’s own culture, or being regarded as such by full-blooded Japanese, a feeling I am certainly familiar with. I was bullied by my white-er classmates in NY for being Japanese, and when my well-intentioned parents took me to a Japanese summer camp, I was bullied there as well for being only half Japanese.
However, I have found my positive experiences of meeting other half-Japanese more rewarding than my negative experiences are discouraging. Before my most recent move to Japan in 2009, I had met only a few half-Japanese in my life; I became acquainted with severalfold this number over the past 2 years, an experience that has been a catalyst for revisiting the ever-problematic issue of my cultural identity. Maybe as a reaction to the difficult socialization process I underwent in my younger years, I tend to define myself by my intellectual interests, my political opinions, and by other purely cerebral points; discussing the ways in which we are defined, not by choice but by pure circumstance, is a different way of connecting with people, and an experience that had been missing from my life.
I’m happy to see this conversation happening. The brochure cites that 1 in 30 babies born in Japan today are of mixed race, and over the past 10 years in the United States, the number of mixed-race children in America has risen by 50%. If you yourself are not a hafu, you probably know someone who is (besides of course, the most famous one of all- President Obama).
We will keep you posted on its official release date. Check out their indie go go site for some preliminary profiles of half-japanese or to donate: http://www.indiegogo.