Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Hafu" - a phrase that really misses the point

The word "half" is not one of my favourites. It's used in Japan and many other countries as almost a throw away comment to describe the children of international marriages and again on television this morning they were talking about it. To me it comes with something of an unthinking disregard for the individual and almost a disrespect for their character. To me there is no such thing as a "half".

The children of an international marriage were born with two cultures wherever they may choose to live. They probably have dual language ability and a knowledge, if not a respect, for two cultures. They'll have worked hard to understand their double identity and harder still to understand the nuances of communication that goes beyond simply speaking. 

These children are remarkable in their achievements. There is nothing really "half" about them but there is a lot that is "double". A friend recently asked me how to approach the subject with his new baby girl as she grows up. The only advice I could offer was "with envy". These double children have so much more to experience in their lives, so much more than us plain old "singles".

Miss Universe Japan 2015 - Ariana Miyamoto

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