The word hafu (ハーフ hāfu?) is used in Japanese to refer to somebody who is biracial, i.e. ethnically half Japanese. The label emerged in the 1970s in Japan and is now the most commonly used label and preferred term of self-definition. The word hafu comes from the English word "half" indicating half foreign-ness.

Fashionable images of the half-Japanese people have become prominent especially with the increased appearance of hafu in the Japanese media. Hafu now fill the pages of fashion magazines such as Non-no, Can Can and Vivi as models and seen on TV screens as often as newsreaders or celebrities. To name a few, these include people like celebrity tarento Becky (British/Japanese), newscaster Christel Takigawa (French/Japanese), and models Kaela Kimura (British/Japanese) and Anna Umemiya (American/Japanese). The appearance of hafu in the media has provided the basis for a vivid image of hafu.

One of the earliest terms referring to half Japanese was ainoko, meaning a child born of a relationship between two difference races. This label however inferred social problems such as poverty, impurity and discrimination due to the negative treatment of hafu back then in the 1940s. The word was then gradually replaced from the late 1950s by the label konketsuji (混血児) which literally means a child of mixed blood. However, soon this too became a taboo term due to its derogatory connotations such as illegitimacy and discrimination. What were central to these labels were the emphasis on 'blood impurity' and the obvious separation of the half-Japanese from the majority of Japanese. Some English-speaking parents of children of mixed ethnicity use the word "double"[1]

List of Some Well-known hafu


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