WE DID IT! Over the last 44 days we have raised $24,029. We could have never done it with out support of all of you. Thank you!! This film is truly a creation of all our desire to share the stories of the Hafu Experience.
"Hafu" is the unfolding journey of discovery into the intricacies of mixed-race Japanese and their multicultural experience in modern day Japan. The film follows the lives of 5 "hafus"--the Japanese term for people who are half-Japanese--and by virtue of the fact that living in Japan, they are forced to explore what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a nation that once proudly proclaimed itself as the mono-ethnic nation.
As the ?rst feature length broadcast-able documentary to explore the experiences of hafus and produced by a team of hafus, this ?lm aims to show both the joy and the sorrows, the struggle for acceptance, the funny moments in cultural misunderstanding, and ultimately the self-empowerment that occurs as these individuals come to terms with who they are.
Meet the Hafus
Sophia (Australia x Japan) Raised entirely in Sydney, at 27, Sophia decided it was now or never for her to explore her Japanese heritage and arrived to Tokyo leaving behind friends and family. Will Japan live up to expectations sheï¿½s held for so long? Will she be able to integrate? and ultimately how will she identify after some time here?
David (Ghana x Japan) David was born in Ghana and at age of 6 moved to Tokyo with his family. His parents divorced when he was 10. The next 8 years were spent in an orphanage with his two brothers. When David went back to Ghana for the ?rst time in his early 20s, he realized how blessed he was to have grown up in Japan. He is now determined to build a school back in Ghana and get in touch with this other side.
Edward (Venezuela x Japan) was raised entirely by his Japanese mom in Japan. Because he went through the international school system, he never felt he was truly part of Japanese society. In 2006 with boom of social network services, Ed began connecting with other hafus and formed Mixed Roots Kansai, which is now one of the most established multi-cultural communities in Japan. He is now working towards creating a large academic discourse on multicultural Japan.
Fusae (Korea x Japan) was born and raised in Kobe, Japan, to a Korean Japanese father, a naturalised Japanese citizen, and a Japanese mother. She learnt of her Korean roots when she was 16 from her mother- a traumatic experience for her at the time. 18 years later she is still struggling to redefine her place in society as a Korean/Japanese descendant.
The Oi Family (Mexico x Japan). Gaby and Tetsu decided to send their son Alex (9) and duaghter Sara (7) to Japanese elementary school. However, Alex began showing physical symptoms of stress due to the teasing he receives from his classmates for being a hafu. His parents have made the tough decision of sending him to the expensive international school. Alex will begin at his new school in August while Sara will continue to at Japanese school. Through the Oi's, this ?lm will explore the tough decisions parents have to make in raising multicultural children.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, one in thirty babies born in Japan today are born to a couple where at least one of the parents is not Japanese. This newly emerging minority in Japan is under-documented and under-explored in both literature and media. The feature-length HD documentary ?lm, "Hafu - the experience of mixed-race Japanese" seeks to rectify this gap.
This ?lm will explore the themes of race, diversity, multiculturalism, nationality, and identity within the mixed-race community of Japan. And through this exploration, it seeks to answer: What does it mean to be hafu?; What does it means to be Japanese?; and ultimately, What does this mean for Japan?
It is our hope through that by giving an intimate glimpse into the every day lives of 5 mixed-Japanese, this film will break down stereotypes and open up a dialogue about the mixed race experience.
Regardless of where you are from or what your background is, this is not just the story of the half-Japanese experience but a greater story of our desire to find acceptance from those around us and ultimately within our selves.
What We Need & What You Get
We are thrilled that you are interested in keeping this project going!
We will aim to screen this at internationally recognized film festivals and ultimately want to get this aired on Japanese television.
However, in order for us to get there, we need raise 1 million yen or approximately 10,000 US dollars to cover post-production which entails editing, sound mixing and subtitling.
By contributing to this project, not only can you participate in the making of the film and ensure that it gets completed, but you can also get your hands on some really fun gifts like music albums and paintings from some of our favorite half-Japanese artists. Check the right hand of the screen to pick out a gift!
Other Ways You Can Help
Share this campaign with your friends and family. Whether you post a link on Facebook or Twitter, or on your own blog, weï¿½d love for you to help us spread the word. You can also click onto our comments tab to give us feedback and start a discussion!
Meet the Filmmakers
A graduate of New York Universityï¿½s Tisch School of Arts in Film and Television Production, she has produced documentaries for the United Nations, Associated Press, and various NGOs and foundations. Her films have been screened on television, at film festivals, at the 2004 World Social Forum and at the Whitney Museum of American Art 2006 Biannual in New York City.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Megumi has also lived in Manila, Beijing, Honolulu, New York, DC, London, Berlin and Los Angeles. She is passionate about addressing global and social issues through the power of film and video and attributes her drive for filmmaking to her multicultural upbringing.
Lara Perez Takagi
Graduated with a degree in Audiovisual Communications and Multimedia Science in Madrid, at the Francisco de Vitoria and Complutense University, where she wrote and directed short films and several promotion videos. Shortly thereafter, she came to Tokyo on a prestigious Government Scholarship and completed a MA in Multimedia Science and Arts at Waseda Universityï¿½s Graduate School of GITS. There she directed her first long-length documentary ï¿½Madrid x Tokyoï¿½ that was shown in the opening week of the Cervantes Institute of Tokyo.
Lara was born in Tokyo and raised in various cities around the World (DC, Ottawa, Madrid and Sydney). Her father is Spanish and her mother is Japanese. For the past 6 years she has been exploring her dual heritage while working as a freelancer for various Japanese production companies.
Marcia Yumi Lise
Marcia is the co-founder, researcher and adviser of the Hafu Project, a collaborative project of photography and research exploring the identity of half Japanese people. Her ?rst exhibition was set in London, UK at Bodhi Gallery. Her expertise lies in the area of culture, race, nationality and identity. In August 2009, the exhibition of her work took place at the 3331 Gallery in Tokyo. As one of the leading researchers on the subject of hafus, Marcia's expertise is indispensable when it comes to poignantly addressing the many complexities that will arise in making this ?lm. Three of the five characters selected for the ?lm have come out of the already 60 plus interviews she has conducted. She is of Japanese and Italian-American mix.
We are incredibly grateful to have an amazing group of people that have given us their time and expertise because they believe in us and what we are doing.
We have formed a strong team of people to work on this ?lm. Many of them are hafus themselves. This includes motion graphics artist Ken Tanabe (American-Japanese), graphic designer Erika Nishizato (American-Japanese), music composers Winton White and Kris Roche (both American- Japanese). Translation and subtitling by John Knieriem, Max Powers, and Chika Watanabe. PR and Fundraising Coordinator Erika Wiseberg (American-Japanese).
Perk "The Hafu Project Booklet"
One thing you may or may not know is that our project evolved out of the Hafu Japanese Project. The Hafu Japanese project is: "an ongoing project that creates a dialogue about being in between cultures. By increasing discussions about culture, ï¿½raceï¿½ and ethnicity we hope to achieve a deeper understanding of these issues. For this reason we actively give public lectures and organize events.ï¿½
They recently produced their first publication ï¿½ a 40-page full color A4 brochure -which gives you an insight into the lives of hafus. The booklet also provides facts and figures on Japanï¿½s changing population and diversity.
Perk "The Musician"
Listen to their music samples here.
Danny Katz (http://www.dannykatz.com/)
80s flavored folk-pop. The prodigal son of Coldplay and The Indigo Girls, Danny is currently touring to promote "Japanese Satellites," his seventh studio album. Proficient in guitar, piano and jiuta-shamisen, Danny entertains audiences throughout the U.S. and Japan with unique covers, such as a folk version of Missy Elliot's "Work It," and his originals, which cover topics from the quirky to the hopelessly romantic. While he recorded a comedy album, "More Than Meets the Ear: Sections from Transformers the Musical," in 2007, "Japanese Satellites" is his first major project since 2006's "Strangely Beautiful."
Emi Evans (http://emievans.net/)
is a British freelance singer, composer, and songwriter who has been living in Tokyo since 2000. London born and Nottingham bred with a Japanese mum and an English dad, Emi grew up playing the cello, singing in church choir, and writing songs on the piano.
Avant Garde is a club pop duo with a dual existence as one of J-Pop's top go-to teams. Vocalist and songwriter Uchida, the daughter of a caucasian mother and Japanese father, spent most of her life in the United States, where she studied classical piano and sang in the Seattle Symphony Chorus before returning in her late 20s to Japan to pursue music.Avant Garde makes music that runs the stylistic gamut - from electronica to ballads to jazzy numbers.
ColdFeet (http://www.coldfeet.net/) is a band duo that features composer/vocalist LORI, the daughter of an American clinical psychologist father and Japanese harp-playing mother.Their music consists of a unique and inventive sound that retains the appeal of pop while embracing the bite of new wave, jazz and rock.
Perk "The Writer"$35
Holly Thompson, "Orchards" Young Adult Fiction (5 copies) NEW PERK!
How do you know if youï¿½re responsible? After a bullied classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg is sent to her familyï¿½s home in Japan for the summer. Kana wasnï¿½t the bully, not exactly, but she didnï¿½t do anything to stop what happened, either. As Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels, news from home sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
Roland Kelts, "Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S" (1 Copy Left)
Japanamerica is the first book that directly addresses the American experience with the Japanese pop phenomenon, covering everything from Hayao Miyazaki's epics, the burgeoning world of hentai, or violent pornographic anime, and Puffy Amiyumi, whose exploits are broadcast daily on the Cartoon Network, to literary novelist Haruki Murakami, and more. With insights from the artists, critics, readers and fans from both nations, this book is as literate as it is hip, highlighting the shared conflicts as both pop cultures collide in the here and now.
Laurel Kamada, "Hybrid Identites and Adolescent Girls: Being 'half' in Japan" (SOLD OUT)
This book examines the ethnic, gendered, and embodied 'hybrid' identities of 'half-Japanese' girls in Japan, colorfully narrated through their own voices. The girls struggle to positively construct their identities into positions of control over disempowering discourses of 'otherness', while also celebrating cultural capital as they negotiate their constructed identities of 'Japaneseness', 'whiteness' and 'halfness/doubleness'.
Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu "Multicultural Encounters: Case Narratives from a Counseling Practice"(2 Copies)
Mulicultural Encounters is an engaging set of stories of the author's therapeutic conversations with hafu and other clients of diverse cultural backgrounds. Kawai Hayao, Japan's former Minister of Culture praised it and reviewers in the U.S. called it "revolutionary" and "destined to become a classic in its field."
Japanese Translated Books:
Stephen Murphy Shigematsu "Amerajian no Kodomotachi"(Amerasian Children: An unknown minority problem) (2 Copies)
Amerasian Children narrates the author's discoveries as he meets hafu in the U.S. and Japan. It is a groundbreaking book that introduced hafu to the Japanese public. It is widely used in college courses and a section is reprinted in the nationally used junior high school social studies text KOUMIN: ATARASHII SHAKAI
Spanish Translated Books:
(In spanish, please read http://wp.me/p1xXW7-4G)
Kayoko Takagi and Clara Janes, "9 Piezas de Teatro No"(2 Copies)
An anthology of Noh, or traditional Japanese plays, this book contains plays with memorable characters including powerful gods, fearless samurai, faithful women and otherworldly ghosts. It also has accompanying text and images from the original editions, as well as a documented introduction and glossary.
Tawara Machi, "Aniversario de la Ensalada"(2 Copies)
This best selling collection of poems was awarded the 32nd Modern Japanese Poets Association Award. The author is known for tackling modern Japanese subjects using classical forms of poetry, making it more accessible to Japan's modern youth.
"El Espiritu del Agua, Los Cuentos Tradicionales Japoneses"(1 Copy)
A collection of 32 Japanese folk tales, the anthology illustrates the classic themes of imaginary Japan including real and fictional animals and ethereal women.
Kenzaburo Oe, "Renacimiento"(1 Copy)
This novel by the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature is a moving tale about the hope that is born from a tragic situation. In the book, the main character, Goro goes on a soul-searching trip to Germany to discover clues on why his brother-in-law committed suicide.
Perk "The Artist" $100
Jayson Carpenter (2 prints left) is a photographer based in San Francisco specializing in humanitarian, commercial, editorial, travel and people photography. He has traveled to Japan numerous times and was active in the volunteer efforts in the Tohoku area this past spring. The Taxi Photograph print is 11x 14inches.
Asuka Ito Jewelry Artist (Please choose from one of the rings shown above)
My inspirations come from Japanese ancient philosophy that values nature and Latin-American joy. The brand name "Arï¿½ndanos" means Blueberries in Spanish. Just like the sweet and sour taste of this fruit, I would like to keep on making cute and sophisticated accessories. I've started making accessories by myself, because I was seeking for cute ones, but I couldn't find many, and also I really enjoy making them on my own time. I LOVE THE MIXTURE OF JAPANESE AND LATIN AMERICAN ESSENCES.
Mya Jewelry Artist (Please choose from one of the earrings shown above)
Mya was born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1987. A graduate of Sophia University in Hispanic Studies( Languages & Cultural studies in Spain and Latin America countries). She started to learn English and having a communication with foreign people when she was 3 years old. She lived in Madrid from 2007 to 2008 as an exchange student and majored in History of Arts at Universidad Autï¿½noma de Madrid. Now she works at Tokyu Department Store Head Office with her Japanese,Spanish and English skills for serving non-Japanese speaker customers from overseas.
Ikon (Visual Artist/Filmmaker) was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. A multidisciplinary visual artist and filmmaker mainly focusing on issues of identity, personal expression and experimenting with different elements and forms. Working with current affairs, futuristic projects and art development collaboratively and individually. "One Eye Open" is a series of short films, Ikon made reflecting upon his one year living in Japan.
David Cutrano (Digital Media/Design) Photograph Print 9 ï¿½ 12" picture
My artistic interests are vast and I often find them overlapping. This makes it difficult for me to declare any one field as my concentration. I go through phases and shifts in personality and mindset. This often dictates the medium with which I work. The consistency however, is that no matter the medium,
I've taken a minute particle of thought, developed it into an idea and (with a little luck) brought it to manifestation in physical form. I find this the ultimate satisfaction and a strong metric towards the measure of success.
This photograph of a Japanese garden is my attempt to gain an understanding of my own existence. I canï¿½t explain the feeling that overcomes me when I visit a place like this. The best I can do is attempt to capture itï¿½s essence as it appears to me; an abstract, dreamlike recollection of a familiar place once visited.
Ken Niimura (Illustrator) SOLD OUT At the crossroad of Japanese, European and American traditions, JM Ken Niimura (born in Madrid, October 19, 1981) has developed a dynamic, vibrant and humorous style of his own. His comics can be read in six languages and his illustrations have been seen in many countries. Active in the self-publishing field, he won several contests. The publication of I Kill Giants brought him to the attention of the American industry, earning him and writer Joe Kelly a nomination to both the Eisner and Eagle Awards. JM Ken Niimura now lives between Madrid and Montrï¿½al, flying off to Tokyo whenever he gets the chance.
Michael Arias is an American-born filmmaker active primarily in Japan. Though Arias has worked variously as visual effects artist, animation software developer, and producer, he is best known for his directorial debut, the anime feature on Tekkonkinkreet, which established him as the first non-Japanese director of a major anime film.
Takeaki Yamazaki (SOLD OUT) Painting Size 20cmX25cm (8"X10"). Takeaki Yamazaki is obsessed. He is obsessed with obsession. Born and raised mostly in southern California, the land of phantasy and facade drove him to travel to satisfy his wanderlust. Moving to Japan and back a few times provided the opportunity to explore other states of consciousness and creativity through another cultural perspective. Creativity is the primary obsession that drives Takeaki, presenting him the will to constantly experience life anew. Taking a 'renaissance man' approach towards creativity, he is an avid explorer in various ways of artistic expression: writing, music, painting, drawing, and more recently, concocting installations pieces.
Jun-Pierre Shiozawa (SOLD OUT) Ink Sketch. Born in the United States, Jun-Pierre Shiozawa is a half Japanese, half French artist currently living in Greece. He has had exhibitions in the United States, Japan and France. Jun-Pierre currently teaches painting and drawing at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece. http://junpierre.net/
Anna Stassen (SOLD OUT) Bracelet, neckless
"Sakura" is the Japanese word for "cherry blossom". It is a name I chose because my hope for my designs is for them to be delicate, luminous, ephemeral and beautiful like Sakura and I also wanted to honour my half-Japanese heritage. This is also why Sakura feature quite prominently in some of my designs.