Nihongo

Hāfu Meaning

A Tribe Called Hāfu (Medium)

Hāfu is term used to describe people who’s origins are half Japanese, for example one of their parents is of full Japanese blood by lineage, and the other parent is non-Japanese. Currently in Japan, about 1 in 30 births are considered to be hāfu. Outside of Japan, there are large hāfu communities in Hawaii, Brazil and along the west coast of America.

The word itself is written in Japanese as ハーフ, using katakana syllabary to connote that it is a foreign loan word, deriving from the English word ‘half.’

In the 90s in the United States, particularly in California and the West Coast, half Asians, including half Japanese, began to use the term ‘hapa,’ from the Hawaiian word for ‘half’. However, over time, native Hawaiians objected to the appropriation of their native term, and it’s usage beyond the traditional Hawaiian usage. Since that evolution, half Japanese have transitioned to using hāfu, as it is more native to the Japanese use of the term.

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