Simon Clements has travelled over an hour and a half from Kumamoto to the KBC Cinema near Tenjin to attend the sold out Fukuoka Now screening of Hafu with his Japanese wife and three of their children. “I thought it would be good for them to see what other kids have gone through as ‘half’ – although I don’t like that word” he tells us. They take their seats in the busy cinema, finding their place among the crowd, many of whom are also part of mixed families and relationships.
Hafu is a documentary which follows the experiences of five young people of mixed heritage, or ‘hafu’ as they are still commonly known in Japanese, in a country where only 2% of the population are foreign, yet mixed marriages are on the increase. The film was inspired by a social research and photography project exploring what it means to be half-Japanese in Japan and around the world.
Since its release earlier this year, Hafu has been shown in various cities worldwide and Fukuoka Now’s event is the first time the film has been shown in Kyushu. All 150 tickets were snapped up before the Sunday afternoon screening and a short survey published on the magazine website prior to the event attracted a range of responses – 72% of respondents say that they have seen, heard or experienced some form of discrimination against those called ‘hafu’. […]