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What it means to be a mixed-race model in Japan

November 11, 2019

Latest company case about What it means to be a mixed-race model in Japan
or 18-year-old model Rina Fukushi, Tokyo is home. But growing up as a mixed-race child in Japan wasn't always easy. With a Japanese-American father and a Filipina mother, Fukushi was one of a growing number of biracial individuals identifying as "hafu" -- a phonetic play on the English word "half."
"I was teased when I was in elementary and junior high school because I looked foreign," she recalled in an interview with CNN.
The term hafu was first popularized in the 1970s as Japan loosened its approach towards foreign residents, giving them better access to public housing, insurance and job opportunities. An increased number of US soldiers in the country also contributed to an upsurge in mixed-race marriages and biracial children.
Despite increasingly progressive attitudes towards race in Japan, the country's immigration numbers have remained comparatively low. Foreigners and their hafu children often live as outsiders, a topic explored in the 2011 documentary "Hafu: The Mixed Race Experience in Japan."
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