Ariana Miyamoto recently became the first hafu, or mixed-race Japanese, to be crowned Miss Universe Japan. But Miyamoto, who is ethnic Japanese and African American, is still facing online backlash for not being “Japanese enough”. From Kotaku:
Her selection has caused controversy online in Japan. Website Byokan Sunday and Naver Matome have a good round-up of comments that appeared on Twitter. Comments like, “Is it okay to select a hafu to represent Japan?” or “Because this is Miss Universe Japan, don’t you think hafu are a no-no?” When not wondering if this was “okay,” others said things like she didn’t look Japanese, her face was “too gaijin” or that the country deserved a “pure-blooded Japanese” (???? or “junnihon”) beauty instead. Elsewhere online, one commenter wrote, “It makes me uncomfortable to say she’s representing Japan.”
Watch Miyamoto’s address in Japanese at YouTube.
In other Hapa headlines at BuzzFeed, Arabelle Sicardi — a mixed-race Taiwanese American — writes about how watching Fresh Off the Boat was a bonding experience with her mother and made her realize how easy it had been for her to hide her Asian-ness:
The more of the show I watched, the more I understood my own childhood wasn’t just a series of unfortunate events related to my awkwardness, or my girlhood, but something much larger. I’d constantly faced racism as a mixed-race girl in school, and I’d chosen the easiest way through. Where Eddie struggles not for assimilation but for respect, I’d done the opposite. I’d been complicit in my own assimilation to whiteness because I was afraid of being disliked. Where Eddie fights against the bullies in his school and revels in his successful power plays episode after episode, I’d done the opposite. I didn’t bother eating the dried pork sandwiches my mother had made me the way Eddie eats his stinky tofu outside of school: I just starved, or saved up for my own Lunchables. There were no other Taiwanese kids in school with whom I could carpool, like Eddie, but I was so afraid of being seen with my mother that I’d ask my white father to be the one to pick me up from school.
I made my mother disappear from my story.
And check out Wisconsin high school student Maddie Schumacher, who has entered this spoken word performance in the Light the Stage Spoken Word Scholarship Competition. Her piece is aptly titled, “Mixed Opinion”.