Hi everyone, my name is Barbara.
I am Irish and Danish through Dad, and pure Japanese through Mom. My parents met in Japan when my Dad was stationed there in the 50’s. My parents came to the US in the 60’s and my Mom became a part of that big American melting pot.
I was born in California but we moved on over to Hawaii when I was around 2, after Dad was transferred to Pearl Harbor. That’s where I grew up and lived the first half of my life. I was so lucky to end up there as Hawaii is Hapa paradise! Hawaii is the best place in the world to grow up.
Being raised in Hawaii gave me values from a young age. That is why my experience there was rarely negative. I never had people who made fun of or left me out because of my origins.
I was in my 20’s when I left the islands and moved to Europe. I’ve made a new life here and have been living in France for a long time.
My father is Thai Chinese and my mother is American.
Being raised half of my life in Thailand and the other half in the States has been great. Great life experience and knowledge.
But I do have to say (in my opinion) that you really understand that you’re different when you’re living in an Asian country. Continue reading
I was abandoned at 12 months, in part because I am Hapa.
I was adopted in 1963 from South Korea and my adoptive parents were told that I was mixed with GI.
In 2002, my daughter Melissa was diagnosed with Cantonese Cancer (nasopharyngeal carcinoma). She underwent successful cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Continue reading
Growing up, I never questioned who I was or what I was. I was simply me.
In middle school and high school, I was known as Asian. Everyone knew I had an Asian half to me, and it was never questioned. Upon moving to Japan for college, I was questioned left and right.
Some people had to ask what I was, some people assumed I was full Caucasian, and some people disagreed with me when I told them I was half-Japanese.
A year ago, I went through an identity crisis that left me depressed and more confused than ever. I used to not care what people thought of me, but living in Japan and being doubted has made me feel the need to prove myself.
When I was in kindergarten, some kids sang the “Chinese-Japanese Dirty Knees” song to me. It made my mom sad when I came home and asked her what it meant. That’s when I first felt like an outsider.
It’s been a long road from there to embracing my Hapa heritage.
Some of my ancestors rode to the New World in a ship called the Ark and the Dove; others were samurai knights and Buddhist priests. Continue reading
You’ll see on the left a group of good-looking individuals.
These are some of the proud Hapas that I’ve met over the years as an international student living in Asia. The fine collection includes mixes of Japanese, Austrian, Filipino, American, Taiwanese, Dutch and Mexican heritage.
Like me, they have been told, “You have to choose; you can’t be both” and have been asked countless times, “What are you?” I just want to thank them and everyone on this site for sharing the joys and hardships they’ve faced as being multiracial, and for voicing their stories. Continue reading
My mother is Chinese, father is American, except his father is from Montreal, and his mother has things like Italian/ Irish/ British/ Native American decent.
But I don’t really count that. Any drop of Native American in me ran out the last time I got a paper cut.
I live in Shanghai atm. And am a proud Hapa :)
Hi Hapas :)
My name is Lisa. My father is Vietnamese and my mother is of mixed European descent (English, Irish, German). Simply put, ‘white’ lol.
Both of their families were against the marriage at first (1970′s). There was a critical moment when my mother’s father refused to attend the wedding, but after some loving/firm words from the pastor, he agreed.
Things worked out in the end, and I think my 2 sisters and I did not turn out as ‘confused’ as my grandfather feared. Maybe a little ;)
Like many of you, my sisters and I got a lot of “what are you?” growing up. Although living in the diverse Bay Area of California certainly helped, sometimes I wished no one had to ask. I feel fortunate not to have experienced the schoolyard taunts some of you have endured though.
I think my sisters and I tend to identify being ‘American’ rather than ‘Vietnamese’ or even ‘Vietnamese American’ due to not being taught the Vietnamese language and having limited cultural exposure to Vietnamese life, aside from occasional family parties and weekly trips to the noodle house for bowls of pho at lunchtime. YUM!
As kids, my sisters and I found solidarity in spotting other ‘half kids’ whenever we went out as a family (although I’m sure there were many others that went unnoticed!) I agree with many of you, it certainly helps to know that you are NOT ALONE! Continue reading
Hi, I’m Jen Mak. I’m British, Cantonese, American, and a New Yorker at heart.
I think race is a fascinating social construction that I have gratefully been forced to think a lot about growing up.
We as humans have the tendency to gravitate towards people like us. So what happens when there is nobody that shares our physical features? Or when the people who do share our features don’t share our cultural beliefs?
I was raised in Rockland, New York. I went to a school that was predominantly Black and Hispanic, with a small Hasidic Jewish community as well.
Up until I was 10, my world had no color. I identified as the daughter of immigrants and seemed to blend in among the large community of Haitian immigrants. Continue reading