My name is Daniel Bruce Karikomi, and I am proud to be the son of a Japanese father and Danish mother. The house I was raised in didn’t contain any Japanese decor, it was a fairly Americanized home. However, some of my best memories are the family sushi dinners where everyone would make their favorite roll.
Growing up in the Midwest, there were very few Hapas around. Aside from my three older brothers, most of my best friends were Caucasian or African American. Consequently, while I was in lower school I associated myself as more “white” than anything. I was also closer with my mom’s side of the family, spending the majority of family get-togethers with them. Part of this was due to my grandmother and grandfather’s (dad’s side) poor health. They both suffered from Alzheimers and passed away when I was young.
As I got older this view deteriorated after frequently being referred to as just “Asian.” Eventually I came to somewhat of a racial identity crossroads. The first time I heard the term Hapa was from my third oldest brother. He also introduced me to one of my favorite books, “Part Asian, 100% Hapa” by Kip Fulbeck. I am very thankful of my family heritage, it’s something I’ve embraced and am more enthusiastic about when people ask the question about my race. Like Hapa Voice says, being Hapa is a celebration!