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Hello! My name is Ayana, and I am Japanese, Black, and Native American.

My American dad met my Japanese mother in Japan while he was in the Navy, and they fell deeply in love with each another.

My mom’s father was completely against the idea of his daughter getting married to an American man, and even refused to show up at the wedding.

It was only when I was born that he and both sides of my family finally accepted the fact that race had nothing to do with the genuine, strong love that human beings can have for one other.

As a Hapa individual who was born in Japan and grew up in Hawaii for the majority of my life, I feel so very blessed to have been surrounded by diverse cultures, traditions, and people.

Hawaii is just so diverse that it seems like the norm to be of mixed race there. Everyone is very open to celebrating all cultures, and I have been able to openly celebrate my Japanese culture without being judged or looked at differently. I feel very blessed and proud to call Hawaii my home!

As an individual, I am still struggling to find what makes me, “me”. Culturally, I have always identified more with my Japanese side, since Japanese was my first language, and it is evident that I have adapted the culture’s social mannerisms whenever I bow to others in respect.

However, I have always never fully fit in with my family in Japan, nor with my family in the South. For the longest time, I wished that I could look more like the race I identified more with so that people wouldn’t question why I acted “so Asian,” as my friends would jokingly describe it.

But after some time, I have finally realized that race is just one aspect of me, and that there are SO many other puzzle pieces that come together to make up who I am. And who I am is not half this, or part that. I am 100% Ayana, and that is how I will always identify myself.

Proud to be Hapa, and always will be! :)

3 thoughts on “Japanese, Black, Native American

  1. Thanks for posting your story! I was one of the original members of the Japan African-American friendship Association in the 1980s, and know that stories like yours are important. – Jenny

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