Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 14 No. 2, Spring 2017

Document Type

Full Issue



Editor's Introduction by Melissa Dale

This issue presents the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea.

Eurasians and Racial Capital in a "Race War" by W. Puck Brecher

The ubiquity of racist propaganda in Japan and the U.S. during the Pacific War and the extraordinary cruelty of the fighting have fostered the perception that Japanese and Americans harbored a deep racial hatred for each other. Indeed, historical research convincingly interprets the Pacific War as a “race war” within the contexts of military engagement and state rhetoric. We know little, however, about how resident Westerners lived and interacted with Japanese during the war and whether they became victims of racial hatred. This article explores the impacts of state ideology on Japanese citizens’ racial attitudes by examining the treatment and experiences of mixed-race individuals, and Eurasians particularly, stranded in Japan during the war. In doing so, it contextualizes and corrects harmful allegations of racism among civilian Japanese.

Erasure, Solidarity, Duplicity: Interracial Experience across Colonial Hong Kong and Foreign Enclaves in China from the late 1800s to the 1980s by Vicky Lee

How were Eurasians perceived and classified in Hong Kong and China during this hundred-year period? Blood admixture was only one of many ways: others included patrilineal descent, choice of family name, and socio-economic background. Family-imposed silence on one’s Eurasian background remained strong, and individual attempts to erase one’s Eurasian identity were common for survival reasons. It is no wonder that government authorities often had difficulty quantifying their Eurasian population. What experiences of erasure of Eurasianness were shared both collectively and individually? A strong sense of Eurasian solidarity was manifested in different forms, such as intermarriage and community cemeteries. Duplicity was another common element in their experience: Name-changing practices and submission to the new Japanese government during the Occupation sometimes rendered Eurasians suspect during and after wartime. Memoirs reflect the constant psychological harassment of Eurasians in patriotic Chinese schools during 1940s Peking and in Tsingdao, and Eurasians became frequent targets for criticism during the Maoist Era. Many Eurasians experienced psychological and physical torment as their very faces were evidence enough to subject them to criticism and punishments.

The Language of "Racial Mixture": How Ainoko became Haafu, and the Haafu-gao Makeup Fad by Hyoue Okamura

The racialization of “Japanese” has a long history going back to the country’s origins within the past two millennia, in the form of words related to descent and bloodline. “Ainoko” (betweener, hybrid) was the most common word in the 19th century. “Konketsuji” (mixed-blood-child) became a strong rival early in the 20th century. “Haafu” (half) was used in fiction in the 1930s but did not begin to replace its rivals until the 1960s and 1970s when many mixed-blood singers became popular. “Haafu-gao” – meaning “half-face” – was used in the 1980s to refer to a “look” that appeared “half foreign” – the essential meaning of “haafu.” In the early 2000s, when many “haafu” models and entertainers became popular, some fashion magazines began promoting makeup techniques to create the exotic “haafu-gao” look that is most commonly associated with the offspring of racially “Asian” and “European” parents. Such labeling almost always racializes “Japanese” and “foreigners” so that racially mixed people in Japan, most of whom are Japanese, may be regarded as not fully Japanese. Furthermore, “haafu” who “look” more “foreign” than “Japanese” may be treated like foreigners.

The Asian Turn in Mixed Race Studies: Retrospects and Prospects by Emma J. Teng

Political and Social Contexts of Multicultural and Multiethnic Relations and Individuals in Japan and South Korea by Keiko Yamanaka

The "Human Duty" to Deracialize Nationality by Hyoue Okamura

Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture, by Jennifer Ann Ho (Review) by Kristin Roebuck