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Beyond being either-or : Identification of multiracial and multiethnic Japanese youth

Authors
  • Osanami Törngren, Sayaka
  • Sato, Yuna
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1654155
OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-1705
Source
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Although the number of multiracial and multiethnic Japanese who are socially recognised and identified as haafu (mixed) has increased due to a rise in intermarriages, the identities and experiences of mixed persons in Japan are seldom critically analysed. Based on interviews with 29 multiracial and multiethnic individuals residing in Japan, this article explores not only how multiracial and multiethnic Japanese identify themselves but also how they feel they are identified by others in society. The analysis shows that multiracial and multiethnic persons self-identify in a way that goes beyond either-or categories and the binary notions of Japanese/foreigner. It also reveals how both multiracial and multiethnic persons face a gap between self-identity and ascribed identity and that they negotiate this gap in various ways. However, the gap and the negotiation process that multiracial persons face differ to those of multiethnic persons. Multiracial persons whose mixedness is phenotypically visible experience more constraints in their ethnic options and have more difficulty in passing as Japanese, whereas multiethnic persons whose mixedness is invisible can pass as Japanese more easily but face constraints in their ethnic option to be identified as mixed and in claiming their multiethnic background.

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