This past Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to watch HAFU, a documentary on the mixed-race experience in Japan. Directed, produced, and filmed by Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi, HAFU followed five “Hafu” – the Japanese term for a half-Japanese person –throughout their daily lives in Japan.
I really enjoyed HAFU, and I deeply respect all of the hafu who were in the film for their incredibly awe-inspiring journeys of self-discovery. In an effort to not simply summarize the entire movie (which would absolutely not give it justice), I’ll try to keep this short. I was very moved by the story of David, who despite being bullied when he was younger and being thought of as an outsider due to his physical appearance, still manages to keep an open mind and hopes to serve as a bridge between his dual Ghanaian and Japanese backgrounds. I also admire Fusae for her dedication to creating a nurturing environment for a new generation of hafu and her goal of instilling a sense of pride in these hafu for their multicultural heritage.
Overall, the film was incredibly well-shot and directed. The transitions between different shots were smooth and the music matched the mood of the scenes very well. I also thought that the interviews did an incredible job at depicting the half-Japanese experience in Japan. Afterwards, there was a Q&A session with Megumi Nishikura, but I regrettably missed it due to another commitment.
Hafu has received much praise and commendation, and has also won the best documentary award at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. To read more about the film, check out the official website here.