10 10th, 2013

Meet Lisa H…

12 7th, 2011

Lisa is a 4th year student at Temple University Japan and has been interning with us since September. It’s great having her come into the office for a few hours every other day to help us with transcribing, logging footage and random production assistant duties. Thank you Lisa for all your help!

Name: Lisa Marina Hayamizu

Background: I was born in raised in Japan, but was raised on a American Military Base so I grew up in a mixed community. My parents are Japanese but I  grew up having both Japanese and American citizenship.

 Why did you get involved in this project: I have a brother and a sister who are half Japanese and half American. We have different fathers and I heard about their experience living in Japan being different from the rest of society. They live in the States now but they always tell me how they feel like they came out of a very small cage.

I am 100% Japanese by blood but I never went to Japanese School nor lived in Japanese society. I went to school on US military base and lived most of my life on base. I have the feeling that I am both Japanese and American but neither at the same time since I have never lived in a real Japanese/American community.

All my relatives are Japanese and they tell me how I am American and treat me differently from all of my other cousins. I feel a distance between my relatives having a different culture mixed into my system.

When I heard about this film, I felt really close because the experience that characters go through are similar to what I have experienced living in Japan.

What are your hopes for the film? I hope that many people will understand the fact that there are people in Japan who have different cultures despite they way  they look. With the fact of increasing international marriage, there are going to be many children with different roots growing up here.

Living in Japan with a different backgrounds may be difficult for Japanese people because of the “inside/ honne/本音” and “outside/tatemae/建前” way of being.  I hope that people will watch this film and have a different idea of what each person’s true nature is.


11 1st, 2011

The Invisible Hafu








8 20th, 2011








We asked Sara to share her experience of working with us:

Just nearly a year ago I stumbled across the ‘Hafu Film project’ when I saw someone ‘Liked’ the film’s page on Facebook. So what if I wasn’t on Facebook that dayWhat if I didn’t see that update in the newsfeed?………Would I be here?

I pondered this as I sat in the Hafu film office watching Megumi and Lara work away on their Mac computers.

I spent just over 2weeks in the Tokyo office. Having time off work allowed me to spend my summer in Tokyo where I got to see how much work goes into making this monstrous film. Exhibit A, Transcribing: A 20minute interview piece took me nearly 2hours to complete. For someone with Mac fingers, it probably takes less time. But my clumsy PC fingers kept pushing this button that magically erased all my work. Mac, you’re too smart for me.

I felt pretty special being involved in all this behind the scene action. Seeing never seen footage and interviews, watching Megumi and Lara chopping and piecing shots together as they edited the film. I spent so much time watching Sophia on film, it started to feel like she was one of my buddies. I think if I met her in real life, I might creep her out a little (note to self, don’t creep her out). It’s amazing how much work these girls are putting in but also it’s amazing to see all these other people giving support in many different forms.

The office space which is generously lent by Hafu film supporter Ken is situated in beautiful Kichijoji. The area is bustling with cute little cafes, loads of restaurants and countless amount of ‘Ethnic’ shops (One can never have too many ponchos or wind chimes apparently) Everyday we walked through the park to go get our lunch fix. Leaving my stomach a whole lot heavier but my wallet a whole lot lighter. But it was so much fun spending time with the girls and I’m jealous of them that they get to work in such a beautiful area.

Thank you Megumi and Lara for accommodating me in Tokyo and letting me work in the office. I will miss the good times working on the film, eating yoghurt, complaining about the heat and talking about boys. Good luck with the film!

ボランティアはまだ募集中です。興味がある方 是非ご連絡ください! info<at>hafufilm.com

Introducing Emi Ota…

8 12th, 2011

Meet Emi

Name: Emi Denise Ota

Mix: Father = Japan , Mother =Switzerland

Volunteering as: Transcriber

Birthplace: Tokyo

Time spent in Japan: Born in Japan and grew up in Japan, lived in England for 4 years

Your experience growing up as hafu: Very mixed reactions from people. Many people seemed to have a sort of admiration, jealousy, but at times I felt insecure of not belonging anywhere. Japanese people speak to me in English expecting that I don’t speak Japanese, but people in Switzerland would call me “the Japanese girl” although I am Swiss as well. I have been at immigration all over the world where immigration officers are puzzled by my Japanese passport.

Any changes as an adult?: I am grateful for the multicultural family I grew up in.

Why you are supporting the film?: I support this film because it shows different types of hafus, the specific emotions they may go through, struggles they may have. I also support this film since there have not been many documentaries on this subject. With globalization, the number of international marriages are increasing and hence there are more mixed raced people so I believe it is important to document this topic.

What do you hope is the outcome of the film? More awareness of Hafu-people.

Loving Day 東京: 代々木公園でのピックニック

6 24th, 2011

Celebrating Loving Day with Hafu Project member and volunteers!

Advisor Marcia and Director Lara

Megumi and Lara with Noriko, Ronnie, John and Emi

David's friend Optimus Prime



1)LovingDay =1967年6月12日、アメリカの最高裁判所は不法であった異人種間結婚を法律で認めることを決めました。アメリカ人でなくっても、ミックスである私たちハーフは、この用な不公平を乗り越えられたことを祝うべきではないでしょうか。



Photos by Mike Connolly.


5 27th, 2011




3 20th, 2011




また、アメリカのニュージャージー州の小学校の音楽先生のSean Ichiro Mainesが送ってくださったビデオをご覧ください。小学生が日本の皆様の為に「春が来た」を歌っています。

ハーフフィルムチーム より

Introducing Lisa…

3 4th, 2011

I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Hafu Exhibition held at the 3331 Chiyoda Arts gallery last August. She expressed an interest in the film then and ever since she began transcribing interviews for us, she has helped us tremendously with her insights into the experiences of hafus who comes to japan to find their roots. When she first told me her “fruit basket ” experience (which you can read below,) I was incredibly moved. I hope that this film can make a small contribution towards a larger definition of what it means to be Japanese.

Introducing Lisa...

Name: Lisa Rie Hansen
Mix: Father = Danish , Mother = Japanese-Canadian
Volunteering  as: Transcriber
Birthplace: Ontario, Canada
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada
Time spent in Japan: 3.5 years
Your experience growing up as hafu:
I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, which is a very multicultural community. Despite that, people tend to gravitate toward people who share the same ethnic background. I was a bit of a floater, sometimes hanging out with the “Asian” crowd, and then at other times socializing with the “white” group. I wasn’t quite sure where I belonged, nor where I felt comfortable. I definitely felt different. Sometimes It made me unsure of myself and my place in the world. Other times I felt like it made me kind of special.

The fruits baskets story:
When I was 19 years old, I embarked on a quest to find my “roots” in Japan. I was studying at a small college in Aichi prefecture. There were two other foreigners in this program with me. One was Caucasian and the other (her name was Kamea) was half-Japanese, like me. During one of my final classes, my Japanese classmates decided to play a game. It was a Japanese game called “Fruit Basket.” It is similar to musical chairs, in that there is one less seat available for the number of people. One person would yell something like “Everyone who wears glasses!” And all those who wore glasses would need to stand up and find another seat to sit in. At one point, one of the Japanese students said “All Japanese people!” Both Kamea and I stood up. There was a gasp in the room and then silence. Everyone looked confused. Kamea and I didn’t know what was going on so we asked what the problem was. Some people were confused at the question, while others started laughing. They said, “You’re not Japanese!” It was a moment that completely changed the way I thought about myself. I realized that my entire life, I considered myself Japanese, at least partially. But in Japan, I wasn’t considered Japanese at all because I wasn’t culturally Japanese. I developed a deeper yet desire to understand this culture that I apparently was not a part of, and later on completed another academic exchange, and worked in Japan for 2 years after that.

Any changes as an adult?

The older I got, the more I appreciated my mixed heritage. However I also became more aware of how little I understood about my own “roots.” I subsequently majored in Asian studies and went to study in Japan, and after I graduated, returned there to work. I have made many friends who are part Japanese. There is an instant connection that occurs when you meet someone who has had similar experiences growing up.

Why you are supporting the film?:

The film is a great way to draw attention to some of the issues that are experienced by those living in Japan who have mixed backgrounds. Other hafus in Japan, and people of mixed ethnic backgrounds in general, will no doubt be relieved and excited to see others sharing similar experiences. The Japanese nation is radically becoming more ethnically varied, and a film like this is just what is needed to help foster a deeper level of understanding and sensitivity toward this group of people.

What do you hope is the outcome of the film?
I hope it can be watched by the Japanese population, and that it will be featured in a few film festivals and gain some international attention.


2 17th, 2011


下に載っている写真は最近、私達が撮影したENIJEイベントです。写真家:Mike Connolly

David welcoming people to ENIJE

Lara and Megumi ready with the camera

Lara getting a close up of Genez's performance

ENIJE was not without its traditional Ghanaian music

David hanging out with the ENIJE supporters