We Did it! Thank you!

December 15th, 2011

We did it! At 4:59PM Tokyo Time on December 12th, (11:59  US Pacific Standard Time) our Indiegogo campaign came to an end. We raised a total of  US $24,000 which equals to approximately 1,863,000 yen.Woo hoo! Thank you again to all of those who supported us this past month. It has been an incredible experience for everyone on our team and it has really given us the energy to taken on the next step of post-production.We would also like to say a special than you to Erika Wiseberg, who spearheaded this campaign. We couldn’t do it with you!! If you are just learning about our film it is still possible to contribute to reserve your DVD (5000 yen) or add your name to the end credits (10,000yen DVD included) by contributing to our paypal account. 

We have received so many wonderful comments from all of you and would like to share some of them with you now:

“I’m hafu, born and raised in Argentina 31 years ago. My parents sent me to the only Japanese school in BA and they discriminated me for being hafu. It was a big struggle but I grew stronger and I still feel proud of being hafu and lucky for being the way I am. Your project left me in tears.”–Miriam Nagashima

“Am very much looking forward to watching the film. Thank you for bringing attention to the experience of people with multicultural backgrounds. I feel like it is something that is much needed as the world continues to globalize, so people can understand that being multicultural is something far more than just a novelty and has its own ups and downs. As a “hafu” myself I know from experience how a more widespread understanding is especially needed in Japan.” –Ryu Koyama

“My ex-wife is Japanese and I am American. We have one son and I worry about his future because the court ruled that I can only see him once every 6 weeks for 5 hours (this is about the average visitation for parents after divorce in Japan). My son is six. I want to be a bigger part of his life. So I fully support any effort to raise awareness about cultural issues in Japan, especially related to hafu.”–Kevin Brown

“….mixed ethnicity marriages and people are on the rise everywhere in the world. We need to make sure our leaders and governments and media industry recognize and include the multiple aspects of a person’s heritage, as this is true for the multi-cultural aspects of nearly everyone’s identity – visible or invisible, individually and/or collectively – on our planet.”–Robin Toma

“The mixed populace has been growing for years and it is beautiful to see works such as this that seek to capture the experiences that we go through. With so many mixed people still growing up or exploring their identity films like this can help show that we aren’t alone in our experiences and guide us all to a future where we can embrace our identities, mixed or mono-racial, in societies caught in constant flux. I commend Hafu and hope to see more like it! :)” – Kiyoshi Huston

We will now be heading into some serious editing and so it maybe a while again before we update you. Have a wonderful holiday season and see you in the new year!!

Perk: The Artist

December 13th, 2011

So many creative and talented people have come together to help make our Indiegogo campaign so successful. We still have over two weeks left to go on our campaign and there are still many many great gifts from the “Artist”category available. Please look closely at the items below as they may make an excellent holiday present for your loved one.

Asuka Ito's jewelry

Asuka Ito Jewelry Artist

My inspirations come from Japanese ancient philosophy that values nature and Latin-American joy. The brand name “Arándanos” means Blueberries in Spanish. Just like the sweet and sour taste of this fruit, I would like to keep on making cute and sophisticated accessories. I’ve started making accessories by myself, because I was seeking for cute ones, but I couldn’t find many, and also I really enjoy making them on my own time. I LOVE THE MIXTURE OF JAPANESE AND LATIN AMERICAN ESSENCES.

Ikon (Visual Artist/Filmmaker) was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. A multidisciplinary visual artist and filmmaker mainly focusing on issues of identity, personal expression and experimenting with different elements and forms. Working with current affairs, futuristic projects and art development collaboratively and individually. “One Eye Open” is a series of short films, Ikon made reflecting upon his one year living in Japan. 

David Cutrano

David Cutrano (Digital Media/Design) Photograph Print  9 × 12″ picture

My artistic interests are vast and I often find them overlapping. This makes it difficult for me to declare any one field as my concentration. I go through phases and shifts in personality and mindset. This often dictates the medium with which I work. The consistency however, is that no matter the medium,

I’ve taken a minute particle of thought, developed it into an idea and (with a little luck) brought it to manifestation in physical form. I find this the ultimate satisfaction and a strong metric towards the measure of success.

This photograph of a Japanese garden is my attempt to gain an understanding of my own existence. I can’t explain the feeling that overcomes me when I visit a place like this. The best I can do is attempt to capture it’s essence as it appears to me; an abstract, dreamlike recollection of a familiar place once visited.



Ken Niimura (Illustrator) At the crossroad of Japanese, European and American traditions, JM Ken Niimura (born in Madrid, October 19, 1981) has developed a dynamic, vibrant and humorous style of his own. His comics can be read in six languages and his illustrations have been seen in many countries. Active in the self-publishing field, he won several contests. The publication of I Kill Giants brought him to the attention of the American industry, earning him and writer Joe Kelly a nomination to both the Eisner and Eagle Awards. JM Ken Niimura now lives between Madrid and Montréal, flying off to Tokyo whenever he gets the chance.
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Michael Arias is an American-born filmmaker active primarily in Japan. Though Arias has worked variously as visual effects artist, animation software developer, and producer, he is best known for his directorial debut, the anime feature on Tekkonkinkreet, which established him as the first non-Japanese director of a major anime film.

Mya Jewelry Artist (2 left)

Mya was born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1987. A graduate of Sophia University in Hispanic Studies( Languages & Cultural studies in Spain and Latin America countries). She started to learn English and having a communication with foreign people when she was 3 years old. She lived in Madrid from 2007 to 2008 as an exchange student and majored in History of Arts at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Now she works at Tokyu Department Store Head Office with her Japanese,Spanish and English skills for serving non-Japanese speaker customers from overseas.

Takeaki Yamazaki (SOLD OUT) Painting Size 20cmX25cm (8″X10″). Takeaki Yamazaki is obsessed. He is obsessed with obsession. Born and raised mostly in southern California, the land of phantasy and facade drove him to travel to satisfy his wanderlust. Moving to Japan and back a few times provided the opportunity to explore other states of consciousness and creativity through another cultural perspective. Creativity is the primary obsession that drives Takeaki, presenting him the will to constantly experience life anew. Taking a ‘renaissance man’ approach towards creativity, he is an avid explorer in various ways of artistic expression: writing, music, painting, drawing, and more recently, concocting installations pieces. 


Jun-Pierre Shiozawa (SOLD OUT) Ink Sketch. Born in the United States, Jun-Pierre Shiozawa is a half Japanese, half French artist currently living in Greece. He has had exhibitions in the United States, Japan and France. Jun-Pierre currently teaches painting and drawing at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece.  http://junpierre.net/

Anna Stassen  (SOLD OUT) Bracelet, neckless

“Sakura” is the Japanese word for “cherry blossom”. It is a name I chose because my hope for my designs is for them to be delicate, luminous, ephemeral and beautiful like Sakura and I also wanted to honour my half-Japanese heritage. This is also why Sakura feature quite prominently in some of my designs.


Jayson Carpenter (2 prints) is a photographer based in San Francisco specializing in humanitarian, commercial, editorial, travel and people photography. He has traveled to Japan numerous times and was active in the volunteer efforts in the Tohoku area this past spring. The Taxi Photograph print is 11x 14inches.

Perk: See your name in the credits!

December 7th, 2011

We now have only 5 days left on our Indiegogo campaign but support continues to grow for our film and for that we are extremely grateful. One of our more popular perks is the “See your name in the lights!” ($100 contribution.) Not only will you receive the DVD when it’s ready for distribution, the Hafu Project booklet, the postcard and our virtual hug, you’ll get to see your name or the name of your loved one scroll across the screen at the end of the movie. Now, how cool would that be? http://www.indiegogo.com/hafu-film

The editing computer has arrived!

November 30th, 2011

Woo hoo! The computer for editing has arrived! Here we are setting it up, it’s the first time for Lara and I to manually insert naked harrdrives into a tower but it all went okay! We were able to rent this computer from the funds we raised through our Indiegogo campaign. Thanks to all those who contributed! It’s still going on until December 11th and every extra helps us tremendously. Thank you for all your support! Time to edit!

Our Mac Pro Tower has arrived!

The monitor (a bit on the old side...)

Lara about to put in the harddrives

Megumi screwing in the harddrive

Slotting in the harddrives into the Mac Pro Tower

The Hafu drives on our desktop!

Perk: The Film

November 18th, 2011

It’s been an entire two weeks since we began our Indiegogo Campaign and we could have never imagined we would have raised over $13,000 in such a short time. Thank you to all those who have supported us and spread the word about our campaign!

We are working on getting the postcards and emails to out to all those who supported us. If you haven’t gotten it, don’t worry they are on their way to you!

Postcards on their way to you!

As we’ve mentioned in our Thank You Video, every additional donation helps us to make a better film. For example with the additional funds, we will be able to hire our sound mixer for an extra week to mix the sound of the film, rather that rushing through it because he has to take a better paid job etc.

In fact did you know that you can pre-order a copy of the DVD with a $50 contribution? You’ll be one of the first to receive it before we make it publicly available to everyone else and the perk also includes one of the postcards above, the Hafu Project booklet and a virtual hug from us.  Pre-order your copy before December 11th to get all these great perks!

Perk: The Writer

November 15th, 2011


WE DID IT! Thanks to all of your heartfelt support and generous contributions we reached our goal! We have been completely overwhelmed by all of your support. We never thought that we would reach and go beyond our goal in just 1 weeks time.

We made a short video message to express our gratitude to all of you. Please watch it now.


Our campaign is set up to last until December 11th, so we have 27 days left and many great gifts from our collaborators still available. Please continue to spread the word about our project as every little bit helps us to make the best film that we can.

Here’s the listing of all the books that have been donated by either Hafu authors or those who wrote about the experience.  So be sure to expand your knowledge and gain further insight with a $35 contribution.


Holly Thompson,  “Orchards”  Young Adult Fiction

How do you know if you’re responsible? After a bullied classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg is sent to her family’s home in Japan for the summer. Kana wasn’t the bully, not exactly, but she didn’t do anything to stop what happened, either. As Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels, news from home sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

Laurel Kamada, “Hybrid Identites and Adolescent Girls: Being ‘half’ in Japan” 
This book examines the ethnic, gendered, and embodied ‘hybrid’ identities of ‘half-Japanese’ girls in Japan, colorfully narrated through their own voices. The girls struggle to positively construct their identities into positions of control over disempowering discourses of ‘otherness’, while also celebrating cultural capital as they negotiate their constructed identities of ‘Japaneseness’, ‘whiteness’ and ‘halfness/doubleness’.

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu “Multicultural Encounters: Case Narratives from a Counseling Practice”
Culture has a powerful impact on how we view the world. Issues of race, culture, and ethnicity are something that counselors and other mental health professionals come across in their practices. This book explores culture specific approaches to treating a diverse population, including learning about different cultures through eliciting key narratives and looking beyond assumptions and stereotypes.

Susan Kamata, “Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering” 
What happens when your child doesn’t speak your native language? How do you maintain cultural traditions while living outside your native country? And how can you raise a child with two cultures without fracturing his/her identity? From our house to your house – to the White House – more and more mothers are facing questions such as these. Whether through intercultural marriage, international adoption or peripatetic lifestyles, families these days are increasingly multicultural.

Roland Kelts, “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S” 

Japanamerica is the first book that directly addresses the American experience with the Japanese pop phenomenon, covering everything from Hayao Miyazaki’s epics, the burgeoning world of hentai, or violent pornographic anime, and Puffy Amiyumi, whose exploits are broadcast daily on the Cartoon Network, to literary novelist Haruki Murakami, and more. With insights from the artists, critics, readers and fans from both nations, this book is as literate as it is hip, highlighting the shared conflicts as both pop cultures collide in the here and now.


Stephen Murphy Shigematsu “Amerajian no Kodomotachi” (Amerasian Children: An unknown minority problem)
The term “Amerajian” refers to someone who has one parent with an American passport and the other parent with a passport from an Asian country. Ameriajians have faced struggles regarding their identity in terms of race and nationality. It is an unavoidable issue stemming largely from the shadow of American troops occupying Asian countries. This moving book delves into the worldwide minority problem that has up until now received very little attention. The authors, some of who are Ameriajians themselves, shed light on this issue through the field work they have conducted in Asian countries including Japan.


Kayoko Takagi and Clara Janes, “9 Piezas de Teatro No”
An anthology of Noh, or traditional Japanese plays, this book contains plays with memorable characters including powerful gods, fearless samurai, faithful women and otherworldly ghosts. It also has accompanying text and images from the original editions, as well as a documented introduction and glossary.

Tawara Machi, “Aniversario de la Ensalada”
This best selling collection of poems was awarded the 32nd Modern Japanese Poets Association Award. The author is known for tackling modern Japanese subjects using classical forms of poetry, making it more accessible to Japan’s modern youth.

“El Espiritu del Agua, Los Cuentos Tradicionales Japoneses”
A collection of 32 Japanese folk tales, the anthology illustrates the classic themes of imaginary Japan including real and fictional animals and ethereal women.

Kenzaburo Oe, “Renacimiento”
This novel by the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature is a moving tale about the hope that is born from a tragic situation. In the book, the main character, Goro goes on a soul-searching trip to Germany to discover clues on why his brother-in-law committed suicide.

Perk: The Musician

November 9th, 2011

In the course of making this film, we have received emails from many people offering their support. On occasion we hear from a music artist, who’s willing to compose a song for our film or perform at one of our events.  Since our indiegogo campaign is online, some of the artist have generously donated their CD albums to our campaign.

Read about them and listen to samples of their music!

Danny Katz (http://www.dannykatz.com/)


80s flavored folk-pop. The prodigal son of Coldplay and The Indigo Girls, Danny is currently touring to promote “Japanese Satellites,” his seventh studio album. Proficient in guitar, piano and jiuta-shamisen, Danny entertains audiences throughout the U.S. and Japan with unique covers, such as a folk version of Missy Elliot’s “Work It,” and his originals, which cover topics from the quirky to the hopelessly romantic. While he recorded a comedy album, “More Than Meets the Ear: Sections from Transformers the Musical,” in 2007, “Japanese Satellites” is his first major project since 2006’s “Strangely Beautiful.”

The Postal ServiceやColdplayなどと並ぶ才能を持つダニー・キャッツは7枚目のスタジオ・アルバム「Japanese Satellites」をリリース。
ギターとピアノに堪能なダニー・カッツはMissy Elliotの「Work It」などの曲をフォークソングにしてユニークなカバーソングを演奏。個性的でロマンティックなオリジナル曲と共にアメリカ中の人々を魅了する。
2007年、コメディーアルバム「More Than Meets the Ear: Sections from Transformers the Musical」をレコーディング。
「Japanese Satellites」は2006年の「Strangely Beautiful」以来の最新アルバム・リリース。

Watch Danny’s official music video of Sacramento off his album Japanese Satellites to get a taste of his music.



Emi Evans (http://emievans.net/)

is a British freelance singer, composer, and songwriter who has been living in Tokyo since 2000. London born and Nottingham bred with a Japanese mum and an English dad, Emi grew up playing the cello, singing in church choir, and writing songs on the piano.

She is part of Freescape which was formed in 2003. Employing a slightly elusive style of UK chill out, soaring melodies and sensitive vocals, freesscape now operate under their own label, freesscape music where they are creating hard to promote emotionally honest, uninhibited music.


2003年よりfreesscape(フリースケープ Emi Evans Hiroyuki Muneta) は東京を拠点にユニーなアンビエントと聴き手の心を捉える音楽の世界をクリエイトしている。スタート当初は試行錯誤の連続であった彼らだが、各々の音楽キャリアを積み重ねる中で自らのスタイルを模索。


Play the video to have a listen to Emi’s unique style.




Avant Garde

 is a club pop duo with a dual existence as one of J-Pop’s top go-to teams. Vocalist and songwriter Uchida, the daughter of a caucasian mother and Japanese father, spent most of her life in the United States, where she studied classical piano and sang in the Seattle Symphony Chorus before returning in her late 20s to Japan to pursue music.Avant Garde makes music that runs the stylistic gamut – from electronica to ballads to jazzy numbers.


Cold Feet( http://www.coldfeet.net/)

is a band duo that features composer/vocalist LORI, the daughter of an American clinical psychologist father and Japanese harp-playing mother.Their music consists of a unique and inventive sound that retains the appeal of pop while embracing the bite of new wave, jazz and rock.

COLDFEETはアメリカ人の心理学者を父、そして琴の演奏者である日本人を母に 持つオレゴン生まれのコンポーザー兼ヴォーカリストのLori Fineが、プロデューサー/ベーシスト/プログラマーとして豊富なキャリアを持つ Watusiを共通の友人を通じて紹介されたところからスタートしている。エキゾチシズムを備えたツイステッドな音楽や、Sam RaimiやDavid Lynchの描く世界観などといった共通の価値観をお互いに見出し、LoriとWatusiはグループを結成、比類のない官能的かつファンタジックなCOLDFEETの世界がスタートした。


So for a contribution of $25 you will get one of their CDs, plus the Hafu Project booklet.  Please support these hafu artists!

Perk: The Hafu Project booklet

November 7th, 2011

As you know we started our Indiegogo campaign a few days a go. We can’t believe the tremendous amount of support we have already gotten in just a few days. Thank you so much!

One thing you may or may not know is that our project evolved out of the Hafu Japanese Project. The Hafu Japanese project is:

 “an ongoing project that creates a dialogue about being in between cultures. By increasing discussions about culture, ‘race’ and ethnicity we hope to achieve a deeper understanding of these issues. For this reason we actively give public lectures and organize events.”

A very large component is a photography and interview series conducted by researcher Marcia Yumi Lise and photographer Natalie Willer. To this date, they have interviewed over 60 hafus and photographed an additional 70.  Lara and myself participated in their photo shoot when they came to Tokyo in 2009. Indepdeant of each other, we both approached Marcia and Natalie and asked them if they wanted to add a audio/video component to their project. 6 months later we began filming!

They recently produced their first publication – a 40-page full color A4 brochure -which gives you an insight into the lives of hafus. The booklet also provides facts and figures on Japan’s changing population and diversity.

For the $20 Perk on our campaign, you can receive a English PDF version of this publication that inspired our film.

The Last Stretch

November 6th, 2011

Click to watch our video message. 私達からのビデオメッセージ

It’s a Wrap!

We are thrilled to announce that we have just returned from our final film shoot! We filmed with our fifth Hafu participant- Fusae- who is a Korean and Japanese mix. You can read more about her here.

The time has finally come to turn off our cameras and power up our hard drives and computers as we head into the post-production phase of our film. Our goal is to get this film done within the first half of next year so that we can start sending it off to film festivals and planning our screening tour.

In order for us to finish the film, we need to raise at least 1million yen (approximately US$10,000) by December 11th to cover the costs of editing, sound mixing, color correction, subtitling etc. We have launched a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo.com, the world’s largest fundraising platform. http://www.indiegogo.com/hafu-film

We know that many of you have contributed to our project in the past. Thank you so much as we wouldn’t have gotten this far with out you. We humbly ask you to consider giving again, so we can take this film to its completion. This time, you’ll have the opportunity to get more involved with the various perks such as CD Albums and works of art from our favorite half-Japanese artists.

Please click on the image above to watch our video message. Thank you again for all your support!