Ethnically ambiguous

Sometimes it is hard to fully grasp that you have been living on an island until moments after you have left its gravitational pull. Last week, I watched as the place I will always consider home rapidly shrank in size as my plane lifted higher, the blue vastness of the ocean soon overtaking the views […]

Olympics carry a question: What does it mean to be Japanese?

TOKYO — Two multiracial athletes, two high-profile roles: Rising NBA star Rui Hachimura carried the Japanese flag at the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron. For Japan, it was a remarkable showcase of racial diversity — but one that also highlighted how much remains missing in a nation that values […]

The Megumi Nishikura Story: Filming the distant dance of multiracial Japanese identity

To many in Japan, Megumi Nishikura doesn’t look like a Megumi. “People would assume that I was fully Japanese and when I would go meet them in-person they would do a double take,” Nishikura said. “They would be shocked that I look like I do and speak as well as I do, and when I […]

Multiracial athletes sparking debate in Japan ahead of 2020 Games

TOKYO — Amid a shifting cultural landscape, a handful of talented multiracial athletes are among some of Japan’s best chances to reach the podium at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics and consequently draw attention to an often ignored yet growing segment of the country’s population. At the top of that list is tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, […]

Nikkei Brewers Yelich and Hiura having monster seasons in Majors

After taking the Los Angeles Dodgers to a full seven games in the 2018 National League Championship Series, the Milwaukee Brewers entered the 2019 Major League Baseball Season with high hopes. Those hopes hinge on a talented roster that includes Nikkei players Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura.

ELUSIVE DREAMS: Proud hapa finds marrow match but loses cancer battle

After enduring a year’s worth of treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Paul Ota decided to fly home to the Bay Area to pick up his universal passport. A universal passport is a document that symbolizes a person’s goal to travel the world. He had been on the waitlist for one since before he was diagnosed with […]

WALKING THE MIDDLE PATH: USC professor engages hapa identity via Buddhism

If there’s one person besides, perhaps, Naomi Osaka, who has reinvigorated the subject of mixed race in the Japanese diaspora, it’s Duncan RyÅ«ken Williams. Born and raised in Tokyo by his Japanese mother and British father, Williams came to the United States to attend Reed College for his undergraduate work before going on to earn […]

Multiracial athletes of Japanese descent and their ascent

March 21, 2019, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. In the bottom of the eighth, Ichiro Suzuki trotted off the baseball diamond for the last time, waving to an unusually emotional Japanese crowd. Soon after, fellow Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. remarked that, during his career, Ichiro was able to “cross barriers.” When […]

Mixed-race JA woman documents first trip to Japan

Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes Written and illustrated by Christine Mari Inzer (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, $14.99, paperback) For people with immigrant ancestry, the experience of returning to one’s motherland is all too familiar. While its exciting to reunite […]

Raising hope and awareness for mixed-race bone marrow matches

As a multiracial American (Japanese-Okinawan, Mexican, and German), I’ve always thought of my mixed-ness as a unique part of my identity. Recently though, I’ve learned that this attribute is a possible health concern if I were ever to be diagnosed with a blood or bone disease. More than 50,000 multiracial patients a year search for […]

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