Being 'hafu' on/offline: discursive constructions of mixedroots Japanese identities in Facebook group interactions and offline personal narratives

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Education and Professional Studies

Abstract

This research examines how 'hafu' identities are
constructed through offline and online communication.
'Hafu' (based on the English word 'half') is a label used to
refer to individuals with a Japanese parent and a parent of
another nationality/ethnicity. The term is considered
problematic as it conflates ethnic, cultural and linguistic
heritage, and positions mixed-Japanese people as inferior
to the 'pure' Japanese. Despite this, many mixed-Japanese
refer to themselves as 'hafu', as can be seen in Facebook
groups 'Hafu aru' and 'Hafu Japanese'. Many such groups
have emerged over the past decade, creating
unprecedented opportunities for contact between 'hafus'
across the globe, and bringing together mixed-Japanese
people of diverse backgrounds through a shared 'hafu'
identity. With over 6,000 members and frequent daily
interactions involving multilingual practices, both Facebook
groups appear to be dynamic and meaningful sites of
identity and community construction. This study considers
how 'hafu' identities are constructed in language and
interaction, and explores the interrelations between online
and offline communication by examining how the identities
constructed online are reflected in the Facebook users'
offline narratives. Finally, the analysis will focus on
whether ideologies related to ethnicity, culture and
language might be manifested in and promoted via
communication in digital environments.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2435712 Studentship ES/P000703/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Laura Sae Miyake Mark