Being Half Asian in China and Japan

By Ruby Mary



This story that I found online caught my attention. The author is half Asian half White American, and she goes on to talk about her three distinct experiences she had in the U.S. (her home country), Japan and in China.  What makes her story even more interesting is how people in the U.S. Japan and China treated her differently.

She is half Vitnamese and half Irish American and grew up in Utah. As you can expect, Utah is a very conservative state and people labeled her as an “Asian” girl in her childhood even though she didn’t even speak the Vietnamese language. so I personally wouldn’t be excited about living there so I feel sorry for her for growing up in Utah. Kids in school called her “Ching Chon..” whatever.

It is especially difficult for children to deal with racial issues especially when they are mixed. I certainly experienced that growing up in Japan as a racially mixed person. In my case, I got a very clear message from “them”..that I was not a desirable type of Ha-Fu. As the author says, half White half Japanese kids were automatically adored by people in Japan. These are the beautiful kids who could potentially become professional models or TV personality..Ok, the author is half White and half non-Japanese..Her mother is from Vietnam. 

She moved to Japan to teach English, and says that she felt the pressure not to talk about her “heritage”..Although everybody treated her as Asian in Utah, Japanese people treated her as White and they would ask why she has dark hair..and she felt the pressure not to tell her students that she was half Asian..but not half Japanese..she is half Vienamese and half White. She experienced uncomfortable silence and subtle unfriendliness when she talked about her non-Japanese Asian heritage to Japanese people, and realized that Japanese people wanted her to remain White-and fit into the perfect “gaijin” stereotype held by Japanese people.

I am very familiar with this because of my heritage, but I didn’t realize that mixed people were well perceived in isn’t just Ha-Fu with white parents but according to the author, Chinese people welcomed her Vietnamese heritage, and people in China generally responded really well. Since I have never even been to China, I do not know what it is like to be a mixed person in China, but I wonder if they would have welcomed her being half Japanese..because of the tensions between the two countries now. But that’s beside the point, and it is good to know that people are much more open minded.


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