I love Kiko Mizuhara. She has a strong fan base mainly in Asia. When you hear her name “Kiko Mizuhara” （水原希子), you would think that she is Japanese. Yes, I do think she is a Japanese actor/fashion model and an ordinary girl.
Even though she has many fans worldwide, she probably has more haters than fans for nothing. I really don’t know why people hate this girl so much.
Who is Kiko Mizuhara?
She is half Korean and half American. She was born in Texas, Dallas in 1990. She is 26 years old. But why does she have a Japanese name?
Well, her real name is Audrie Kiko Daniel. She is a U.S. citizen because she was born in America. But her native language is Japanese because her Korean mother is so called “zainichi”, Korean people who have lived in Japan (most likely for three generations). That is why she is culturally more Japanese than American and Korean.
Her family moved back to Japan when she was little. She went through Japanese school and in one documentary released in 2010, she shared her struggles with her mixed race heritage in a Japanese school system. That is when she sort of rejected her father and the fact that she was fluent in English.
But many narrow minded Japanese people feel offended by Kiko’s one comment she made in Nova (English conversation school) commercial.
“I think I feel more Japanese than I think about myself..”
Kiko has been open about her heritage since the beginning of her career. So what did narrow minded people in Japan say about her? (Note that not all Japanese feel this way. There are a lot of Japanese fans who support her for being who she is.”
“She is not Japanese”
“Why don’t you work in Korea or America?”
“People like her spread around the world.”
“She is nothing but Japanese.”
“She is zainichi after all. These people say what is convenient for them.”
“She isn’t attractive.”
“It’s deceptive of her to use Japanese name when she isn’t Japanese.”
“So what is she?”
Negative comments go on and on and on…
Probably some of my readers know this already but I am very passionate about advocating for mixed race people in Japan and protecting their rights.
People just want to label and categorize her. But she is who she is. She is all of these things-Korean, American and Japanese. Why does she have a Japanese name? A lot of zainichi (Koreans who live in Japan) do have Japanese names and many of whom do hide their Korean heritage in order to assimilate.
Things are probably much better than the 90s that I grew up as so called Hafu. People didn’t have trouble saying that I am “Japanese” because my father is Japanese and I look Japanese.
Kiko doesn’t really look white and if she doesn’t say anything, she can totally pass herself off as Japanese. I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t have said such negative things about her if her mom was actually Japanese.
She grew up in Japan, and to me, she is just an ordinary Japanese girl with her own uniqueness. It’s kind of cool. I hope that Japan would be more accepting of people like her. Who cares what nationality she really is..she is an international model as her career has taken off. But she is based in Japan, and she has a Japanese last name because her mother probably has a Japanese last name. Who cares?
So why does Kiko say that she is more Japanese than she thinks about herself? “A part of me is shy. Because I live in Japan, I am more comfortable with being reserved. I realize that a part of me is very Japanese than what I think about myself.”:
I can imagine that her situation is unique and it’s kind of difficult. Because she has many haters..mainly G-Dragon fans in Korea. Kiko was linked to him for many years and these people didn’t like the fact that she was Japanese. (many of them didn’t know that she was half Korean.)
Kiko has also made stupid mistakes on SNS. It’s just so silly but some Japanese people were not so forgiving. So she had to release a statement apologizing to those who felt offended and how she made a mistake. In that video, she also explained that she isn’t ethnically Japanese.
So some Japanese people didn’t like the way she handled the criticisms-by emphasizing the fact that she is not Japanese ethnically.
Again, who cares? She probably had to issue an apology because she was pressured to do that by her agency. She really doesn’t owe any apology to anybody. She doesn’t need to explain what she is..she is who she is and grew up in Japan so she is Japanese.
Preserving culture is important, but I feel sick of Japan’s blood-based citizenship laws and how this kind of system perpetuates discrimination and xenophobic attitude among new Japanese youths.
But my conclusion is that this has probably made an actress/model Kiko Mizuhara who she is today. She isn’t fully accepted by any of these countries so she has had to work very hard to get to where she is. Adversity makes you stronger and she is very energetic and positive.
I am looking forward to her continued success and growth!
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