When I lived in England, I was never particularly concerned with whether people around me were completely English, half English, or just a bit English. I mean, what did it matter? I myself am actually half Scottish, a quarter English and a quarter Italian, but nobody made a big deal of it.
Before I rant about Japan’s obssession with geneology, here’s the concept of blood purity in the world of Harry Potter:
Wizards who have four magical grandparents are known as pure-blood; those who have one or more Muggle (non-magical) grandparents are known as half-blood. Those with two Muggle parents are known as Muggle-born, or, pejoratively, as “Mudblood”. Among pure-blooded families, a division exists between those who accept and appreciate those of mixed or Muggle parentage, such as the Weasley family, and those who consider such people inferior. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Japan, the common term for someone with a foreign parent is “half”, meaning half Japanese. While this isn’t meant to be derogatory, I’m reminded of the terms half-blood and mudblood and can’t help but feel describing someone as “half” implies they are impure.
I bring this up because my son, Rikuto, is “half”, and it’s really bizarre when I show people pictures of him and they suddenly realize they are looking at a “half”. Usually this is followed by cries of kawaii! (he’s so cute!), because despite the implication of impurity, most Japanese are envious of and love that foreign-look.
One Japanese celebrity who has found success purely on her impurity is Becky, daughter of a Japanese mother and British father. Becky had dual citizenship until she turned 20 and had to choose a single nationality by Japanese law. She decided to be Japanese and has found a career on variety shows, game shows and any other program that needs the “cute appeal” of a “half”.
Becky is more than just a mudblood, though. She’s actually a graduate of Tokyo’s Asia University and holds a degree in Business Administration.
While it would be great if Rikuto grows up to be the most handsome half-blood Japan has ever seen, I hope he follows Becky’s lead and gets himself an education to fall back on should the Japanese ever stop oggling at “halves” like him.If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!