Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2013

“We are in a position to change Japan from the inside,” says Megumi Nishikura, and by “we” the filmmaker is referring to multicultural Japanese. Speaking at a recent press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Nishikura pointed out the lack of honest depictions of the experience of such people, who are known as hafu in Japan. Despite the recent popularity of hafu models such as Rola and Becky, Nishikura says there is “no deeper conversation of what their life was like before they became famous” or the everyday life of hafu. Deciding to do something, she and co-director Lara Perez Takagi, both of whom have one non-Japanese parent, spent three years making the documentary Hafu. It profiles five people, including a boy with a Mexican mother who struggles with bullying at school, a man raising money in Japan to build a school in his mother’s country of Ghana, and a woman who didn’t know her father was Korean until she was nearly an adult. The doc has already had screenings in New York, San Francisco and L.A., but Nishikura hopes many Japanese people will view it. “Many hafu grow up thinking they are Japanese, but that is not reflected back to them,” she explains. “We made this film so anyone can feel like they have walked in the shoes of hafu people and understand them.”

Hafu will screen from October 5 at Shibuya Uplink (http://www.uplink.co.jp/movie/2013/12408).