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.