An identity based on being different: A focus on Biethnic individuals in Japan

Sara Oikawa, Tomoko Yoshida

研究成果: Article査読

18 被引用数 (Scopus)


Three focus groups of Biethnic11The term "Biethnic" was chosen because we are referring to individuals who have parents of different ethnicities. In Japan, these individuals are called "Halfs." Some, however, argue that this makes them sound like they are only half a person and therefore suggest using the term "Doubles" as they are not only Japanese but also another ethnicity (Life, 1995). Perhaps because of the familiarity as well as the positive image associated with the term "Half" in Japan, we have found that some Biethnic individuals have a strong negative reaction to the term "Doubles" and prefer the term "Half." We chose the term "Biethnic" as we thought it was more neutral. As the literature in this field, however, uses the term "Biracial" more often, this paper will use the term "Biracial" and "Biethnic" interchangeably. individuals who, for the most part, grew up in Japan were conducted. A total of 13 Biethnic individuals participated. Cooley's Looking-glass Self Theory was used as our theoretical framework. Cooley argued that in the same way we look into a mirror to discover our appearance, we see ourselves through the eyes of other people. Therefore, other people's reactions largely influence the way we see ourselves. This hypothesis was supported by our focus group data; all respondents regarded themselves as Biethnic only after others pointed it out to them. Our results were in some ways similar to existing Biracial identity models. We, too, found that there were multiple responses to being Biracial. We called them: Unique Me, Model Biethnic, and Just Let Me Be Japanese. Like other researchers, we also found that various factors were influential in shaping Biracial identity. Ethnicity of the non-Japanese parent, family structure, and living environment seemed to have largely shaped our respondents' experiences.

ジャーナルInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
出版ステータスPublished - 2007 11月

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • ビジネスおよび国際経営
  • 社会心理学
  • 社会学および政治科学


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