My name is Chris Buswell, I am a 34 year old of half Japanese and half European heritage. Nevertheless born and raised in the world’s most ethnically diverse city of Sacramento, California, I grew up in a predominantly caucasian neighborhood. Although my parents were very open to both Japanese and Western cultures with yearly vacations to Japan, cooking Japanese food and celebrating the summer Obon Festival, I never really thought much of it. It wasn’t until high school and college where I felt the most challenged – my caucasian group of friends would consider me Asian, while my Asian group of friends could never fully understand. It was a strange feeling never fully being accepted or understood by any group.
However, after learning of the term HAPA and finding a group of friends all with the same background, I finally embraced my Identity. Following graduation of California State University, Sacramento in 2006 with a Bachelors in Graphic Design, I was disappointed to see such limited information shared on the topic of HAPA. In partnership with Jeff Muramoto, we started Everything Hapa to help provide an informational source to connect HAPAs and raise awareness.
My name is Jeff Muramoto. I am a 33 year old, half German half Japanese male. I grew up in a time where it was rare for my Dad to be full Asian and my Mom to be white. I grew up having a hard time figuring out who I was in this world. Early on I struggled with really having a true identity of what a HAPA was. My friends who were Asian were always giving me “compliments” on how I looked full Asian. That always troubled me because I was proud to be of mixed heritage. I grew up in a community that didn’t really have a lot of mixed marriages. It took me a long time to figure out what group I really belonged to. When I was younger I had two separate groups of friends. I had my Asian friends and then my White friends. Each group was separate from each other and they didn’t mix. I was left choosing sides of whom I wanted to be affiliated with and it left constantly looking for who I was. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I started to fully understand what my heritage was. I met a new friend who was also HAPA and we both expressed that there needed to be a source for people to learn and understand what HAPA really is. So our first website, The Best Of Both Worlds was born. We both hoped we could raise awareness and provide a site where people could learn more about HAPA’s.
Born in Cracow, Poland, Kinga Tatsuma-Pivaro is a Polish journalist and editor for two online newspapers – Japan-based Polonia.jp and Cracow-based Japonia-Online.pl. Kinga became interested the HAPA phenomenon with the birth of her two daughters who are half Japanese and half Polish. Having lived in Japan for five years, Kinga’s fascination with Japan only grew deeper with every step she took towards understanding its reach and unique culture. Through the creation of the Kokusai Kazoku online community, Kinga has helped to share and connect the HAPA /Japanese American community to a part of the world originally thought to be homogeneously European. Being inspired by the website, Kinga and a friend has also created a Japanese Saturday school, where she gives back to the community telling stories of Japanese role models which help keep them alive for future generations. Kinga’s motto is “People are each other’s greatest resource.”