Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/490/

International dimensions of hapa identity

Essentially it is an American phenomena, because we do talk about this more than anywhere else. To some extent there’s Singapore has a pretty good awareness, but it’s really a Eurasian sort of conversation happening there. It’s mostly Eurasian, they don’t have the sort of Afro-Asian, the Latinos and so forth. And it’s a different kind of agenda. You know, the U.S. talks about race more than other countries do, by far. And even though they are foreigners, I wanted to talk about that.

And I actually was curious if any sort of trans-racial adoptees would participate. One person was thinking about it, but didn’t want her picture taken. [garbled] That’s an interesting way of defining it as well. And some people that weren’t—in my definition—Hapa, participated and I though that’s great, because that’s their self-identification. This woman came in, she’s black-white. She’s like, “I’m Hapa too.” I said, “Okay, let’s take your picture.”


ethnicity group identity hapa identity racially mixed people

Date: May 3, 2006

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Jim Bower

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

Interviewee Bio

Kip Fulbeck was born in 1965 to a Chinese mother and English/Irish father. At age five, he was told by his full-blooded Chinese cousins that he was Hapa. He never gave much thought to the term as a child. As he grew older, faced with the dearth of knowledge relating to mixed-race identity (or worse, the negative connotations associated with it), he began thinking about ways to promote a more realistic and human portrayal of Hapa identity.

Fulbeck chose to explore this issue by creating the Hapa Project as a forum for Hapa to answer the question “What are you?” in their own words and be photographed in simple head-on portraits. He has now photographed over 1000 people from all ages and walks of life. The project is now a book, Part Asian, 100% Hapa (Chronicle Books, 2006) and an exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum from June 8 through October 29, 2006 titled kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa.

Kip Fulbeck has been making films and art about Hapa identity since 1990. Known as the nation's leading artist on the identity, multiracial/ethnicity, and art and pop culture, he has spoken and exhibited his award-winning films, performance, and photography throughout the world. Fulbeck is currently Professor and Chair of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is a three-time recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award and also an affiliate faculty member in Asian American Studies and Film Studies. (May 3, 2006)

Read the Discover Nikkei article by Kip Fulbeck:
kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa – an artist’s thoughts

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