Share Your Hapa Story

  • Share Your Hapa Story: Naiia Lajoie

    I’m Naiia Lajoie, pronounced “na-HEE-yuh la-JWAH”. My name is as culturally diverse as I am; my first name is Arabic and my last name is Québécois (from Quebec, Canada). As for me, I’m half Filipina, quarter Syrian, and quarter French Canadian.
  • Share Your Hapa Story: William

    In a valley with rolling hills to the north, the gentle slopes fade into pear orchards. To the south, pine-covered mountains that bring shade too early on winter days spawn babbling brooks of the Lithia springs. These features formed the backdrop to my childhood. Growing up in the Rogue Valley of rural Southern Oregon shaped how I grew up.
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Terry

    Hey! I'm Terry! I'm African American 🇺🇸 and Japanese 🇯🇵 I'm from a Military Family. My African American Father was from Georgia and met my Mother in Okinawa during his Army Service. I grew up celebrating both cultures in my household, be it learning the Japanese language and culture, and I also felt a strong sense of Americanism and Patriotism due to our Military background.
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Elise

    "At 5, I wasn’t White enough.

    Every time I went for a haircut, I pointed to the same photo in the salon’s hairstyle 'inspiration guide.' Every time, my mother and the hairstylist gently explained that no haircut could transform me into the blue-eyed girl with her pageant queen-esque pile of blonde curls."

  • Share Your Hapa Story: Mellanee

    "Bay Area born and raised...My dad’s family is Okinawan and grew up on Oahu. My mom is Caucasian from the mainland."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Robin Vanneman

    "Growing up in a quiet, considerably rural town, but spending all of my summers in Japan (I’ve been 14 times), my life felt as much of an anomaly as my name."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Lei

    "When I was little, I remember my parents pushing me and my sister to go to hula practice. I had always thought that they wanted me to be that one ‘shining’ hula girl that could make it to the stage of Merrie Monarch or just be able to boast about their kid to any of their friends, as any parent does when they are proud of their kid...But I’ll admit. I was ignorant–childish for thinking as I did."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Lady Pace

    "I was fortunate to grow up in California, which is considered the most diverse state in the US. But as diverse as it is, being Black and Asian has been a unique experience. I was always questioned, 'What are you?'"
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Christy Chow

    "'You are hapa, Christy, and you are proud of it!' Those words, cascading with powerful grace from my Hawaii-raised Chinese grandmother were constant and solid reminders of the gratitude and deep acknowledgement she hoped for me, and all of her hapa grandchildren, to carry close throughout life."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Elsa

    "As a mixed-race person, it has occasionally been difficult to pinpoint my identity. After all, we live in a world that thrives on mono-racial standards. People will often tell me that I look too white to be Asian, to which I usually reply that even so, I look very much like my Malaysian Chinese mother."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: William Roman

    "About me: I've always been familiar with the word hapa. My mom's side of the family frequently uses it since most of my cousins and I are mixed. My mom is Japanese & Okinawan and my dad is mainly Native American & Mexican."
  • Share Your Hapa Story: Lauren Lola

    "Being mixed race was not something that I grew up with a full-fledged awareness for. However, through racist encounters and nosy questions, I eventually had to come head-to-head with understanding my mixed race identity, once and for all."