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description: Race as reflected in gender ratios within fictional bi-racial marriages.
tags: anime, criticism, sociology, politics, experiments
While watching _[Honey and Clover](!Wikipedia)_, it struck me that Hagu is clearly implied to be [bi-racial](!Wikipedia "Hafu") (blue eyes & blonde hair, and thought bubbles of other characters putting her in idyllic European settings), and that her foreign parent is the *mother* since the father is specified to be a Japanese police chief. Hagu is not the only example I could think of - there are plenty of other examples where the mother is foreign.
And in general, the father always seems to be Japanese and the mother foreign. But isn't this kind of odd? If we could find statistics about this, one would expect the reality to be heavily slanted the other way - Japanese women marrying GIs, or marrying for passports, or just cruder reasons like preferring the greater height and penis size of Caucasians[^penis]. Even in America, interracial dating is heavily in favor of Caucasian males and Asian females rather than the other way around[^Sailer], which may reflect intrinsic preferences[^faces] much to the agony of disfavored groups like black women[^is-marriage]; white-Asian couples in America are the richest interracial couples on average, which perhaps reflects the general demand for white men and Asian women^[See Pew Research Center's ["The Rise of Intermarriage: Rates, Characteristics Vary by Race and Gender"]( "white/Asian couples have the highest combined annual earnings (nearly $71,000), much higher than the earnings of white/Hispanic couples (about $58,000) as well as white/black couples (about $53,000)." That that particular pairing is likely more white men/Asian women than Asian men/white women is simply because "more than one-in-three (36%) Asian female newlyweds in 2010 married someone who is non-Asian, compared with only about one-in-six Asian male newlyweds (17%)." As far as our status argument goes, the patterns of divorce are interesting - marriages with the higher-status male seem more stable: "It found that after 10 years of marriage, interracial marriages that are most vulnerable to divorce involve white females and non-White males (with the exception of white females/ Hispanic white males) relative to white/white couples. Conversely, there is little or no difference in divorce rates among white men/non-white women couples, and white men/black women couples are actually substantially less likely than white/white couples to divorce by the 10th year of marriage.^8^"]. Nor is it just Japan; Korean advertising is strikingly tilted towards depicting Korean men with foreign women, rather than the notorious reality (stemming from the Korean War and continued US military presence) of Korean women with foreign men[^Korea]. When fiction mirrors reality, that needs little explanation; but when fiction is exactly opposite reality, then one begins to wonder.
[^is-marriage]: _[Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage decline affects everyone](!Wikipedia)_ 2011 ([excerpt](, by [Ralph Richard Banks](!Wikipedia); chapter 3, "The Man Shortage", pg 34-37:
> For decades, the gap in the interracial marriage rates of black men and black women has been a source of tension. Some black women take it personally. "Black men dating White women", according to a 1993 article in _[Ebony](!Wikipedia "Ebony (magazine)")_, can "cause most single Black women to see red."^91^ A 1998 _[Essence](!Wikipedia "Essence (magazine)")_ readers poll revealed that almost two-thirds of black women felt upset when black men married or dated white women.^92^ They felt unappreciated, inadequate, unwanted. As one twenty-nine-year-old black woman in Los Angeles says in another _Ebony_ article, "[E]very time I turn around and I see a fine Brother dating outside his race, I just feel disgusted. I feel like, what's wrong with us? Why do you choose her over me?"^93^ Another _Ebony_ reader responded: "Black men I encounter are either dating or married to white women; they aren't interested in the sisters."^94^
> The imbalance hits professional black women especially hard, because the black men they might regard as the most desirable - college graduates with good jobs - are also the most likely to marry interracially.^95^ Consequently, the African American gender gap in interracial marriage is widest among the black middle class. Moreover, some black women think that successful black men often wed white women who don't have much going for them. Sociologists explain such relationships as a 'status exchange' in which the man benefits from the woman's whiteness, and the woman gains from the man's educational and professional accomplishments.^96^ The suspicion is that well-educated, high-earning black men are so enamored of the idea of having a white spouse that they often marry white women who are less educated and of lower status in every way except for race. Empirical support for the 'status exchange' remains mixed,^97^ but the idea that successful black men will accept low-status white women remains an article of faith for many black women.
> ...This same sentiment has been reflected in the movie version of [Terry McMillan](!Wikipedia)'s best-selling _[Waiting to Exhale](!Wikipedia)_, in which a black woman seizes on the race of her husband's girlfriend. "I give you 11 fuckin' years of my life, and you're leaving me for a white woman?" He responds defiantly, "Would it be better if she were black?" Without missing a beat, she says, "No, it'd be better if you were."
> Similarly, in [Spike Lee](!Wikipedia)'s _[Jungle Fever](!Wikipedia)_, when [Wesley Snipes](!Wikipedia)'s character, Flipper, falls for the white office assistant, his wife seems as upset about his paramour's race as about her husband's infidelity. "White?!" she exclaims. "Are you on crack or something?" The movie suggests he might as well be..._Jungle Fever_ may have captured the tenor of the times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but opposition to interracial marriage among black women seems to have become more muted over the years. The anger of the early 1990s has softened into the disappointment of the second decade of the twenty-first century.
> In 2010, the black singer and actress [Jill Scott](!Wikipedia) - known both for her tender love songs and her wild natural hair - expressed her dismay in _Essence_ magazine upon discovering that her "handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy" new friend was "happily married to a White woman." The realization made her "spirit wince" as her body felt an "inner pinch, like a mosquito under a summer dress."
> Similarly, some of the women interviewed for his book were troubled by black men who partnered with nonblack women. As one woman explains: "If I see a black man with a white woman, there's a part of me that feels sadness and a part of me that feels anger. I may not want that black man, but I probably know some black woman who does." Another woman had for years adamantly opposed interracial marriage but more recently has tried to become more accepting, especially as friends enter interracial relationships. "I don't roll my eyes when I see an interracial couple now," she says, sounding proud of herself. "'Maybe they do love each other', I think. I try not to judge."
> - 91: Black men are a scarce resource, many black women would say, and should stay with black women. As _Ebony_ noted in 1993. "Finding an eligible Black man, as almost any single 'sister' will tell you, has become an increasingly difficult task...Black men dating White women, for example, cause most single Black women to see red in almost any community." Douglas C. Lyons. 1993. ["Where the Men Are: The 10 Best Cities"]( _Ebony_, July
> - 92: Patricia Johnson. 1998. "Sister Poll". _Essence_, April.
> - 93: Zondra Hughes. 2003. ["Why Some Brothers Only Date Whites and 'Others'"]( _Ebony_, January.
> - 94: "Where Are All the Men?" 2005. Letter to the Editor. _Essence_, October, p. 24.
> - 95: Christie D. Batson, et al 2006. ["Interracial and Intraracial Patterns of Mate Selection among America's Diverse Black Populations"]( _Journal of Marriage and Family_ 68: 658-672
> - 96: Kingsley Davis. 1941. ["Intermarriage in Caste Societies"]( _American Anthropologist_ 43(3): 376-395; Robert K. Merton. "Intermarriage and the Social Structure: Fact and Theory". _Psychiatry_ 4:361-374.
> - 97: Michael J. Rosenfeld. ["A Critique of Exchange Theory in Mate Selection"]( _American Journal of Sociology_ 110(5): 1284-1325.
[^faces]: ["A Facial Attractiveness Account of Gender Asymmetries in Interracial Marriage"]( (Lewis 2012) found that females ranked male black faces over white over Asian, while males did the reverse (female Asian over white over black), giving as background:
> "A striking aspect of the data on interracial marriages is the size of the gender asymmetries [1]–[3]. These asymmetries appear robust across time and culture. Details of these asymmetries are shown in Table 1 based on census data from the UK and USA for White, Black and Asian racial groups. If we focus upon marriages between White and Black people then we observe that there are over twice as many marriages between Black men and White women than between White men and Black women in the US. An observed consequence of this pattern is a decline in marriage rates for Black women, which has been described in the US as the ‘marriage squeeze’ [4]. The asymmetry is smaller in the UK but still present. The gender asymmetries are even larger for marriages that include Asian and White people. In this situation, however, it is the number of White men marrying Asian women that is over twice the number of White women marrying Asian men. The largest asymmetry shows that marriages between Black men and Asian women in the US outnumber those between Asian men and Black women by about five to one."
[^Korea]: Expat [James Turnbull]( has [twice]( [examined]( this skew in domestic Korean advertisements.
And the reality is extremely skewed. While most foreigner-Japanese marriages are marriages to a foreign woman, the picture changes when we break the figures out by nationality. The [2006 statistics]( report that 1,474 American men married Japanese women, and 215 American women married Japanese men; similarly, 386 English grooms outweigh 79 English brides. Where do all the foreign women come from, then? China, Korea, and the Philippines - all countries somewhat or extremely poor per capita compared to Japan. (Similar patterns seem to occur with immigrants, although the only example I have data for is Denmark[^Denmark].)
[^Denmark]: From an informal translation of [Statistics Denmark](!Wikipedia)'s ["Immigrants in Denmark, 2011"](
> When it comes to male immigrants from Western countries who are classified as being in a relationship, in 59% of the cases the partner is of Danish origin and in 37% of the cases the partner is an immigrant from a Western country. When it comes to the female immigrants from a Western country, 63% of the partners are of Danish origin and in one-third of the cases it's a Western immigrant. The pattern is different when it comes to immigrants from non-Western countries. For male immigrants from non-Western countries, 13% have partners of Danish origin and 80% have partners from a non-Western country. For female immigrants from non-Western countries, 28% have partners of Danish origin and 68% have partners of non-Western origin. Interestingly, when it comes to descendants Western immigrants are more likely to have a partner of Danish origin than are first generation immigrants (83% and 85% for males and females respectively), whereas this pattern is actually reversed for females from non-Western countries, where descendants are less likely to have a Danish partner than are first generation immigrants (19% of females who are descendants of immigrants from non-Western countries with a partner have a partner of Danish origin, whereas the corresponding number for the first generation non-Western female immigrants is 28%.) 3 out of 5 non-Western descendants who are in a relationship are in a relationship with a non-Western immigrant and 18% of them have a partner who's also a descendant of immigrants from a non-Western country. (all numbers above from Tabel 1.9, p.32)
The patterns seems to be that immigrants from wealthier/prestigious - and Western - countries can compete successfully for native Danes, while immigrants from poorer countries like Turkey must often seek mates from back home; the women from poorer countries also partner 'up', gaining more Danes than their male counterparts, just as we see with Japan.
Sexual and familial metaphors are common in conceiving of nationalities & races ('the Rape of Nanking', Japan as the 'big brother' in the Asian Co-prosperity sphere), and it hardly needs pointing out that it is considered lower-status to be the woman in a relationship (the penetrated; consider the ancient Greeks' disdain of whichever male was being penetrated in a homosexual relationship, or the modern yaoi culture's general depiction of the '[bottom](!Wikipedia "Bottom (sex)")', the '[uke](!Wikipedia "Yaoi#Seme and uke")'). Fears of the foreigner stealing one's women is almost universal, from the most advanced industrial women to the Yanomano who go to war primarily to steal women from the others. See how often this fear occurs in science fiction & fantasy; and in the real world, we see this xenophobia-as-fear-of-losing-competition-for-women almost everywhere - Asian-Americans males complain - perhaps justifiably given Asian-American female preferences for Caucasians[^ok-cupid] - about white men stealing Asian-American females from them, Southern men's fear of blacks touching their women is too well-known to need referencing, and foreign male visitors to Bangkok's red light districts find noteworthy the *lack* of hostility on the part of the native Filipino males. Domestic women who seek out foreign men for sex are particularly condemned; in a Japanese context, see the ["Yellow Cab"](!Wikipedia "Yellow cab (stereotype)") stereotype^[See also Karen Kelsky's 1996 paper, ["Flirting With the Foreign: Interracial Sex in Japan's 'International' Age"](/docs/1996-kelsky.pdf).]. (This may not be the real causality; Internet dating studies suggest that women have stronger racial preferences than men[^women-racist], which muddies matters - if the women are pickier, why are more Japanese women marrying out than men? But we're interested in popular beliefs and their reflection in fiction.)
[^ok-cupid]: [OkCupid](!Wikipedia)'s online dating service found significant disparities in interest by race; from ["How Your Race Affects The Messages You Get"](
> **White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively.** These three types of women *only* respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups' reply rates to **non-whites** is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%. It's here where things get interesting, for white women in particular. If you look at the **match-by-race** table before this one, the “should-look-like” one, you see that white women have an above-average compatibility with almost every group. Yet they only reply well to guys who look like them. There's more data on this towards the end of the post.
[^women-racist]: Banks 2011; chapter 8 "Beyond Race?", pg 128:
> While researchers' findings differ, most Internet dating studies have found that men are much more open than women to interracial dating.^252^ Women are more likely to exclude men on the basis of race than men are to exclude women on the basis of race.^253^ In one recent study of Internet dating, for example, 64% of white women stated a preference for a white man, while only 29% of white men stated a preference for a white woman.^254^ In another study, only 22% of white men registered a preference for dating while women.^255^ While the particulars of these studies vary, they all converge on the same conclusion: Dating pools are limited more by the racial preferences of women than by those of men. One implication of this fact is that black women, according to Internet dating studies, have greater opportunities to date across racial lines than do black men.^256^
> - 252: One study using a major online dating site found that women were more than twice as likely as men to express a preference for a partner of their own race. 38% of women had such a preference, but only 18% of men did. Guenter J. Hitsch, Ali Hortascu, and Dan Ariely. 2006. ["What Makes You Click? Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating"]( MIT Sloan Research Paper N. 4603-06, February. Available on SSRN.
> - 253: This gender difference is likely due to the fact that men are less concerned than women with the acceptance of family and friends, as men invest less in such relationships than do women.
> - 254: Cynthia Feliciano, Belinda Robnett, and Golnaz Komaie. 2009. ["Gendered Racial Exclusion among White Internet Daters"]( _Social Science Research_ 38:23.
> - 255: Hitsch et al 2006
> - 256: Raymond Fisman, Sheena Iyengar, Emir Kamenica, and Itamar Simonson. 2007. ["Racial Preferences in Dating"]( _Review of economic Studies_ 75(1): 117-132, at 124. Cynthia Feliciano...More than 90% of the 72% of white women who name a racial preference stated that they would not date a black man. Among men, 58% stated a racial preference, and 93% would exclude black women; Guenter J. Hitsch...This study found that 38% of all women say that they prefer to meet someone of the same ethnic background as themselves, while only 18% of men do so; Robert Kurzban and Jason Weeden 2007. ["Do Advertised Preferences Predict the Behavior of Speed Daters?"]( _Personal Relationships_ 14: 623-632. This study examined data from speed-dating participants and found that women were more likely to state racial preferences than men.
So, it seems pretty straightforward to suggest that a Japanese man marrying and impregnating a foreign woman would be seen as less status-lowering than a foreign man marrying and impregnating a Japanese woman. Westerners have, since Perry, been of high status in Japan for their technology & science & power. (Expats even today in Japan or Korea sometimes talk about 'playing the gaijin/waygook card' - breaking rules or shirking responsibilities through a combination of assumed ignorance on their part and their peculiar and higher status as a foreigner.) So, a Japanese woman marrying a Western man would lower her status (and by extension, that of Japan). Similarly we might expect that a Japanese man marrying an attractive Western woman (as the women universally seem to be in anime & manga) could actually gain status for himself - and by extension, Japan - from 'marrying above his position'. (At the very least, many men are attracted to the exotic other, and not so much the women.[^Enokido]) This turns out to be an explanation offered by at least one Japanese writer for the previously cited international marriage statistics:
> "Men want "downward" partners while women want "upward" partners There are two prominent features about Japanese international marriages. One is that the majority of partners are from neighboring countries including Korea, China and Philippines. This is due to geographical and historical relations. The reason Brazil is outstanding in numbers is due to the fact that many Japanese-Brazilians are working in Japan. Another feature is that foreign wife and Japanese husband partnerships make up the majority of mixed marriages at 80 percent. In the case of foreign husbands, excluding neighboring countries, American husbands are most common. This may be due to the good Japan-US relations after the war and the fact that there are many American military bases in Japan. The tendency of international marriages is that, not only in Japan but also internationally, men want downward partners while women want upward partners. This means men want women whose educational background, income and height are less than theirs. Women are just the opposite. In Japan in the late 80's the jargon "San-ko" (three heights) became popular. This jargon refers to the educational background, income and height of men. It was a marriage condition for many Japanese women. Statistics prove that men with low incomes and women with high incomes are highly likely to be unmarried. However, Japanese me with low incomes are still rich for those who live in developing countries and the situation will meet their conditions. Among foreigners Japanese women generally want to marry Western men."^[["Now, One Out of 20 Marriages are Mixed!"](, _[Hiragana Times](!Wikipedia)_]
[^penis]: Usually the controversy is over African or African-American penis sizes compared to Caucasian penis sizes; but even sources criticizing [Philippe Rushton](!Wikipedia)'s review ["Race Differences in Behaviour: A Review and Evolutionary Analysis"]( citing many studies and reviews finding that black > white > east Asian admit that white penis sizes are larger than east Asian (eg. [Masters and Johnson](!Wikipedia) apparently measured a full inch average size difference in favor of whites). Well, it doesn't especially matter.
[^Sailer]: Asian women tend to marry out much more than Asian men, according to US census records; [UPI]( "Asian women had white husbands 3.08 times more often than Asian men had white wives. That means just over 75 percent of white-Asian couples featured a white husband and Asian wife. That 3.08 ratio is up from 2.54 times in 1990." See also Sailer's more in-depth article ["Is Love Colorblind?"]( (update: ["Love: Still Not Colorblind"]( and for the angry Asian-American perspective, Arthur Hu's _[AsianWeek](!Wikipedia)_ essay ["Part I: A Race of Rodney Dangerfields?"]( will serve nicely. There are major disparities in other races; te statistics for [black women]( are remarkable.
[^Enokido]: In the [_Complete Records Collection_](/docs/2010-crc) documenting _[Evangelion 2.0](!Wikipedia)_, [Yōji Enokido](!Wikipedia) discusses why the character [Asuka Langley Soryu](!Wikipedia) (half-German, foreign mother) is so attractive and his difficulty integrating another hafu character ([Mari Makinami](!Wikipedia), half-English, probable foreign mother):
> "Concerning the matter of strengthening Mari's character, Anno-san had already been asking me if I had any ideas, so I started to investigate the problem. However, as I worked through it, the twosome '[Rei](!Wikipedia "Rei Ayanami") and Asuka' was such a powerful combination that they seemed to stand in the way. When I tried to investigate what made this pair so strong, I realized that this combination followed the archetype of the so called '[harem anime](!Wikipedia)', and that all the desires, lusts, and dreams of young men were bound up in them.
> One 'type' is the girl who was a childhood friend, who has always been with you since you were born, and with whom there are no new or strange feelings. Rei is established to resemble a 'mother' in some respects, and so she produces in young men a feeling of distance [from things?] as though they were still half in the womb. Now, Asuka's particular type is that of the girl who comes from a foreign country. This also produces a very good feeling. Probably it is the male instinct to think, in some respects, that girls from another world are better than girls who are familiar and close to hand [laughs]."
From this status explanation, we could make a few predictions.
1. The Japanese man marrying out would be of a high SES, rather than low
2. the woman marrying out would be of a low SES
(If these 2 predictions sound too easy and obvious, that just shows how intuitive this sort of thinking is. There are actually 4 possible pairs of prediction about the average status of M/F marrying out: low/low, low/high, high/low, high/high.)
We might also expect some historical trend-lines in fictional pairings, with shifts in which as Japanese self-esteem increases, so do the number of Japanese males marrying out and a decrease in the number of women marrying out. From what I know of Japanese history, Japanese self-esteem fell to a nadir post-Perry, with serious proposals to switch Japan to speaking English (!), then slowly recovering, soaring with the growth of the empire before crashing yet again in the wake of the ruinous WWII, and then slowly rising to a peak in the 1980s with the bubble and then collapsing a fair bit with the bubble's collapse. So if we charted the percentage of biracial characters with a Japanese male parent, we might expect to see a similar graph: low after WWII and increasing ever since, with possibly a fall post 1990 or so.
But perhaps all this is simply my own particular bias; believing that more Japanese women out-marry than Japanese men could be seen as a claim that foreign men (and Western men in particular) are better than Japanese men, more 'manly' and attractive. At least one academic has accused Western companies of reflecting this belief in its Japanese advertising, while native advertising presents a more straightforward competition between Japanese and Western men.[^Kelsky]
[^Kelsky]: Eri Izawa, ["Notes from the Japanese Popular Culture Conference at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, University of Victoria in Victoria, Canada"](
> "Karen Kelsky (University of Oregon) noted, among other things, how women in commercials are depicted as vehicles or conduits of male power. She also noted (and I found this particularly amusing) that commercials by Western companies tended to show white men as objects of Japanese women's desire, while Japanese companies tended to show Japanese men usurping white men." [Checking Kelsky's [CV](, she does not seem to have published on this topic yet.]
In advance, I suspect there may not be enough bi-racial characters to draw a neat graph, and selection bias & difficulty in finding such biracial characters with information in English would distort the true graph.
> Mr. Craig seems to be supporting the Korean people, and criticizing the arrogance of foreigners who would dare complain about people who call their female companions whores to their faces, but he chose a rather inapt analogy. It wasn't that "only prostitutes" were accustomed to walking alongside men - something that suggests that all women seen walking with men in Korea were assumed to be prostitutes. The point was that it was assumed that only prostitutes would be seen walking with *foreign* men.
> There are many movies and documentaries about female prostitutes. While some focus on women forced into prostitution against their will, most of the rest vaguely imply that the female prostitutes are exploited by their male customers. The message seems to be "They don't see that the money they gain is just not worth their loss of intimacy, self-respect, etc."
cf. [comfort women](!Wikipedia)
> The film was originally suggested by a British government department to improve relations between the Americans in the UK and the British public [13] following Powell and Pressburger's contributions to this sphere in A Canterbury Tale two years earlier, though neither film received any government funding nor input on plot or production. There was a degree of hostility against the American servicemen stationed in the UK for the invasion of Europe. They were viewed in some quarters as latecomers to the war and as "overpaid, oversexed and over here" by a public that had suffered three years of bombing and rationing, with many of their own men fighting abroad. The premise of the film is a simple inversion: The English pilot gets the pretty American woman rather than the other way round, and the only national bigotry is voiced by the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War against the British. Raymond Massey, portraying an American, was a Canadian national at the time the film was made, but became a naturalized American citizen afterward
Interracial marriages/dating in the US: white men like Asian women, white women like black men, Asian men & black women are left in the cold:
- <>
- <>
> But when it was all over and I was waiting in Manila for my flight home, I looked around and noticed something:
> You know, there sure are a lot of Japanese men with Filipina wives. But that makes sense.
> Millions of Filipinos currently work overseas, an enormous population of expat laborers. (In fact, I didn't know this initially, but overseas remittances account for billions– literally billions!– of dollars in the Philippine economy.) In Japan, especially, Filipinas find lots of work. The "Filipinas hostess club" is a notable feature of Japanese nightlife, frequented by many a salaryman looking to relax and have a drink with some island beauties. And logically, with time and proximity in that kind of job, why wouldn't some workers fall in love and settle down with the locals?
> That's what I figured, and to me there's nothing wrong with it… But from what I've gathered from some late-night bar conversations with Japanese men, marrying a Filipina hostess is the equivalent of a Russian mail-order bride: A sketchy, ethically suspect last resort for lonely oddballs. So the popular perception goes.
# Generating candidates
Extracting candidate articles from Wikipedia:
- [Category:Fictional Japanese people](!Wikipedia)
- `` (deleted December 2011)
- <>
Then using TvTropes, [But Not Too Foreign]( section on half-breeds and using anime/manga section.
# List
The following list includes manga, light novel, anime, and video game characters (there being little point in keeping the mediums separate). It also includes characters who are not _hafu_ themselves but a quarter-foreign inasmuch as they imply a _hafu_ at some point. Characters are treated separately even if they are in the same work (eg. siblings).
Year Series Character Father Mother
---- -------------------------- --------- ------ ------
1964 _Cyborg 009_ Joe Shimamura American? Japanese?^[TVTropes says "half-Japanese (mother), half-American (father), and in the manga he was bullied because of that"; I did not find any other online sources specifying the parents, and do not have the manga handy.]
1967 _Lupin III_ Lupin III French? Japanese?^[[Wikipedia](!Wikipedia "Arsène Lupin III#Origins") discusses the ambiguity.]
1972 _Gatchaman_ Jun 'the Swan' ? ?^[Information about Jun is very scarce; [asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Science_Ninja_Team_Gatchaman#Parentage")]
1974 _Great Mazinger_ Jun Hono American Japanese
1976 _Kochira Katsushika-ku..._ Reiko Kathrine Akimoto Japanese? French?^[[Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:List_of_Kochira_Katsushika-ku_Kameari_K%C5%8Den-mae_Hashutsujo_characters#Reiko.27s_parentage")]
1979 _Mobile Suit Gundam_ Amuro Ray Japanese Canadian^[TvTropes says Ray's mother is Canadian, and was changed to Mexican in a much later _Gundam_ anime; the [Gundam Wikia]( says she is either American or Canadian but it is not specified.]
1981 _GoShogun_ Remy Shimada Japanese French^[Alan Takahashi's ["Anime Pocket Guide"]( compiled for `rec.arts.anime` comments of a later _GoShogun_ movie that "Remy's mother was a French prostitute, so Remy has a tainted and confused past."]
1982 _Macross_ Lynn Minmay Chinese? Japanese-Chinese^[The father-mother mix is unclear.]
1983 _Adolf_ Adolf Kaufmann German Japanese
1987 _Hanasakeru Seishounen_ Kajika Burnsworth American Japanese
1987 _Metal Gear_ Solid Snake American Japanese
1988 _Master Keaton_ Taichi Hiraga-Keaton Japanese English
1988 _Mobile Police Patlabor_ Kanuka Clancy American Japanese?^[[Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Kanuka_Clancy#Parentage").]
1990 _Slam Dunk_ Michael Okita Japanese American
1991 _801 T.T.S. Airbats_ Mitaka Arisa Japanese ?^[[Hitoshi Doi]( on the audiodrama adaptation: "Mitaka Arisa got transferred to the 801 TTS. Kengamine looked at Arisa's papers and found out that she was half Japanese (her father was Japanese)."]
1992 _Hana Yori Dango_ Thomas Japanese German^[[Margaret O'Connell]( quotes Thomas as saying: "Because I'm half Japanese. My dad's from here. My mom's German."]
1993 _Samurai Gun_ Ichimatsu Japanese Dutch
1994 _Detective Conan_ Ai Haibara Japanese English
1994 _Fake_ Randy Ryo McLean American Japanese
1994 _Monster_ Tenma Japanese? ?
1995 _Angel Sanctuary_ Sara Mudo ? ?^[O'Connell quotes volume 1 of the manga: "Since our grandfather was from England, we both have blonde hair and light-brown eyes... so everyone's gonna know that we're brother and sister." Asked for more details: <>]
1995 _Angel Sanctuary_ Setsuna Mudo ? ?
1995 _Chūka Ichiban!_ Shirou Chinese Japanese
1995 _Kodomo no Omocha_ Naozumi Kamura American Japanese^[Sourced from subtitles of episode 73 & 74, and interpretation checked against [a fansite](]
1995 _Neon Genesis Evangelion_ Asuka Soryu Langley Japanese German
1996 _Hana-kimi_ Mizuki's brother Japanese American?
1996? _Sakura Taisen_ Maria Tachibana Japanese Russian^[This was tough to track down; found mother's nationality in <>]
1996? _Sakura Taisen_ Orihime Soletta Japanese Italian
1996 _Card Captors Sakura_ Eriol Hiiragizawa ? ?^[British-Japanese, reportedly. I omitted the related characters Eriol Hiiragizawa and Watanuki as they are too complicated to fairly include.]
1997 _Sensual Phrase_ Sakuya Ookoch American? Japanese?
1997 _Sensual Phrase_ Sakuya Ookochi American Japanese
1997 _To Heart_ Lemmy Miyauchi American Japanese^[[Cloud668](!Wikipedia "Talk:List_of_To_Heart_series_characters#To_Heart:_Lemmy_Miyauchi_parentage") says the parents' nationalities are listed in 'the guidebook'.]
1998 _Full Metal Panic!_ Kurz Weber German? Japanese?
1998 _Maria-sama Ga Miteru_ Sei Satō Japanese? American?^[Seems to be zero information besides a comment she is attractive despite the foreign blood; the surname is Japanese and she graduates to study English & American Literature, so probably she has a mother who is one of those nationalities. [Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:List_of_Maria-sama_ga_Miteru_characters#Sei_Sat.C5.8D_parentage").]
1998 _UFO Baby_ Christine Hanakomachi Japanese French
1998 _Sakura Taisen 2_ Orihime Soletta Japanese Italian
1998 _Sakura Taisen 2_ Maria Tachibana Japanese Russian^["Maria Tachibana was born in Russia to a Japanese father and a Russian mother." --["Sakura Taisen"](, _Ex.org_]
1999 _Fruits Baskets_ Momiji Sohma Japanese? German?
1999 _GetBackers_ Ban Mido German Japanese^[His father, [Der Kaiser](, seems to be half-German/half-Japanese, making Ban a quarter-German,]
1999 _Peacemaker Kurogane_ Akesato ? ?^[The mangaka Sakamoto has apparently only commented she is a hafu (presumably Caucasian), nothing more. [Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Peace_Maker_%28manga%29#Akesato_parentage").]
1999 _Prince of Tennis_ Jackal Kuwahara Brazilian? Japanese?^[Guesses based on surname, unreliable as that is. Asked at <>]
1999 _Sister Princess_ Aria Japanese French
1999 _Sister Princess_ Haruka Japanese German
1999 _Sister Princess_ Yotsuba Japanese English
1999 _Venus in Love_ Yuki Ikeuchi Japanese? Greek?^[Guessing based on surname; [asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Venus_in_Love#Parentage").]
2000 _Beyblade_ Max Tate Japanese American
2000 _Nana_ Layla Serizawa American Japanese
2000 _Pani Poni Dash!_ (manga) Rebecca Miyamoto Japanese American
2000 _Read or Die_ Yomiko Readman Japanese English
2000 _Tsukihime_ Ciel French Japanese?^[Ciel says only "I looked like my mother, who was Oriental"; asked: <>]
2001 _Bleach_ Yasutora Sado Japanese? Mexican?^[[Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Yasutora_Sado#Parents").]
2001 _Sakura Taisen 3_ Hanabi Kitaoji Japanese French^[Specifically, her maternal grandmother is French, or so [MyAnimeList]( claims. This is consistent with her nobility and her father being named Masamichi Kitaoji.]
2001 _Dead or Alive 3_ Hitomi German Japanese^[Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a DOA anime or manga, except for a [DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball manga](]
2002 _.hack//Legend of the Twilight_ Hotaru Irish Japanese
2002 _Eyeshield 21_ Mamori Anezaki Japanese American^[Technically, her mother is half-American and hence Mamori is a quarter-Japanese, like Asuka Soryu Langley's mother is half-Japanese/half-German in _NGE_.]
2002 _Hungry Heart_ Kouji Sakai Japanese Swedish
2002 _School Rumble_ Eri Sawachika English Japanese^[Technically, half-Japanese.]
2002 _Yakitate!! Japan_ Meister Silvan Kirisaki Japanese French
2002 _Yakitate!! Japan_ Sophie Balzac Kirisaki Japanese French
2003 _Baccano_ Yalgumo? ?? ??^[Information from TvTropes; I have been unable to find out anything about this character - he may not even be named 'Yalgumo' but 'Yagumo'.]
2003 _Gakuen Alice_ Ruka Nogi Japanese French
2003 _Mahou Sensei Negima!_ Ayaka Yukihiro Japanese? ?^[Asked: <>]
2003 _Negima_ Negima Springfield English Fantasy
2003 _Onegai Twins_ Karen Onodera? ? ?
2003 _Onegai Twins_ Maiku Kamishiro? ? ?
2003 _Ouran High School Host_ Tamaki Suoh Japanese French
2003 _Soul Eater_ Maka Albarn ? Japanese^[Apparently another character states Maka is half-Japanese, and her father is depicted as a Caucasian of unspecified nationality; asked: <>.]
2003 _Death Note_ L Lawliet Japanese? English/Russian?^[Writer Tsugumi Ohba in _Death Note 13: How to Read_: "I think of him as a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian, a quarter French or Italian, like that."]
2003 _Death Note_ Ray Penber American Japanese
2004 _Durarara!!_ Walker Yumasaki ? ?^[Asked: <>]
2004 _Fate/Stay Night_ Illyasviel Einzbern Japanese German
2004 _Jubei-chan 2_ Freesia Yagyu Japanese Russian
2004 _Kamen no Maid Guy_ Elizabeth K. Strawberryfield English? Japanese?^[[Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Kamen_no_Maid_Guy#Strawberryfield_ancestry")]
2004 _Kamen no Maid Guy_ Heindrick Strawberryfield English? Japanese?
2004 _Katekyo Hitman Reborn!_ Gokudera Hayato Italian Japanese
2004 _Kimi to Boku_ Chizuru Tachibana ? ?^[[Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:Kimi_to_Boku_%28manga%29#Nationality")]
2004 _Nabari no Ou_ Thobari Kumohira Durandal Japanese Irish^[Standard online sites say only that his grandfather (unspecified side) is Irish; one [fanfiction wiki]( says "Thobari Durandal Kumohira (雲平・デュランダル・帷) was born in Japan to an Irish medi-witch and a Japanese accountant. However, the two died in an accident when Thobari was still very young, and as his only living relative, his grandfather (his mother's father) came to his aid. The old man was... eccentric, to say the least." But then it goes on to describe how Kumohira was accepted into Hogwarts, so this may not be reliable information.]
2004 _Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo_ Fumio Kirisaki American Japanese^[Technically, Kirisaki's Texan grandfather married her Japanese grandmother; so the father/mother information is for them, not her immediate parents; the actual hafu is Kirisaki's mother.]
2004 _Tona-Gura!_ Niina Isokawa Japanese American
2004? _Kujibiki Unbalance_ Ritsuko Kettenkrad German Japanese
2005 _Ai Kora_ Sakurako Tenmaku Japanese English
2005 _Best Student Council_ Cyndi Manabe Japanese American
2005 _Canvas 2_ Elise Housen Japanese French
2005 _Kaichou wa Maid-sama!_ Usui Takumi Japanese English
2005 _Pani Poni Dash!_ (anime) Rebecca Miyamoto American Japanese
2005 _Sakura Taisen 5_ Gemini Sunrise Japanese? American?^[<> identifies Sunrise's mother as "Lynne McCarthy" and her father as "Yang", with no listed sources. I couldn't confirm the names or nationalities elsewhere. [Asked](!Wikipedia "Talk:List_of_Sakura_Wars_characters#Gemini_Sunrise")]
2006 _Maria Holic_ Tōichirō Kanae Japanese French
2006 _Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams_ Roberto Frois Spanish Japanese
2007 _Code Geass_ Kallen Stadtfeld English Japanese
2007 _K-On!_ Tsumugi Kotobuki Japanese? Finnish??^[["The speculation is that Mugi is half-Finnish, half-Japanese and raised as Japanese."]( I've asked at <>]
2007 _Oyasumi Punpun_ Sachi Japanese ?^[[Ch84, v08/pg15]( "...Then again, since my mom was a foreigner, she might've bought all that manga so she could study Japanese."]
2007 _Yes! PreCure 5_ Urara Kasugano French Japanese
2007 _Gundam 00_ Sumeragi Lee Noriega Japanese? Spanish?^[Online sources do not specify parentage beyond 'Eurasian' Spanish-Japanese, but do mention her 'real name' is "Leesa Kujō" (Japanese surname).]
2007 _Gundam 00_ Saji Crossroad American? Japanese?^[TVTropes claims these 3 characters are all Japanese-Americans; the Crossroads' father, "Mr. Crossroad", is briefly mentioned, whose surname suggests he is American and hence the mother would be Japanese.]
2007 _Gundam 00_ Kinue Crossroad American? Japanese?
2007 _Gundam 00_ Billy Katagiri Japanese? American?^[Same reasoning but even shakier - we have already seen examples where the Japanese-sounding surname was not the father but mother's.]
2008 _Code Geass: Lost Colors_ Rai English Japanese
2008 _ef - a tale of memories_ Renji Asou German Japanese
2008 _Kuragehime_ Kuranosuke Koibuchi Japanese ?^[Mother is a blonde Caucasian woman.]
2008 _Arisa_ Kudou Rei Japanese Portuguese
2008 _Oreimo_ Iori Fate Setsuna ? ?^[Episode 8 of the anime adaptations mentions off-hand that she is a 'quarter' (quarter foreign, presumably, analogous to 'hafu'/'half'). Her name is a pastiche of _[Mahou Shoujo Nanoha](!Wikipedia)_ allusions, so she likely is a background character for whom no particular nationality was intended.]
2009 _Darker than Black 2_ Shion Pavlichenko Russian Japanese
2009 _Darker than Black 2_ Suoh Pavlichenko Russian Japanese
2009 _Rebuild Evangelion 2.0_ Mari Makinami Japanese? English?
2009 _Starry Sky_ Yoh Tomoe French Japanese
2009 _Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai_ Kodaka Hasegawa Japanese English
2010 _Amagami SS_ Haruka Lovely Morishima Japanese English^[Episode 4; Haruka Morishima is a quarter-English; her mother is half-English from an English father. It's amusing to note that in episode 11 of the sequel _Amagami SS+_, an English relative named 'Jessica Sexy Morishima' (yes, that's her middle name apparently); she is drawn identically to Haruka but with blue eyes and blond hair, and hits on Haruka's boyfriend (the protagonist).]
2011 _AnoHana_ Menma Japanese Russian?
2011 _K-On!_ Sumire Saitō ?? ??^[The manga apparently calls her explicitly "a foreigner"; her fluency and lack of stereotypical mannerisms suggests she may be half-Japanese and/or raised in Japan, so she is included until further evidence.]
- They aren't half Japanese but i think they earn a mention : Ken from Street Fighter is 3/4 Japanese and Sean from SF3 is 1/4 Japanese .
- Saint Seiya. Saori is Greek though she grew up thinking she was Japanese and Hyoga is a Japanese-Russian.
Five Man Band of main characters are all Japanese... except for Hyouga, who is half-Russian. He's blonde and blue-eyed (like his Missing Mom), has cold-based attacks some of which have Russian names, and he gets most of the (W)angst. Justified in the manga, though, where the man that put them through the Training From Hell, Mitsumasa Kido, was actually their absurdly promiscuous father, and since he was Japanese...
- All the Jojos introduced from Part 3 to 6 in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure are at least part-Japanese and part-British.
- Jotaro (Part 3) is one quarter "American", one quarter British (from Joseph, the Jojo from part 2) and half-Japanese.
- Josuke (Part 4) is half-British (from Joseph, not that it's impossible...) and half-Japanese
- Giorno (Part 5) is half-British (From Jonathan's body with Dio's head on top), half-Japanese and culturally Italian.
- Jolyne (Part 6) is Jotaro's and an Italian-American woman's daughter.
- In each of the Digimon anime, there is a token case of But Not Too Foreign.
- Yamato and Takeru (Matt and T.K. in the dub) from Adventure and 02 are at least quarter-French. This is known because one episode in the World Tour arc features their French grandfather. Since the Digimon movie shows Yamato and Takeru visiting their grandmother in Shimane, fans have 'decided' that it is their paternal grandmother who lives in Shimane, and their maternal grandfather in France. Only problem is that their father's last name is Ishida, and their mother, Natsuko, went back to using her maiden name after the divorce—Takaishi. Grandpa's name is Michel.
- Tamers' Lee Jianliang and Xiaochang (Henry and Suzie Wong) and their two older siblings are half-Chinese. Jianliang's Digimon partner, Terriermon, even speaks Cantonese.
- Orimoto Izumi (Zoe), The Chick, was born in Japan, but spent most of her formative years in Italy and often uses Italian expressions in her speech. This actually plays into her character development, however, as it has resulted in her being much more individualistic and independent than her peers.
- Tohma (Thomas) H. Norstein from Savers/Data Squad is the son of a Japanese woman and an Austrian aristocrat. Implied to have been born out of wedlock, he was outright rejected by his paternal grandmother after his mother's death, and his father couldn't bring himself to oppose her. This lead to a serious rift between them. While never opposing one's mother is typically Japanese, it is not very Germanic.
- Digimon 01/02. Matt and TK are at least 1/4 French though most of this series doesn't take place in Japan. In the 3rd season which mostly does take place in Japan, Henry Wong is from Hong Kong.
# External links
- Margaret O'Connell has a series of articles examining visual characteristics & foreign attributes in anime & manga:
1. ["Why Is Manga and Anime Characters' Hair All the Colors of the Rainbow?"](
2. ["Part 2: Otherworldly Shades"](
3. ["Part 3: Blonds Are Trouble"](
4. ["Part 4: When Is a Blond Not a Blond?"](
- TvTropes has a large page of examples, under [Phenotype Stereotype](