Hafu/Half Japanese Main Page

The Curators

Natalie Maya Willer/Photographer
Natalie Maya Willer

Natalie was born in Munich, Germany to a Japanese mother and German father. She completed her primary and secondary education in Munich which was accompanied by attending Japanese school on Saturdays. Throughout her childhood Natalie has travelled to Japan on numerous occasions. She moved to London in 1997 where she studied photography at the University of Westminster and completed an MA in Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art in 2004.

Natalie's current art practice deals with the subjects of cultural diversity and mixed ethnic heritage. Being half Japanese and half German, she likes to look into issues surrounding identity and appearance, exoticism and orientalism. Her fascination with this subject mainly stems from her own experience and frustration of being very fair, almost blonde half Japanese who has never been instantly recognised as half Japanese. Yet she has found it very easy to spot other fellow half Japanese people and thinks that there is definitely a ‘'half Japanese look' which she further explores in her visual work.

Her photographic series of half Japanese people with Marcia's accompanying interviews creates a strong narrative and debate around complex issues within our multicultural society.

Natalie's work has been shown in London, Tokyo and San Francisco.

In March 2011 Natalie moved to Japan where she got married to another fellow hafu. She now lives with her husband and two children in Chiba-ken.

Marcia Yumi Lise/Social Researcher
Marcia Yumi Lise
Social Researcher

Marcia was born in Yokohama, Japan to a Japanese mother and an Italian-American father. Marcia was raised in Japan, experiencing both Japanese and private international education. She studied & worked in the UK for 8 years.

Her passion is in educating people of the socially constructed concept of "race" and helping society widen the notion of who can belong to the idea of "Japanese". She wants a more inclusive concept of "Japanese" and a more rounded knowledge of culturally, ethnically and "racially" diverse Japan.

She has a graduate degree in Social Research from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research interest lies in the area of race, ethnicity, culture, identity and nationhood.

Currently lives in Hawaii and a proud mother of a young baby son.

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