I'm Ten, and my father is a Chinese, and my mother is a Japanese. I'm the second-generation Japanese or the mixed-race Japanese and raised between a Chinese father (from Shenzhen) and a Japanese mother in Tokyo.

Which one should I say if I introduce myself to somebody in the United States?

I've heard "a second-generation " meaning is immigration. foreign people moved to a particular country and lived there permanently, or born in a country to which they moved. foreign people who immigrated to another country aren't on specific genes.


In the US, people who emigrate from their country of birth to become US immigrants are considered in the US to be "first-generation immigrants". Their children born in the US would be considered "second-generation" and the grandchildren of the first-generation are considered "third-generation" and so on.

You could say "My mother is Japanese and my father is Chinese". But it would not be necessary to introduce yourself in that manner. You could certainly say that if the subject of your heritage were to come up in the course of the conversation, or if you wanted to bring it up, but we are not required to mention our parents when introducing ourselves.

Note that it is not idiomatic to say

My mother is a Japanese. NO


My father is a Chinese. NO

as "Japanese" and "Chinese" are adjectives meaning "from Japan" and "from China", respectively.

  • it needs "noun" after "a Chinese" or "a Japanese". I remember "articles" in use. thank for telling me
    – Ten Jhoji
    Oct 29 '18 at 13:36
  • A noun is needed after the adjective, or you can eliminate the article and leave the adjective as is, without a noun. Oct 29 '18 at 13:41

In the United States, East Asians are considered to be a race. Nations or tribes of East Asians are not considered to be separate races. So by American standards, the original poster is not "mixed-race".

If asked about their ancestry, the original poster could describe themselves as "half-Chinese, half-Japanese". The order of the terms is not important, so alphabetical order is okay.

  • I do not know whether that answer correctly describes what US people consider to be a race. I very much hope that it does not. I do not understand why the OP needs to volunteer any information about which countries his forbears came from, particularly if his audience (if @Jasper is correct) cannot distinguish between China and Japan.
    – JeremyC
    Oct 28 '18 at 23:26
  • 1
    @JeremyC -- Most Americans treat the word "race" as meaning a very high-level category of people, of whom many were present in the nineteenth-century United States in politically important numbers: Black (identifying with sub-Saharan black ancestors), White (identifying with Caucasian / Mediterranean / Middle-Eastern ancestors), [East] Asian, [American] Indian. Several similarly distinct groups were not present in the United States in large enough numbers at that time to be categorized this way: African pygmies, Australian aborigines, East Indians, et cetera.
    – Jasper
    Oct 28 '18 at 23:46
  • @JeremyC -- Americans can distinguish between Chinese people and Japanese people. But Americans do not consider the differences to be as obvious as the differences between what Americans consider to be distinct races.
    – Jasper
    Oct 28 '18 at 23:57

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