Legacy Of World War II– Mixed Race Japanese Babies

The American occupation of Japan left a legacy of democracy and a pacifist Constitution, but it also left thousands of mixed race children born to Japanese mothers and American fathers. Unfortunately, for the babies, most of the Americans headed home and left the child with a woman dealing with the postwar poverty which devastated her nation. Miki Sawada, in 1963 opened an orphanage for these children, many of whom were not only deserted by their fathers, but abandoned by their mothers. She encountered few, if any, American soldiers who wanted to assume any responsibility for the child they had fathered. In race conscious Japan, a child with western features invariably encountered prejudice at school or work.

One can only wonder if sixty years later, Japanese people continue to display such prejudice against children who are of Asian and Western parents? Hopefully, a Japan which is linked economically and politically with the world has become socially more democratic in being able to accept children who represent the best of two worlds.

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  • Jerome K

    To answer your question, no. Japanese people do not display much if any prejudice against children who are of Japanese and American parents.

    In fact, mixed children in Japan is becoming more and more of a common and accepted thing. Simply put, Japanese women are seeking out foreign fathers to start a family with because they are tired of the treatment they receive from Japanese men.

    My daughter, born from my Japanese wife, has never been ill-treated due to her mixture and in fact, it has made her that much more beautiful and accepted in the eyes of full-blooded Japanese.

    The only problem I see left in Japan, is the weird looks her mother and I get from remains of the WW2-era Japanese. In their eyes we can see that they disapprove of my wife marrying a non-Japanese man and resentment towards me because I was there via the U.S. Military.

    This isn’t common though. These people were far and few.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    I’m glad to hear things are improving. During the Korean War, anger and hate in Japan toward the mixed children was intense.

  • Ken Alley

    Fred-
    I have recently transcribed 1000 pages of letters that were written by a young American (Milwaukee) lady who worked as a court reporter for the U.S. Army in Kobe, Japan, 1947 & 48. They are extremily interesting and two (?) of the letters speak of the orphanage in Yokohama that had nothing but American fathered babies. 180 to be exact.
    I hope to publish these letters in book form some day.
    Ken Alley
    402-362-1244
    alleykat51@hotmail.com

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    What an historical treasure. Have you contacted a local history department at a university?

  • Ken Alley

    No, not at this time. I am working with a Japanese writer to provide narrative for the book. In Sept 08 he wrote a series of 6 articles re: these letters for the Japan Times. “Letters From Kobe.” You can probably google this paper and check archives.
    Looking for a publisher.
    Ken Alley

  • Ken Alley

    Fred-
    I’m looking to contact American-Japanese who were born during the Occupation and grew up in Japan. They would be in their 60′s by now. Interviewing them would be tremendous. Any contacts?
    Ken Alley

  • linda

    Japan is so much more open and mixed now than ever before. The trend can only continue
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/japan-becoming-a-more-mixed-society/

  • Midori

    I was born in Japan, during the Occupation. Japanese mother, American father. I guess my Dad was one of the few that took responsibility. He married my Mom and brought us to the US. When I was three, we returned to Japan. I remember being caught between two worlds/cultures. The Japanese children didn’t want to play with me because I was American. The American children, because I was Japanese. I haven’t been back since I was 7 (one of my dreams is to return).
    Does anyone know where I can get information about Japanese-Americans born in Occupied Japan? I haven’t found much on the Internet.
    Thanks.

  • Beverley

    Does anyone know anything about Japenese babies been born to Australian Fathers and being left behind
    Beverley (Sydney Australia)

  • http://tippiesdad.com Tom

    Midori, I thinking is that during the period of occupation censorship was very high regarding what was let known to the public regarding actions by occupying soldiers. This included the many rapes commited by those soldiers. Due to the way censorship seems to wrap around all things that may fit its needs, those innocent actions of love were most likely swallowed within that blanket, thus, children such as yourself with loving parents were included in the lost stories.

  • http://ainoko.wordpress.com Fredrick

    I am also doing a project on Black-Japanese biracial history and life stories from the Allied Occupation period. I am a Black-Japanese, bilingual fellow, born in 1955, post-post occupation. My father was an occupation military policeman in Japan. My mother is ‘Japanese’ although she has also Chinese and Austrian heritage. I am working on a book relating this heritage in scenes from our lives woven together. I’m also working on a PHD on Afro-Japanese-ness and the Occupation. I would love to work with people involved. I’m also wanting to get others’ writings and documents on a large Afro-Asian/Afro-Japanese project that some of us scholars are working on together. Please contact if interested!!!

  • Luke Horvath, formerly Yoshio Ichibachi

    I was born in Yokohama, Japan. My estimated date of birth is 12-19-47. My mother is Japanese and my father American. I am adopted and now 63 years old. I am attempting to find the name of the orphanage in which I was raised the first 4 and 1/2 years of my life. I have heard the orphanage was run by Salesian Nuns of French nationality. Can anyone help. Thank you.

  • paul dunnam

    I understand my father has adaughter in Japan. He was stationed in Japan after the war. I have some pictures ,I’am sure if the mother is in these pictures. Does any one know who to contact in Japan to find out more information.