The Forgotten Children of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Disparaged as “Japanese devils” and “half-breed,” some children with Chinese mothers and Japanese fathers born during the Second Sino-Japanese war long looked to Japan as their true homeland. Learn about this largely unseen group of individuals, just a few of the countless children born of war who have dealt with extreme social and political adversities as well as persistent questions of self identity. Kanako Kuramitsu speaks to Satoko Naito to share her research on children born of consensual relationships between Chinese mothers and Japanese fathers during and after the Second Sino-Japanese war, particularly those who migrated to Japan after the normalization of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations in 1972. Her work highlights men and women who, while sharing the many hardships of other children born of war, stand out for their strong identification with their fathers and their paternal country. The participants of Dr. Kuramitsu’s study underscore the far-reaching effects of military conflict while simultaneously reminding us of the complexity of each individual’s life story.
The animation film “Michiko,” mentioned in the episode, is available to view here.
Kanako Kuramitsu received her PhD from the University of Birmingham and is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at the University of Turku in Finland.
Satoko Naito studies and teaches Japanese literature and film as a docent at CEAS and holds a PhD from Columbia University.