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A record of my mother, born in Manchuria, who returned to Japan after the war

Oct. 5, 2022 - Oct. 19, 2022

Before World War II, Japanese people migrated to a wide range of areas in Asia, and as of 1940, there were 820,000 Japanese living in Manchuria, now in northeastern China.
My grandfather, Susumu Kono, was one of those who went to Manchuria before the war, and my mother, Emiko, was born in Manchuria in 1937. In this three-part series, I will trace my mother's memories as a repatriate.

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Part 3: Return to Manchuria
Part 3: Return to Manchuria

Oct. 19, 2022 • Keiko Fukuda

Following in my grandfather's footsteps More than 40 years have passed since my mother and grandmother left Manchuria, and in 1988, 34 years ago, I put into action a plan I had been thinking about for a long time. It was to visit the former Manchuria with my mother, grandmother, and myself. At that time, I was working at a publishing company in Tokyo. I had seen the film "The Last Emperor" directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, which depicts the life …

Thumbnail for Part 2: Postwar Repatriation
Part 2: Postwar Repatriation

Oct. 12, 2022 • Keiko Fukuda

End of the War and the Journey to Xinjing It was in May 1945 that Emiko's father, Susumu, went to the battlefield. "Because my father had poor eyesight, he was one of the last to be drafted, and he was also the lowest-ranked soldier. He was drafted locally in Manchuria, and I saw him off at Suika Station with my mother, my younger brother Masanori, who was still a small child at the time, and my sister Fumiko. My father …

Thumbnail for Part 1: Life in Manchuria
Part 1: Life in Manchuria

Oct. 5, 2022 • Keiko Fukuda

"Maybe he was a Japanese orphan." When I was in high school, people called "Chinese orphans" came to Japan and held a press conference. They called out in tearful Chinese to their parents who may be living somewhere in Japan, saying "I want to see you." They looked Chinese no matter how you looked at them, dressed in Mao suits and unable to understand Japanese. However, they were actually genuine Japanese who were separated from their parents in what was …

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Author in This Series

Keiko Fukuda was born in Oita, Japan. After graduating from International Christian University, she worked for a publishing company. Fukuda moved to the United States in 1992 where she became the chief editor of a Japanese community magazine. In 2003, Fukuda started working as a freelance writer. She currently writes articles for both Japanese and U.S. magazines with a focus on interviews. Fukuda is the co-author of Nihon ni umarete (“Born in Japan”) published by Hankyu Communications. Website: 

Updated July 2020

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