Definitive Hapa Japan Books To Launch In LA

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-26 23:37Z by Steven

Definitive Hapa Japan Books To Launch In LA

Kaya Press
Los Angeles, California

Kaya Press is thrilled to announce the official publication of Hapa Japan: History Vol. 1 and Hapa Japan: History Vol. 2 edited by Duncan Ryūken Williams.

Described by Ruth Ozeki as “essential reading for all citizens of our transcultural, transnational, boundless, borderless, beautifully mixed-up world,” these volumes bring together scholarship on the rich historical and contemporary experiences and representations of global Hapa Japanese…

Read the entire press release here.

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Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1)

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive on 2017-02-26 21:59Z by Steven

Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1)

Kaya Press
500 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781885030535

Edited by:

Duncan Ryūken Williams, Associate Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Southern California

The history and experiences of mixed-race Japan have long remained almost invisible in a country that believes in its own myths of homogeneity, despite a history that extends backwards to the 8th-century emperor Kammu Tenno (who was part Korean) through to Japan’s first female physician (part German) during the 19th century, and forward to the present day, when 1 of every 30 Japanese babies are born to families with one non-Japanese parent. Hapa Japan: History (Volume 1) is the first substantial collection of essays to survey the history of global mixed-race identities of persons of Japanese descent. Edited by Duncan Ryuken Williams, the founder of the Hapa Japan Database Project, this groundbreaking work unsettles binary and simplistic notions of race by making visible the complex lives of individuals often written out of history.

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Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-30 01:58Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 2014
pages 565-567
DOI: 10.1353/hcy.2014.0047

Owen Griffiths

Hamilton, Walter, Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story (Sydney: NewSouth Books, 2012)

What if you felt like you didn’t belong to the society in which you were born and raised? This is the question Walter Hamilton explores in his powerful book about mixed-race children born during the occupation of Japan. Drawing on his long experience living in Japan as a correspondent for the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC), Hamilton weaves personal testimonials into a broader tale about race discrimination in the modern era. He focuses on cases drawn from Kure in southwestern Honshu (the “Kure kids”), which was the center of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) that included a large contingent of Australian troops. This is not just an Australian story, however. Hamilton reminds us that people from many different societies and cultures recoiled in “horror and pity” at the consequences of race mixing, including the Japanese, whose “racial intolerance was fully matched in the nations it fought against” (3).

This story is a tragedy on multiple levels, punctuated by poignant moments of survival, perseverance, and, occasionally, triumph. Japan’s defeat and subsequent seven-year occupation brought the impoverished Japanese, especially women, face to face with thousands of foreign troops, all bigger, healthier, and richer than most Japanese could have dreamed of at the time. The interactions that followed took many forms from rape and prostitution to workplace relationships and chance romance. The offspring of these encounters were the konketsuji (mixed-race children) or ainoko (half-caste or hybrid), boys and girls struggling to survive at the margins of a society already fractured by war, defeat, and occupation. These children were rejected by their communities and often their own families because they looked different, because they were impure. They also suffered the “sins” of their mothers, whom society often ostracized as prostitutes regardless of the true nature of their relationships with foreigners. Abandonment by both mothers and fathers was not uncommon, with reluctant relatives often stepping into the breach to care for them.

Karumi and Joji, the first two Kure kids we meet, exemplified this marginalization. Never knowing their fathers and abandoned by their mothers, the cousins were raised in poverty first by their aged great-grandmother and then separated when Joji was sent to Hawaii for adoption. After a time with her uncle and abusive aunt, Karumi was reunited with her great-grandmother, under whose care she thrived. At school she was a constant target for abuse. An Australian couple adopted her when she was eleven, but she never spoke of her adoption experience. Karumi nonetheless made a career for herself in nursing, married, and raised three children. Tragedy was close by, however. Her husband’s death in an accident left her a widow in her early forties with three kids to feed. She did remarry and continued to develop her career skills. Her comments, when looking back on her first husband’s death, exemplify the hardships of the mixed-race kid. “Remember what you went through as a child,” she said to herself. “Just try to think: ‘This [her husband’s death] ain’t nothing’” (246).

The mixed-race stigma forced on the Kure kids and their counterparts in Japan and elsewhere is a tragic legacy of our obsession with blood purity and skin color. It seems that everyone who came into contact with the so-called scientific racism of nineteenth-century Europe either adopted the concept wholesale or found at least some of it amenable to their own indigenous ideas. A long war filled with race hate intensified these prejudices, which then carried over into occupation policies like non-fraternization and bans on mixed-race marriage. The attitudes of the governments involved in the occupation, Japan’s included, more than matched those of the occupation authorities. They alternated between non-recognition of the children’s existence to prohibitions against immigration and adoption. Australia was particularly harsh in this regard, banning interracial marriage and immigration until after the peace treaty with Japan was signed in 1951, and then only under limited conditions. Some soldiers left Japan unaware they had fathered children. Others abandoned mother and child to their fate. Still others, however, sought to marry and bring their new families back to their homes but were thwarted by…

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Children of the Occupation

Posted in Audio, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2013-03-11 17:48Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation

Radio National
Big Ideals
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

For a decade following the end of the Second World War, foreign troops occupied Japan.  During that time, thousands of mixed race children were born, the result of relationships between the occupying servicemen – Australians, Americans, Brits – and Japanese women.  What became of those children after their fathers returned home?  Former ABC Tokyo based correspondent, Walter Hamilton, has been finding out.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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Children of the Occupation

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2012-10-10 01:19Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation

NewSouth Publishing

Walter Hamilton, Journalist and Author

Towards the end of an eventful life, George Budworth, who served with the Australian Army in Japan after the war, wrote an account describing the first time he saw his son, Peter. It was not in a hospital maternity ward but on the streets of Kure one chilly night in 1954:

In broken English, the woman said, ‘Please, you look my baby, he sick’. She turned her back to Quietly [George’s fictional alter ego]. The baby was tied on her back in a kind of carryall. Quietly reached down and flipped back the lid. Looking up at him was the pinched, undernourished white face of a very young baby. Quietly could see at a glance that the child was half Japanese ­– certainly not a full blood. ‘He now six weeks; he Goshu (Australian) baby-san,’ was all she said through her sobs.

George gave the woman all the money he was carrying. She later sought him out to return the change; they started a relationship; and George formed a close bond with the child, Hideki, whom he renamed Peter and formally adopted.

In 1956, as the British Commonwealth Forces Korea prepared to pull out of Japan, George was among a handful of soldiers and civilians seeking permission to take adopted children back to Australia. In the decade since the first Australian troops arrived in Occupied Japan, such a thing had never been allowed (though war brides were admitted after 1952). In George’s fictionalised memoir, Peter’s mother, Fusako, surrenders custody of her child because she fears for his future in Japan: ‘They could never go to school, never marry, or hold any job but as labourers, in other words a life worse than death was the best these children could expect’…

…Walter Hamilton’s book Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story will be published by NewSouth in June.

Read the entire article here.

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Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, United States on 2012-10-06 01:51Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story

NewSouth Books (American Edition coming soon from Rutgers University Press)
July 2012
352 pages
234 x 153mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781742233314

Walter Hamilton, Journalist and Author

This is a beautifully written, deeply moving and well-researched account of the lives of mixed-race children of occupied Japan. The author artfully blends oral histories with an historical and political analysis of international race relations and immigration policy in North America and Australia, to highlight the little-known story of the thousands of children that resulted from the unions of Japanese women and Allied servicemen posted to Japan following WWII. It is a powerful narrative of loss, longing and reconnection, written by the ABC’s long-time Tokyo correspondent, Walter Hamilton.

Visit the website here.

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Living as Others in Japan

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Oceania, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy on 2011-07-04 00:12Z by Steven

Living as Others in Japan

Japanese Studies Association of Australia 2011 Biennial Conference
Internationalising Japan: Sport, Culture and Education
University of Melbourne, Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia
2011-07-04 through 2011-07-07

Wednesday, 2011-07-06, 11:00-12:30 AEDT (Local Time)
Room 102

This panel will present two historical papers about individuals whose lives were affected by the Pacific War, and a third paper which examines issues involving intercultural communication between Japanese and non-Japanese people. The two historical stories focus on how their respective individuals navigated their life course as “Others” in Japan. Hamilton will shed light on children born to Japanese mothers and Australian fathers during the Allied Occupation in Kure. Tamura’s paper is on a businessman of mixed heritage, English and Japanese, born in Kobe, who was interned in Japan. Parry’s paper provides a look into intercultural communication between Australian students in a homestay among ten Japanese host parents.

Kure Kids
Walter Hamilton

Walter Hamilton has recently completed a book on the mixed-race children of the Occupation, under the working title of Lest We Beget: The Mixed-Race Legacy of Occupied Japan. (

Nearly sixty years have passed since the post-war occupation of Japan. It might be assumed historians will have exhausted all there is to say about its political, economic and social effects. But one unexplored aspect remains vividly alive: the hidden ancestral links that bind Australians, Americans, Britons and others to Japanese blood-relations never known, never met: the unclaimed, mixed-race offspring left in Japan when the troops departed. Their fathers would not or could not acknowledge them: an estimated 10,000 children, including several hundred fathered by Australians.

So familiar is the idea of military conquest leading to the birth of “unwanted” children outside marriage – across racial, class and cultural divides – they tend to be dismissed as a natural corollary of war. Their appearance in occupied Japan came as no surprise. The “Madame Butterfly” tradition provided a high-toned model of Western men exploiting Japanese women. As if their biological inevitability made them what they were, the children attracted scant attention from Western writers, who acquiesced in facile assumptions about their fate. Surely they were disowned by their fathers, lamented by their mothers and thrust to the lower depths of society. The eminent American historian John Dower has called them “one of the sad, unspoken stories” of the occupation. Japanese historical and fictional treatments of the issue also suffer from a determination to link the children exclusively to prostitution, moral collapse and national humiliation.

Australia joined the occupation not expecting to convert the former enemy but to punish and ostracise him. With immigration restrictions, in some respects, even tighter than they were in 1941, permission was denied for troops in Japan to marry across the race divide. Anyone defying the ban risked being forcibly removed from his de facto wife and children. Although these measures were relaxed in 1952 to admit the first Japanese war brides, no such right was extended to the unacknowledged or orphaned children of Australian servicemen. In addition, the federal government maintained an elaborate deception to stop the children being adopted by Australian families. Bogus welfare arguments were used to cover a purely political determination. The moment the strategy showed signs of faltering, it was reinforced through public monies being deployed to keep the children in Japan. There were almost no exceptions, even for the sons and daughters of brave men who had fought and died in the Korean War. In the words of a leading churchman of the day, the Reverend Alan Walker: “There have been few more disgraceful incidents in the whole miserable history of Australia’s racial immigration policy.”

This paper will introduce several individuals born in or near the city of Kure, in Hiroshima prefecture, where the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) was based from 1946 until the withdrawn of the last Korean War contingent in 1956. The Kure Kids encountered discrimination because of their physical appearance, dysfunctional family life, low socioeconomic status and social isolation. But the lives of these Japanese “others” represented much more—in quality, variety and achievement—than is suggested by the conventional portrayal of “sad, unspoken stories.”

Between Father Land and Mother Land: a British-Japanese Dual National and his Pacific War
Keiko Tamua

In war, individuals are categorized either as friend or foe, and enemy nationals are seen and treated with suspicion and fear. In December 1941, when the Pacific War started, about 700 out of 2134 civilians of the Allied nations who were residing in Japan were arrested or interned as enemy aliens. Most of them had lived in Japan for a number of years and had become part of the community. Some civilians were repatriated to their home countries on exchange boats in 1942 and 43, but others decided to remain in Japan even though they knew they were going to be interned or kept under police surveillance. Most of them had mixed heritage through their parents and/or having Japanese spouse; they thought their home was Japan rather than Britain or the USA, and they felt they could not leave without their family members.

F. M. Jonas was one of these expatriates who were caught in the war. He was born in Osaka in 1878, having a British father and a Japanese mother. He had established himself as a respectable British businessman in pre-war Kobe, running a stevedore business at the port. He was highly regarded both in the expatriate and Japanese communities, having been vicechairman of the Kobe Foreign Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club – the premier expatriate social club in Kobe. When the war started Jonas was arrested by the Japanese authorities, and later interned as an enemy alien. However, he managed to secure release from internment through British-Japanese dual citizenship, and he changed his name to Morii Kamejirō. When the war ended, he tried to re-establish his formal status as a British national. He died in 1950 before final resolution was officially made. Did he claim citizenship of convenience to suit the circumstances, to avoid internment, and consequently did he betray his father land? Or did he have legitimate reasons to do so? What were the consequences of his action for himself and his family? Japanese nationality laws upheld the principle of paternal succession until 1985, and dual citizenship has never been recognized. How did Jonas convince the authorities of his dual nationality? In this paper, I will discuss the life course of F. M. Jonas, who lived between father land and mother land in the middle of the Pacific War. Through Jonas’ story, I will explore, from a historical point of view, how the nationality of mixed decent people has been interpreted and handled in Japan and Britain.

For more information, click here.

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