Second generation Okinawan Filipinos reunited with family members on “Homeland”

Second generation Okinawan Filipinos reunited with family members on “Homeland”

Second-generation Japanese from the Philippines, Haime Fusato on the left and Kazuko, receive a warm welcome from relatives on their first visit to Japan.


December 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Three second-generation Japanese left behind in the Philippines in the war returned to Japan for the first time on December 1. The father of the three children is Taruji Fusato from Itoman City who died in 1990. His 78-year-old third daughter, Sarome Fumiko Fusato, 76-year-old third son, Haime Fusato, and 71-year-old fifth daughter Karidad Kazuko Fusato finally retrieved their Japanese citizenship in October after being categorized as stateless due to the destabilized situation during and after World War II. The three children were welcomed by relatives when they arrived at the Naha Airport. They said, holding back tears, they didn’t think they would ever be able to stand on their father’s land.

Taruji moved to the Philippines in 1918 to work as a fisherman. He later married a Filipino woman and had three sons and five daughters, however he was then held as a captive by the U.S. military during WWII and was deported to Japan.

Fumiko and her other siblings acquired Japanese nationality with the support of the Nippon Foundation and other parties. According to the foundation, 188 people have retrieved their census registration, of which 38 are Okinawans.

The three siblings met 67-year-old Mitsuko Kamita, one of their relatives, for the first time. Fumiko reflected, “It’s too bad we cannot see our father, but I’m grateful that our relatives welcomed us.” Haime also wiped away tears and said, “In the letter he sent 55 years ago, our father said he wanted to see us. I thought it would be impossible, but in the end we were able to come to Japan.” Kazuko continued, “We thank those who supported our efforts to get nationality.”

The siblings will stay until December 4 and will visit Taruji’s burial place.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)
 
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