Born before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, Michiko Oshiro will be reunited with her ex-Marine father at his grave

Born before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, Michiko Oshiro will be reunited with her ex-Marine father at his grave

Michiko Oshiro with pictures of her late father Michiko Oshiro’s father’s grave. Her grandmother, Barbara, center


May 15, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hiroshi Massaki


A woman began searching for her estranged father, an ex-U.S. Marine, 30 years after she was separated from him shortly after birth in 1969, just before the reversion of Okinawa to Japan.

Her name is Michiko Oshiro, 48, from Haebaru. Her father had already passed away in the U.S., however Oshiro got in touch with her American grandmother and aunt, and at the end of next month will get to visit his hometown for the first time.

Oshiro, who has kept pictures of her father close, said, “In trying times, and when I was sad, I would always lean on the existence of my father.

I thought ‘I finally get to meet him,’ and I want to embrace his gravestone.”


Oshiro’s mother, Keiko, met Jimmy Morales when he was stationed in Okinawa, and later gave birth to Michiko.

They gave up on getting married due to opposition from Morales’ mother, so Jimmy returned to the U.S. Also, the military would send him here and there as they pleased.

Oshiro does not remember ever seeing her father’s face.

Since her mother rarely spoke of him, to this day she still does not know many details about him.


Starting in 1996, Oshiro began searching for news of her father, inquiring at places like the U.S. consulate in Okinawa. Three years later, she found an envelope with her father’s home address written on it.

She wrote a letter to the address, and one month later, received a reply from America.

The sender was her father’s parents.


“This is the first I’ve heard of your existence, for which I am surprised and moved.

However, I have some awful news I must share with you,” was written, after which Oshiro learned that Jimmy had been killed nine years before.

Oshiro’s mother, who usually does not cry, sobbed loudly. Oshiro cried as well. “Of course, I wanted to meet him at least once. I just wanted him to embrace me.”


Meanwhile, Oshiro continued to exchange letters with her American grandmother and aunt.

Letters came about once or twice a year, and Oshiro saved them all in a folder.

Now, she uses an app on her smartphone to exchange pictures and messages with her aunt.

On her birthday she received flowers and a message that said, “Even though it has been lonely up until now, you are not alone.” Oshiro was brought to tears again.


When she was a child she was called “gaijin,” and lived a hard life being raised by a single mother.

She also battled illness.

When times were tough, she would take out the pictures of her father and say out loud, “Papa, watch over me.”

From June 20, Oshiro will visit her father’s tombstone in his Texas hometown.

Since her mother died 10 years ago, she will be accompanied by her husband Masanobu, 52.


It has been 19 years since she got in contact with her American grandmother, and 48 years since she was separated from her father.

She learned that she has nine half-siblings.

According to Oshiro, “It’s truly like a dream.

From my mother who gave birth to me and raised me, and the father who supported me, I am thankful for my family.

I am glad I did not give up.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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