In Philippines, wartime offspring of Japanese still fighting for citizenship | The Japan Times

The complexities of identities, so many years later:

It estimates there were around 3,000 second-generation Japanese-Filipino descendants, of whom nearly 900 were not registered with the Japanese government due to the wartime turmoil. Most of their fathers arrived in the Philippines before WWII and married local women.

Inomata said the center has filed 235 petitions, of which 172 earned approval and 29 were rejected, including the 10 the center intends to appeal.

Nine other cases are still being heard, while the remaining 25 have been withdrawn, mainly because the petitioners have died.

In an interview, Torres said she will endure the long, hard process of acquiring her father’s nationality just to see her relatives in Japan.

“I have not lost hope. I would be very happy to see my father’s home place and meet our relatives there. My father must have some siblings there,” said Torres, whose petition was formally filed last October but denied in February.

Joining her in the petition are her younger siblings, Roque Go, 80, and Estodi Go, who is 77.

The Maramotos can only rely on their testimonies and a family portrait taken in 1936 to prove their claim of having a Japanese father.

Torres had four siblings, but two are now dead. She said their father arrived in Davao at a time unknown to them, and married their mother, a member of the local B’laan tribe. He worked as a carpenter and had a few Japanese friends in their province.

She has few memories of her father, as she was only 8 years old when he died in an accident in 1940. Torres recalled that her father would speak the B’laan language at home, the Cebuano language when he was with neighbors, and Japanese with his Japanese friends.

In the interview, she said her “Papa” did not teach them the Japanese language, nor did he introduce Japanese customs at home.

The youngest sibling, Estodi, became emotional as he clutched the Maramoto family picture.

“I am appealing for help because I did not see my father myself,” he said.

“I am crying now because I only have this photo of him, and this was the only place where I could see him. So I want to know where my father came from in Japan, and I am also asking for help so I can see our relatives there.

“I want to be recognized as a Japanese citizen because my father was Japanese and his blood flows through me,” he said.

Source: In Philippines, wartime offspring of Japanese still fighting for citizenship | The Japan Times

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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