Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

Mizuko – and Negishi Cemetery

a headstone at Negishi Cemetery. Photo from Debito.org credited to “CF.”

 

In 1853, Commodore Perry intruded the Japanese and Okinawan islands with demands, and finally landing and then the following year again, after repeated threats and failed negotiations with the Japanese Bakufu, demanded a gravesite for one of their sailors who died on board one of the American ships. This was the birth of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery in Kanagawa Prefecture,  just down the road from the future famous Elizabeth Saunders Home for Mixed Race Children, which was a well-known place where mixed-race babies were given up to during the World War II era. During subsequent years, through many battles with Russian and Chinese military, as well as trade relations, the number of foreigners dying in Japan, alongside Japanese soldiers, became too large and the cemetery grew to house the graves of many kinds of foreigners in Japan.

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Stephanie Blandon — Pan-Amerasian Connections: Adoptions

 

Stephanie Blandon, a blooming artist who was born in 1957 in Inchon, Korea, was left on the doorstep of an orphanage and adopted into a Black-American family stationed in Korea, then brought to the United States. Her story resonates across a Pan-Amerasian context, where military bases, orphanages, postwar realities of poverty and devastation and the American military presence, and racism in Korea and the United States, play a part in the ways in which Amerasians will craft their lives. Although each of us (I am Black-Japanese Amerasian from a military brat nuclear family), have different lives and respond differently to our circumstances, there are threads of similiarities in the struggle against racism, sexism, homophobia, nationalism and the tensions between community and individualism

Her story is touching and teaches us many things.  Please visit her beautiful short essay at:

Dear Adoption, I’m Nearly 60 Yet Still the 5 year old Version of Myself 

 

Aoyama Michi Music Video: My First Black-Japanese Amerasian Entertainment

Growing up in Japan in the 1950s and 60s, there were a handful of mixed-Japanese (haafu– as we are called nowadays) shown on television. Even more rare were Black-Japanese. I, as you know, use the term “Amerasian” to refer to most of us (not all) mixed-Japanese in the postwar period, as our identities were directly linked with war, the U.S. and Allied Occupation of Japan, and the globalized nation-making period where race played an integral part.  Issues of ‘haafu’ differ today, as Japan has been thoroughly divested of a direct relationship to war and occupation–although it is profoundly linked with the present-day idea and life of Japanese-ness.  For us mixed-Japanese Black Amerasians, the appearance and sounds of Black-Japanese entertainers was both an incredible surprise and joy, but also a reminder of the disdain people had for mixed-Japanese during that time. Of course there were some Japanese who thought it nice and normal, or good. But the majority turned away with a disgusting look upon seeing us.  Sometimes even our own mothers.

And. . . . . . .

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T-Tasha / Yoon-Mi-Rae : Korean Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B QUEEN

Tasha – or Yoon Mi Rae in Korea, alternatively known as “T-Tasha”— is definitely South Korea’s greatest Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B or more accurately: K-R&B artist. Her heritage is African-American/Korean, and is in my other posts and the purpose of this whole blog site, her experiences growing up in Korea were full of the prejudiced, racist violence against her.

Often, these lives produce tremendous artistic expression.

This is a 9-year-old video. She was a teenager and still, you can sense how good she is.

This song seeks to empower Black-Korean girls, recorded live off of Korean television, entitled: Wonder Woman.

I will post more of her videos later.

Enjoy.

Militarized Mama Amerasia – an International Women’s Day Reflection

Mama in our front yard in Albuquerque, New Mexico, circa 1972

Today, according to a few sources, there are an estimated two million Amerasians–children and adults of local women across Asia who have been sired by United Statian military and civilian men and abandoned by the men. If we are to include Ameri-Pacifics–those born in the Pacific and South Seas Islands, the numbers would, of course, be higher. Often, in these stories, the harrowing and rough stories of Amerasians are told, and must be continued to be told. But the stories of the mothers, are backgrounded.

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Controlling Amerasian Body-Minds: The American and French-Fathered Mixed-Race Children in Japan, Korea and Vietnam

amerasian-vietnam-2015-WshgtnPOST
Photo of Vietnamese Amerasians by Linda Davidson/Washington Post

 

 

For infants and children born to local mothers in Japan and Korea, fathered by U.S. military and civilian personnel during the U.S. occupation of these countries, their lives were not in their own or their mothers’ control. During U.S. occupations in Asia and the Pacific which began earlier—Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and the Solomon Islands—the same issues became prevalent, real, a struggle, continuing today.  It continues today because these places are still “occupied.” And then in the latest full-out colonial Cold War played out in Southeast Asia, the same for the children and their mothers. But let us not forget that before the U.S. arrived in Southeast Asia, the French colonized Indochina. They had state policies on how to control the issue of the Metís, as they were called by the French, which differed from the United Statians.

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Preview by Wendy Cheng, of my upcoming book: Dream of the Water Children

0 - BOOK - COVER - final

 

A Black-Japanese Amerasian reflects on life in the present, with the traces of wars and their aftermaths. 2Leaf Press is pleased to announce the publication of Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s first book, DREAM OF THE WATER CHILDREN, MEMORY AND MOURNING IN THE BLACK PACIFIC, in June 2016.

CLICK THIS LINK:  http://2leafpress.org/online/preview-dream-of-the-water-children-wendy-cheng/

MY BOOK: The Layout and Proofs are Going! Yes.

Mother and child - Canton 1920
Mother and child in Canton, China circa 1920.

My book: Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, is slated to be out in late spring 2016, in June.  All is on schedule so far.

We are working on the layout and design right now, including the placement of the photos. I am also editing the Afterword section after the editor worked with it.

The Layout is beautiful!  I thank Gabrielle David and the folks at 2Leaf Press for their very very hard work, their tenacity and dedication.

They walk their talk.  A press dedicated to multicultural literature and education is rare!  I am so happy with our work together, although as usual, it’s not all easy.

Exciting!!

2014 – VIDEO: Korean Hapa Tour – Homelands, New Lands, Healing

hapakorea

In the Fall of 2014, a group of Mixed-Korean Amerasians, mostly adoptees from Mixed-race orphanages in Korea, went on a small tour organized by the tour group Me & Korea, back to Korea, to the orphanages, and to meet Insooni 김인순 — Black-Korean pop-star/diva, who was partially responsible for this event.

 

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K-Pop Blorean Upcoming Star: Lee Michelle (이미쉘)

0 michellelee

Like most other Asian nations where American soldiers have tread, there are born the babies from the union between the local women and American servicemen.  In Korea, Philippines, Okinawa, Mariana /Solomon Islands, former South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc.– the Americans have ‘fun’ there, and then go back to the Mainland U.S.A. to join their American families (or are single).

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