Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

Mizuko and Yokohama Mary

In 2005, a documentary /movie was released named “Yokohama Mary.” It centers on a figure of an elder woman, dressed in a white Western aristocratic-era dress, with a parasol, and high heels, painting her face in white with bright red lips, almost like a Butoh form character, who wandered around the train stations and city streets in Yokohama. She was seen by the Japanese public over and over for about a decade. Then in 1995, she suddenly disappeared from sight.  In Japan, rumors began……….

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Mizuko 水子 – “Water Children”

Jizo statues stand in many places and in many forms around Japan. Photo by Angie Star.

 

The title of my book: Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific, contains terms that are in the in-between space between language, history, and worldviews.  In this post, and the next post, I will focus on the term: water children.  What is this?  In my own use of the term for my book, what does this mean?

Read more…

AVAILABLE Now! My Chapter in Great Book: THE BEIGING of AMERICA

This book is a treasure full of varied, intense, and memorable stories and perspectives on being mixed-race in America.

I, along with other mixed-Asian writers, and other mixed folks, have short chapters in this anthology, published by 2Leaf Press.

PLEASE SUPPORT 2Leaf Press. You can purchase the book from 2Leaf Press (print and ebook versions), or from Amazon.

Even if you may not be interested in purchasing the book, please consider supporting the press. It is a Person-of-Color owned independent publishing house, trying to survive in an ever-increasing, ever-dominating corporate publishing world.

Maintaining, Exporting, Protecting Racism

From Jet Magazine, February 28, 1952

When the Amerasian School of Okinawa opened its doors in 2003, it already opened amidst controversy. I will not go into any details about most of it here. But my point in bringing this up is the particular criticism that this would further the divide between “ordinary” Okinawans, and mixed-race Okinawans fathered by American military personnel, American civilians, and other non-Okinawans.

Read more…

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 

 

Mixed & Objections – Thoughts

Occasionally, as people may guess, I get emails, or messages in my FB messages, and comments in response to my posts on Facebook, that object to and criticize my posts that “lean” toward “being against white people” or “being against Japanese people” or “being against black people.” In a world of words, and I–being a person who distrusts words but must use words to communicate certain things, it is hard to navigate what I consider to be colonized relations.  This includes how we use words, and how we *listen* or *hear* and how we filter and project. In social relations, our words and ideas as well as our ideals, are mixed up with personal feelings, kinds of traumas we’ve experienced, attachments and commitments in our subconscious, and how willing we are to change or to look at ourselves, as well as our ethical and moral dispositions. Yes, we are not simple beings. From all sides, people who are married to their own ideas of self (and cannot see difference), will accuse, accuse, accuse.

Read more…

Join ‘Japan’s War Brides and Their Legacies – 2018 Symposium’

Japan’s War Brides and Their Legacies: 2018 Symposium — a symposium on the legacies and effects of the lives of women who married non-Japanese between 1945 to 1965, will be coming at USC (University of Southern California) in 2018.

I will be one of the organizers and looking forward to building this into a solid first-time program.

My hope is that healing, learning, connection, and impacts are made, linking the individual and diverse post-war Japanese women’s experiences with the lives of their children and what and how this links with other stories that create spaces for thinking for social change and social justice, and to honor the lives of the Japanese war-brides, which are often mired in controversy and various forms of invisiblizing.

Our intention is to bring Japanese war brides, their children, and the scholars, artists, filmmakers, and the general community together for a series of events for sharing, thinking, healing, and inspiration.

If you are a child of a Japanese post-WWII marriage, or are yourself, and would like to join in bringing this symposium together, please join our facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1849706125309535/

%d bloggers like this: