Letters from mothers who gave up their children because they were called "children of enemy soldiers" August 15, 19:12

A mother leaves her little boy at the entrance of a dark tunnel.

She said that she never looked back when she heard a child crying and chasing her.

Children born between a Japanese woman and an American soldier right after the end of the war.

This year, 19 letters written by the mothers were discovered.

Why couldn't she grow up with her mother?

These are the testimonies of children who survived until 77 years after the war.

(Sayaka Kobayashi, Reporter, News Department)

2000 children who grew up in the home at the end of the tunnel

"Mother leaves a boy about 3 years old. Then she chases after him at the entrance of the tunnel. Crying and crying. But the mother doesn't look back. She runs through the tunnel. That's what I saw. It's the same thing repeated every day."

At the end of the tunnel was the "Elizabeth Sanders Home" in Oiso Town, Kanagawa Prefecture.

This is a facility created after the war for children born between Japanese women and foreign soldiers such as US soldiers.

At that time, children were called "children of enemy soldiers" and were discriminated against.

Home was founded by Miki Sawada, the grandson of Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the Mitsubishi conglomerate.

He threw away his personal fortune and collected donations, adopted his first child in 1948, and raised approximately 2,000 children over the 30-odd years until his death in 1980.

19 Letters Discovered "Mothers' Thoughts" on Letting Their Children Go

The home, which is now operated as a general children's home, still has materials from that time.

Among them, 19 letters sent by mothers who left their children at the home were found.

"The man I was going to marry has now returned to his home country of the United States, and I haven't heard anything from him. And the last time I saw him, he said he didn't know whose child he was, so he couldn't pay for child support."

"I was abandoned by my husband, and now that I have no job and no money, if I have (name of child) with me, I will only lose heart and die."

"At the west exit of Ikebukuro Station, she was forcibly raped with a pistol by two occupying forces and was pregnant."

In the letter, the urgent circumstances that the mothers had were spelled out.

Children born to foreign soldiers after the war

After the war, a woman became romantically involved with a foreign soldier, a woman was raped while repatriated from the continent, and a woman sold her body to make a living.

It is said that he had a child with a foreign soldier under various circumstances.

It is said that many foreign soldiers left their women and children behind and moved to their home country or to the next battlefield. It was also abandoned one after another.

It is said that about 100 children were left behind in the tunnel of the home in the first year after its establishment.

The letters discovered this time also contained the feelings of mothers trying to protect their children from discrimination.

"It's really unbearable to see 'America' and 'Japan' as if children were at war. I'm going to tell you that she said, "It's so cute that I can't take it off, and the children make fun of me when I hold it in my hand."

“No one wants to play with me”

Mr. Toshitaka Kuroda (75 years old), a first-year student who grew up in that home.

Kuroda, who was born to a U.S. soldier father, recalls coming to his home with his mother when he was a child.

Mr. Kuroda

“My first memory is when I came to the platform. I was brought to the platform and asked to stay here so I could talk to you, so I fell asleep on the bed. I remember thinking, 'My mother abandoned me.' That's how I interpreted it at the time."

When he turned 6 and was about to enter elementary school, a debate arose over whether children like Mr. Kuroda, who were born to U.S. soldiers, should be sent to local elementary schools.

In 1953, the first fact-finding survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare at the time found that a certain number of respondents said that ``no one would play with them. Take out.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology at that time also established a policy to accept it in general elementary schools.

However, it is said that there were voices of dissatisfaction with the acceptance, as evidenced by local records stating that "there is considerable emotional resistance from Japanese parents."

Mr. Kuroda:

I heard later that he was opposed to going to school. Probably because we were “mixed race.” We were abused not by our parents, but by the city. because it was

Building a school inside a home A “paradise” separated by a tunnel

Sawada, who was adored by the children as "Mama Chama", built a school inside the home to protect the children.

Mr. Kuroda and others grew up separated from the outside world in a home separated by a tunnel.

“It was like a paradise,” he says.

Mr. Kuroda:

“We are not related by blood, but we are brothers and family who grew up there and received the same education. Mama Chama (Miki Sawada) stands above them. I didn't think of myself as 'mixed-race' or Japanese at all.

“Rejected by society” to Amazon even when looking for a job

However, by the time they enter society, a wall called employment discrimination will stand in their way.

Sawada sent his children to Brazil as immigrants to live in a new land, and Mr. Kuroda, who went to the Amazon as one of the first immigrants, engaged in farm development.

He said he had no regrets about Japan.

Ms. Kuroda, who returned to Japan after more than 10 years, obtained a license as a nurse.

She wanted to support people like her who were unjustly discriminated against, so she worked at a psychiatric hospital in Iwate Prefecture until retirement.

Mr. Kuroda survived the postwar period, supported by the memories of his home.

There was something he felt from the letters he found this time.

Mr. Kuroda:

“I am who I am today because my mother gave birth to me. And I am who I am today because I was raised in a home. It

's not bad.

We were born because there was a war and the end of the war, and it's a war to vent our wrath.

Even Marriage and Raising Children..."Discrimination" That Couldn't Be Cut Off

Some people think of mothers who gave up their children while raising their own children.

Like Kuroda, Yoneko Azumaya (75 years old) is a first-year home student.

After the war, girls born to U.S. soldiers faced severe discrimination in marriage and child-rearing.

Yonago also married a Japanese man soon after graduating from home.

Although she was blessed with three children, she said that it was a series of hardships.

But she had nowhere to go, and she worked hard day and night, relying on the massage qualifications she had obtained when she was at home.

I tried my best to raise my children so that they wouldn't feel the same way as I did, but they were also bullied.


When I entered elementary school, I told my children why they were bullied. During the war between Japan and the United States, their grandpa and grandma's sons might have been captured by the soldiers and died. You become an enemy soldier.We live with that history on our shoulders.Your

mother entered a special place called home and was raised by good people, but you were in an elementary school in a normal town with 800 people. , Siblings alone will enter.So please think that you will be bullied.It is the most unhappy not to know why you are being bullied.Children do not need to be blamed at all, but it is their fate."

On the other hand, I have had mixed feelings about mothers who gave up their children.

I have seen classmates who went to see her mother and came back hurt.

Ms. Yonago:

“When I grow up, my classmates and juniors at the home will say they want to find my mother. "Do you think your mother will hug you when you go out saying you want to see her? I

can't take it seriously if you leave your child behind, but I don't want you to come over to me too much. That's it. is the reality. I told you to watch from a distance."

I decided not to go see my mother on my own initiative, but when I became an adult, I happened to find out where my mother was and learned about the circumstances of my birth.

Yonago's mother is said to have fallen in love with an American soldier who was dispatched as an escort on the way back from present-day Seoul to Japan after the war, and she was already seven months pregnant when she arrived in Japan.

Her mother's family decided to separate Yonago and put her in an institution soon after she gave birth.

Her mother said she tried to jump off the hospital roof with Yonago in her arms the day before people from her facility came to pick her up.

Giving birth and raising a child, I understand the feelings of a mother

Having tried to protect her own child from discrimination and bullying herself, she says that she understands this feeling painfully.


I felt sorry for your mother. I would go crazy. I think I would never let go of my child

. I think it was a big deal because even if I didn't get hurt, my child would get hurt. I didn't let it go because I wanted to.

Yonago, who lost her husband, moved to Oiso town alone this year and opened a massage shop.

To spend the rest of her life near the home she grew up in.

From the letters she received from her mother, which was found this time, Ms. Yonago thinks about the wars that are still occurring in the world and the children who are born and raised there.


“Once war breaks out, children will be born in a hostile relationship like ours, and discrimination will be repeated in the same way. Humans are like that and will never disappear.That's why I don't want war."

It is the wish of former children who survived until 77 years after the war, even though they were called "children of enemy soldiers."

Social Affairs Department Reporter

Sayaka Kobayashi In

charge of medical and nursing care, gender and children's rights.