WATCH: Japan’s forgotten people, the Nikkei-jin of the Philippines.

Japan’s forgotten people~Scars of war run deep as struggle for citizenship continues in Philippines

Youtube feature by ANNnews features Nikkei-jin of the Philippines, with English subtitles. Don’t forget to turn on the captioning feature.

While many Japanese citizens view Japan’s involvement in the war as a historical event of the distant past, descendants continue to navigate the unending post-war era, seeking assistance in a foreign land. This is how second generation Nikkei-jin, descendants of Japanese, are.

Prior to the war, a significant influx of Japanese immigrants arrived in the Philippines, engaging in the cultivation of hemp and various crops. Many of them married local Filipino women and formed families. At its peak, the Japanese community in the Philippines comprised around 30,000 individuals. Nevertheless, when Japan and the United States entered into conflict, these individuals were coerced into collaborating with the Japanese military.

Children who lost their Japanese fathers during the war, either living with their Filipino mothers or orphaned, endured ongoing hardships even after the conflict ended. Amidst the mounting anti-Japanese sentiments in the Philippines, they were not only forced to live in concealment but were also classified as “stateless” due to the prevailing practice at the time, which based nationality on the father’s citizenship.

This was a grim reality that remained hidden for an extended period. However, as the second-generation members of this community grew older, they began to raise their voices, advocating for the “restoration of their Japanese nationality.” Yet, they encountered difficulties in collecting the necessary “evidence” to establish their parentage, as many documents had been lost during the war.

Questioned about their desire to obtain Japanese citizenship, their response was unanimous:
“Because my father is Japanese, Japanese blood flows in my veins.”