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Find lost Japanese relatives in Kure 2009/10/3 12:17
I am helping a family of half Japanese/half American look for the relatives of their Japanese mother who died during childbirth. With five childen to raise, plus grieving and not knowing the language, the father could not maintain connections with the mother's family. Now the children want to learn about their Japanese family-they speak no Japanese (I do so they have asked me to help and I intend to call everybody with their mother's last name when I go back to Kure next year), but I thougth I would try the forum- if such things are allowed. Perhpas people living in Japan can tell me if there are organizations that help with such matters. I won't mention names yet, but any advice on how I can go about this search is appreciated.
by Tess (guest)  

... 2009/10/3 15:10
I assume that the American husband and the deceased Japanese wife lived/live in the US? They did not live in Japan together? (If they had lived in Japan together, the last place of residence would be a big clue.)

Any old documents of hers like Japanese driver's license? If the family has her passport, from the passport number and the place of issuance, there might be some way to find out where she comes from. Even asking at the consulate in the US might lead somewhere.

If you are coming to Japan, you might want to ask at the city hall - for you to be able to make inquires/request for copies of family records on behalf of relatives, you might need a power of attorney; to find out exactly what can be done, it might be advisable to ask at a Japanese consulate in the US beforehand :)
by AK rate this post as useful

find lost Japanese relatives 2009/10/3 15:42
Kure? do you mean Kyuryu?
When did she leave Japan with her husband? Can you be more specific such as where she used to live (correct name), where she was born?
The father may still have the documents of the mother (his wife), is he still alive? She had to have certain documentations other then the passport. Informations can be found in one of those documents of her siblings and her parents name etc with their addresses where her profile had to be filed before she entered USA.
by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

Unfortunately... 2009/10/3 18:45
The husband has no documents-the family moved a lot after the woman's death in 1954 due to job searches and all paperwork was lost. So much time has passed and his memory has faded. He remembers she was from Kure and that she had several sisters and a brother with whom she communicated with until her death. One child was born in Zama, Japan in 1946. So you know we are talking about soon after WWII.

Thanks for the suggestions so far and when I go to Kure I will try City Hall and find her name in birth records, but she was born in 1922 and I know there was much bombing of the city during the war.

Can someone in Hiroshima or Kure tell me the email addresses of newspaper reporters with whom I might communicate with about a story in the paper? I would think this would be a great human interest story. The children now want to communicate with their cousins and other relatives and let them know what happened to their mother.

If someone is willing to do some legwork for me in Kure, I will be willing to share the name of the woman.
by Tess (guest) rate this post as useful

find lost Japanese relatives 2009/10/4 06:34
I see so she was from Kure, Hiroshima.
That's most unusual, coming out of there right after the war and bomb torn Hiroshima, during US occupation.
People who married to come to US from this time and after the occupation (1952) had to fill out all sorts of paper documents before they were allow entry to US including permission to marry a foreigner or US citizen. So the documants would have helped greatly, it would have all of her informations.
Do the children know her maiden name?
What was her name, her last name? That's about only thing you can go by. I'm sure her brother must have children and they may be carrying the name or some of her sisters may not have married and still living there.
To start, you may be able to look up the name on the computer for international people search if you know the name.
Then go from there.
by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

newspaper reporters 2009/10/4 10:09
I have no acquaintance of newspaper reporters, and I'm far from Kure, but how about posting your request to email of newspaper companies as follows? I think some reporters may find it interesting.

Chugoku-Shimbun(local paper)

Ashahi-Shimbun(branch of national paper)


by Yoshino (guest) rate this post as useful

Good advice 2009/10/4 12:59
Yes, they do know their mother's maiden name and I will share it with these reporters if one shows an interest. I will email them in my poor, but understandable Japanese :) Thank you!

Yes, it is a very touching love story. I know what hoops my dad had to go through to marry my mom in 1953, so I can imagine the lenghts they went through in 1946! The man was part of the very first group of Americans to go into Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. The children are in their late 50 and 60's now and feel the time is slipping to contact any younger siblings she may have had. They might have cousins and I know their hearts are sick from thinking how their mother's family has worried all these years-but there was no looking for lost people in the 1950's, or even 60 and 70's, not like there is now-with the Internet and the leasure traveling some of us can do.

Any more thoughts? Anyone know what the procedure was in 1922 for the keeping of birth records?
by Tess (guest) rate this post as useful

find japanese relatives 2009/10/5 08:01
-------Anyone know what the procedure was in 1922 for the keeping of birth records?--------

Probably was like anywhere else in developed nations.
I'm assuming that most people in Hiroshima, those who survived, relocated elsewhere and some returned to the area sometime afterwards. A lot of burn victims were helped by the Quakers, they were brought to US or Canada and treated for burns. Like anywhere else in Japan cities, the records of people were destroyed due to bomb strike (burned down) during the war so people's identifications most likely was re-issued including deeds and such sometime after the war.
I would contact a mayor of each city. They may be able to assist you or answer your questions.
Also, the mother may not have been from Kure and looks like Zama (Yokohama area) may be where the father was stationed.

Mayor of Hiroshima's name is,
Dr Tadatoshi Akiba
Citizen's Consultation Center


by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

I hope all goes well. 2009/10/5 13:22
Sounds like an interesting and romantic story. Keep us posted as your search continues. I would love to know if your friends family are able to reconnect with their Japanese relatives.
by Deaks rate this post as useful

My grandmother was born 1922 2009/10/5 15:02
According to my grandmother your friend's father could not have registered her birth. Japan Imperialist government mandated only the registration of a new born son, not a daughter. She says in those time reporting the birth of son was to the local village leader, if reported at all. Registation of all new born did not become mandatory until the American occupation and the acceptance of the New Constitutions was adopted by the Japanese governemnt about 1946. She believe only way to find their surviving relative is knowing their full name.

Her is the link to the Hiroshima Memorial. These people may have better clues.
by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

Click on the link 2009/10/5 15:09
(1) on the very left-bottom
(2) that will open new window
(3) click the English version
(4) look to the left side of page where you can write sown your request.
by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

I'm working on these suggestions 2009/10/6 00:46
Thanks for all these good ideas. I will use all these suggestions because I really want to help this family-they are really a unique family and we now know that some things that were once thought to be only enviromental contolled, are now genetic, or epigenically controlled. I see so much of my own family in this family and we had the blessing of spending a great deal of time with the Japanese side, unlike them. So please continue to think of ways I can help this family. I will do the same and will post any results.
by Tess (guest) rate this post as useful

I forgot to add 2009/10/6 01:00
Anther reason I am bent on helping this family is because my own mother's family was near Hiroshima when the atomic bomb dropped. She saw it and her own mother died about three weeks later in what was likely an effect of radiation poisoning. Their home was on an island in the Inland Sea off Kure and was protected by both distance and a mountainside from the direct blast. But her mother went to visit a barrack near Hiroshima where she had often taken food to young soilders and probably came into contact with radioactivity at that time. You can see the bridge that connects the main island to the small island my mom lived on with GoogleEarth. It's called Ondo Bridge. When I first went there we had to take a ferry to cross the straits.
by Tess (guest) rate this post as useful

find lost Japanese relatives 2009/10/6 01:41
Most people's names including women whether they were born before the war or not, their addresses and telephone numbers are listed in Japan. So that is where you want to look and this search is where you look into people search on the web but city can tell you whether you can find that person in Kure or elsewhere, they probably have a way of locating that related name.
Hiroshima was smaller compared to Tokyo or Nagoaya.
Also it may be helpful to know which school she attended but the family doesn't know that I suppose.., that would be a big plus.
It was unlikely story but if you say so that she married an American soon after the war between 1945~1946 is unbelievable. I thought people were prohibited from marrying an American during occupation.
Also if she was not married at time and gave birth,
she would have her child's birth record with her name under her father's name and her mother, not under who fathered the child. So you may have way of finding it that way where her first child's birth record was registerd, it would have her parents address.

by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

The first couple to marry 2009/10/6 10:54
It was very hard to marry at that time, but it did happen. He says he thinks they were the first American/Japanese couple to marry. I will ask where the first child was born, in Kure or Yokohama. That may be helpful.

What do people in Japan think about rivate dectives? That would be something we would use here in the US, but maybe it is not as common in Japan.
by Tess (guest) rate this post as useful

Hoover Institute 2009/10/7 12:05

I had a chance to ask a Japan historian here at Stanford, and he was very helpful. He said first priority is to contact the Hiroshima Memorial where the name of past and present radiation inflicted names are recorded - because due to lesser of population then as today; due to merging of smaller towns & villages with Kure city; and people having migrated away to avoid radiation contaminants. And if their family member is not recorded, he suggest contacting the Ministry of Health which he believe maintain the name of all in Japan under 'health insurance'.

Can someone link Tess to which ministry?
by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

New search ideas 2009/10/7 22:48
Thanks for these new ideas. I have contacted the Peace Museum already, and will try to find the contct for this other resource although I think it will be hard for them to help me since I don't know any of the relatives full names-ony their last.

I still think a private investigator would be the best-that is what I would do if I was in their shoes and wanted fast results. Can someone in Hiroshima posta listing of phone numbers of PI's in Hiroshima and/or Kure?
by Tess C rate this post as useful

find lost relatives 2009/10/8 18:55
The family doesn't know their mother's first name?
by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

Yes they know 2009/10/9 22:39
Yes they know, but she would not be on the rolls of the Japanese governement's health program. Her name has been given to the Peace Memorial organization, in case they can help. What they do not know is the names of any relatives. She was born in 1922 and left Japan in 1948 and died in the US in 1954, so we are talking about a trail that started and ended a long time ago.

I am trying to elicts ideas on how to go about helping them in such a case. In the US there are many ways to locate relatives with just the mother's names-from court records, hospital records, to the Mormon Church registry. But I don't know the best way to do that in Japan. If you live in Japan, Bobo, please help me get the numbers of some pirvate dectectives in the Hiroshima/Kure area. Thanks
by Tess C rate this post as useful

Can you answer? 2009/10/9 23:30
Children know the full name of relative(s) they wish to contact?
by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

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