Japanese nationality granted to three second-generation Japanese-Filipinos [2008/04/21]
Three siblings who have been granted Japanese nationality
On March 26, the Tokyo Family Court recognized the Japanese citizenship of three second-generation Japanese-Filipino siblings left behind in the Philippines during the war. The brother and two sisters, who had applied for Japanese citizenship in spite of an inability to officially confirm their father’s Japanese identity, were informed of the ruling on March 28. They will be registered as Japanese citizens in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, making a total of seven second-generation Japanese-Filipinos who have been granted Japanese nationality to date.
The new Japanese citizens, who live in Mindanao, the Philippines, are Laurencia (85), Salud (79) and Andres (82) Kamiyama. Their father, Kosuke Kamiyama, was from Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, but emigrated to Mindanao Island before World War II, where he sold salt, rice, and sugar. He married a local woman in 1915, and fathered a total of nine children. (Photo: A street in Mindanao Island)
Kosuke died of malaria in 1930, and during World War II, his wife and children were required to aid the Imperial Japanese Army in various ways, including providing their house for the Army’s use. At the end of the war, the siblings remained in the Philippines, in part because more than 10 years had passed since Kosuke’s death. Of his five sons and four daughters, six had already died at the time of March’s ruling. The remaining three applied for Japanese citizenship in August 2006, but in October of that same year during a visit to Okinawa, their father’s hometown, they were unable to confirm their father’s family register. Luckily, they did meet their cousins, and this meeting eventually led to the court ruling. (Photo: Kamiyama siblings visiting Okinawa)
In addition to the verification of their cousins, a record of “Kosuke Kamiyama from Okinawa Prefecture, Japan” was found in a church in the Philippines. Based on this evidence, the Tokyo Family Court recognized their Japanese citizenship. The siblings were informed of the court ruling by the members of the Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center (PNLSC), which, with support from the Nippon Foundation, is active in helping second-generation Japanese-Filipinos in the Philippines. Salud commented, “This recognition that I am the child of a Japanese citizen helps solve so many problems.”
The three siblings are married to Filipinos, have eight to thirteen children each, and currently live with their families. Their recognition as Japanese citizens is expected to help pave the way to employment in Japan for third- and fourth-generation Japanese-Filipinos.
This case marks the second occasion on which Japanese citizenship was granted without confirmation of a father’s census register. Currently, 55 people have filed for Japanese nationality at the Tokyo Family Court. According to the PNLSC and Sakura Law Firm, which represents them, other second-generation Japanese-Filipinos also plan to apply.