Relationships between male members of an occupying force and women from occupied territories are not unusual, yet always a highly controversial issue. Accused by their countrymen of betraying their community and nation, women who engage with the ‘enemy’ and the children resulting from such unions are often subject to considerable hostility within their communities. The case of Indisch (Dutch-Indonesian/Creole) women and their children, fathered by Japanese men during the Japanese occupation of the Netherlands East Indies (1942-1945) are no exception. Raised in Indisch families, many of these children grew up without knowledge about their Japanese parentage, yet felt haunted by fierce reactions to their presence. What is the nature of a ‘mixed-race’ identity that takes root in a conflict between nations? How can we conceptualize a racial identity, which is defined by the secrecy and taboo surrounding a child’s Japanese origins? In this talk, I examine the experiences of Indisch-Japanese children born of war to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the history and memory of wartime hostilities and the identity formation of children fathered by the ‘enemy.’
Aya Ezawa received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and is currently University Lecturer in the Sociology of Modern Japan in the Japanese Studies Program at Leiden (NL). Her research interests include gender and class inequalities in Japan, and more recently, the history and memory of WWII from the perspective of children born of war.
Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften – Japanologie
UniversitätsCampus, Hof 2, Eingang 2.4