Japanese siblings meet for first time in 74 years


In Philippine history, it is an established fact that Japan invaded the Philippines at the height of World War II in 1941, and as a result, thousands of Filipinos died from unspeakable atrocities committed by the invaders and the economy was left in shambles.

After the war, Japanese-Filipinos were forced to change their names for fear of being killed in acts of reprisal by Filipinos who survived the Japanese occupation of the country.

The government has since tried providing assistance to Philippine Nikkei-jin, or Japanese emigrants and descendants who have established families in the Philippines.

Zenaida Fusato Samano, 74, a second-generation Japanese-Filipino who will be celebrating her 75th birthday three weeks from now, got an early birthday gift as she got to see her long lost half-brother—after 74 years—at her home in Angono in Rizal province, east of Manila.

Zenaida’s father, Yamato Fusato, emigrated to the Philippines in 1930 and started his own business in Daet, Camarines Norte.

There, he met and worked with Antonia Terata, a Filipina.

He courted her and they got married.

They had only one daughter, Zenaida “Sumiko” Fusato Samano.

During the war, Yamato joined the Japanese army and worked as an interpreter.

He eventually separated from his wife and his daughter.

Zenaida was young when her mother got sick and died.

Her maternal aunt, Modesta, took her as her own.

Modesta funded her education until elementary school.

Since she had a lot of children, her niece was not priority.

Zenaida felt misplaced and had a difficult childhood because she had no parents to support her studies and guide her.

She kept on thinking what would life be if she had a mother or a father.

And what’s worse, she had no idea what her father looked like.

She transferred from Bicol to Manila and stayed with an uncle there to finish her secondary education.

When Zenaida transferred to Manila, little did she know that the birth certificate she possessed, which her Aunt Modesta hid, will become the bridge to discover her filial ties. She discovered the name of her father, his birthplace and her real Japanese name.

This personal discovery led her to contact different government offices and the Japanese Embassy here to locate relatives in Japan.

In 1988, she participated in a survey on second-generation descendants conduced by the Japanese Embassy in Manila and, in 1992, she appealed to the Department of Foreign Affairs for additional help in the search for his half-brother.

In 2010, the Philippine Nikkei-jin Legal Support Center, an organization that helps Japanese descendants trace their roots, filed her petition with the court.

Her petition to see her half-brother was granted.

Toshio Fusato, Zenaida’s half-bro¬ther, arrived in the Philippines on Friday.

In an interview, He told The Manila Times that when he learned that he had a sister, he was nervous and at the same happy at the possibility of meeting her.

Toshio, who hails from Okinawa, incidentally, read an article in a local newspaper the petition of Zenaida to find any of her relatives, which motion was granted by the family court in Japan.

“At that time, my father already passed away. I felt compelled to see her, instead of my father who already died,” he said.

“I know that I have a sibling in the Philippines, so I felt the need to visit here,” Toshio added.

On Saturday, the siblings finally met, in a tearful yet happy reunion arranged by the support center.

Toshio said he hopes that Zenaida can also visit him in Okinawa.


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  1. Huge historical lesson still goes on, but presented Japan, especially under (so called) pm Abe’s security deals autholized Japanese soldiers goes around everywhere around the world, for ‘assist’ allies, that’s against constitution of Japan which made of lesson of WWII. Benigno Senior allies Japanese, even ground son also allies Japanese too, we may follow nightmare?

  2. I think Japan now learned humility after their atrocites during World War ll …I cant imagine their act of terror…Ang buhay nga naman parang alamang, pag lundag ay patay, pagbagsak ay buhay!

  3. It is a very sentimental yet a very encouraging story, that after all, displaced Filipino-Japanese decendants who live in poverty while in the Philippines, were accepted with open hands by the Japanese Government to emigrate here in Japan and share with the good benefits resulting from the progress and economic success of this country. Filipinos with Japanese blood, be it 2nd or 3rd generation are open to emigrate here in Japan and be given a descent and worth living job, an extraordinary benefit the Philippine government could not provide. I am one of them, and it is very typical that very few if there is any, every Japinoy that settled in this country, certainly obtained progress and have totally gone out of poverty. We learned to love this country, without its help, we should be nowhere but embrace poverty. This country is a very good provider and we will never forget it. How we wish the Philippines should follow the “Japanese Example” A COUNTRY THAT IS CORRUPT-FREE WITH COUNTRY LOVING HONEST CITIZENS, A VERY PEACEFUL AND PROGRESSIVE NATION, but I am sure its just like boxing the moon!