‘As Japanese, we wish to live as respectable human beings’ – Nishioka Hideko
Modern wars always produce large numbers of orphans, nearly all from the invaded nation. Japan’s China War of 1937-45 is no exception. That war generated not only hundreds of thousands of Chinese orphans, but also large numbers of orphans of Japanese and Korean settlers in Northeast China. This article examines the fate of a subgroup of orphans, the zanryu koji, who were orphaned (or separated from their relatives) soon after Japan’s capitulation in 1945, and were raised by Chinese adoptive parents only to be ‘discovered’ by their Japanese families more than a quarter of a century later.