How-tos | LIFELINES

Desperately seeking people from the past

Lifelines has received a number of inquiries from people eager to make contact with long-lost friends or family members in Japan, so we’re putting them all together in this “In Search Of” special.

• First up, Sarah in the United Kingdom would like to make contact with any family members of her Japanese grandfather, Mamoru Chikane. He was married to Lydia, a British woman, and Sarah’s father was one of their two sons.

From her research, Sarah knows that Mamoru was a sailor. It is thought he was born around 1896 in Japan and, according to his death certificate, he died in 1936 in England after a shipping accident. Her father was only two at the time and has barely any memories or knowledge of his Japanese relatives.

“There were stories of parcels or gifts coming from Japan to the young family, so we think there were relations that knew of Mamoru’s children,” says Sarah. “My father is now very ill and will not live much longer. We would like to contact some of his Japanese family for him before he dies.”

• Next is Linda, from the U.S. state of New Hampshire, who is hoping to reconnect with her former pen pal: “I have looked online to no avail to find my pen pal, Chieko Ozaki, who lived in Osaka in the early 1960s and was a school student at the time. I cannot locate her, and I realize she most likely married and has another last name now.” Does anyone know Chieko?

• Enrique would like to contact his friend Machiko Tang from Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture. She was formerly known as Machiko Minamoto.

• Finally, Courtney in Phoenix, Arizona, is hoping to find her Japanese birth parents or other relatives. Named Kotone Saeki, she was born in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, in June 1985.

“I was adopted a few months later by a couple from the United States,” she writes. “My adoption was done privately through missionaries. I have a few Japanese documents but I’m totally clueless about what it all means.”

Courtney adds that she no longer has a relationship with her adoptive parents, and so finding her Japanese relatives would mean “more to me than I could ever explain.”

Can anyone help in her search?

Your comments and questions: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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