The existence of a cohort of Japanese Dutch people born during World War II is not well known. Born to Japanese men and local Dutch women in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) while it was under Japanese occupation, many in the community are now around 80 years old.
Yoko Huijs-Watanuki, a Japanese national from Oita Prefecture who lives in the Netherlands, has been supporting Japanese Dutch people for 30 years to realize the wishes of those who want to know about their fathers. "As a fellow Japanese, I can't just leave them on their own," she says. She continues to encounter people whose lives have been shattered by the situation they had to go through.
Watanuki, 64, was born in the city of Bungo-Ono, in Oita Prefecture, and studied at Kyushu University's School of Health Science (now the Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine). She met her Dutch husband, Jan Huijs, 70, in Ghana, where she was assigned as a public health nurse with the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, and has been living in the province of Gelderland, in the eastern Netherlands, since 1990.