Please help us make this film about Japan’s beautifully brave WWII “war brides”.

Your tax-deductible donation will help tell the world the stories of these women that history has forgotten.

War Brides of Japan A Project of Documentaries

How they learned to forgive and marry the enemy...

THE DOCUMENTARY:

Who were the "war brides" of Japan?

Beautifully brave Japanese women who married American military men occupying their country after WWII were called "war brides". Although they didn't marry a war, they expressed their unconditional love by wedding "the enemy".

Even after enduring bombing campaigns that destroyed their cities, leaving a shattered infrastructure rife with food shortages, insufficient housing, utilities and transportation, these Japanese women still found the capacity to forgive—and, opened their hearts to the men from the country that was a source of their suffering.

Why are their stories so important?

Very few films have ever been made about these special women, and now there are very few "war brides" still living. It's imperative that we document their stories while we can. Most former "war brides" are currently in their mid-80's.

How did they break barriers?

As feminists: Following WWII, Japanese women became their families' primary wage earners when the U.S. military became the largest employer in Japan. Working not only provided them an opportunity to be providers, but also put them into direct contact with their former enemies. Because the U.S. Joint Chief of Staffs and General McArthur mandated the military express a friendly attitude of respect towards Japanese citizens, the women noticed that individual servicemen harbored no hatred in their hearts.

Tossing off their geta for high heels and nylon stockings, some Japanese women abandoned kimono for dresses and learned to boogie-woogie at USO clubs where they were paid to dance with Americans. And, even though some were accused of being prostitutes, the truth is the average Japanese woman was simply enjoying life following a prolonged period of war. The stigma attached to the label "war bride" must be eradicated.

As participants in interracial relationships and mothers of mixed-race children: Except for the occasional "war bride" that married a rare Japanese American intelligence officer stationed in Japan, all "war brides" wed either black, white or occasionally Latino servicemen. And they did so during a time of overt racism and xenophobia in the U.S. Until 1967, it was illegal in 16 states for a white person to marry anyone other than another white person. Some "war brides" were disowned by their Japanese families for marrying a foreigner; then, rejected by their American in-laws for being a foreigner!

With mixed marriages came mixed kids. Not only did "war brides" raise biracial children, but they brought them up in America--a country they knew little about, especially Jim Crow and segregation, let alone anti-Japanese hysteria and Executive Order 9066 that forced Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps.

Learning a new language to start a new life:

Huge cultural and language obstacles existed for Japanese women so they were sent to "war bride" schools to be educated by the American Red Cross. There, they learned to cook American foods, keep westernized homes and care for babies. Of course, they also learned to speak English.

Changing laws:

Because of Japanese "war brides", special legislation had to be enacted so that American military men could bring their wives home with them. The Immigration Act of 1924 excluded any Asians from entering the U.S. When The War Brides Act of 1945 was passed, it eventually opened doors to all Asians.

Those are just some of the many achievements these remarkable "war brides" attained by marrying virtual strangers--mostly of another race, then moving across the sea to a country where they'd never been before during a time when air travel was rare, long-distance phone calls costly, and the only means of communication with families they left behind was through letters sent back home.

WHAT WE'VE DONE SO FAR:

Thanks to our generous donors, producer | director Yayoi L. Winfrey, along with camera operator | sound recorder Sean Hardin, travelled for 28 days to 11 cities in 3 states to interview war brides, their spouses, adult children and grandchildren; as well as two historians. All the footage is currently being edited and several trailers will be released very soon.

Associate producer | archivist Misako Kikuchi (Lynn Hammonds) was recently added to the team to research archival footage and stills.

We also have two associate producers--Elaine Ambrose and Diana Portugal--that are assisting with marketing and publicity.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Please consider offering your tax-deductible donation to the production. We are now in the process of raising post-production dollars for editing purposes--color correction, music composing, and archival licensing.

Whatever you end up giving, please know that we appreciate your time, effort and charity. Without your help, this film will not be possible. And, please, if you choose to have your donation remain publicly anonymous, drop me an email at Yayoi@warbridesofjapan.com so i can personally thank you. I'm always available at various social media sites, too, so feel free to contact me on Facebook or Twitter or through our website: warbridesofjapan.com

WHO WE ARE:

Yayoi L. Winfrey, producer | director at Throwing Rice Productions, has been a journalist since 1997 and primarily covers issues pertaining to Asian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities. Click here for her IMDB credits.

Misako Kikuchi (Lynn Hammonds), associate producer | archivist, is a lifelong educator and Executive Director of Hawaii's teacher licensing board. She's also the author of "Becoming Misako Kikuchi", a book about finding her Japanese mother after being adopted and raised in the south.

Sean Hardin, camera operator | sound recorder, is a photographer with a penchant for science and technology.

Just one more thing before you go:

Japanese "war brides' were our very sweet and loving mothers who accepted their former enemies as their spouses; then, raised their children in a country that was often hostile towards them. Yet, they persevered. At the very least, we owe them recognition for allowing their love to transcend war and hate.


Supported by 61 Donations:

  • Regina L.
    I Gave $100
    A little something to help you continue your good work!
  • Mitsuo T.
    I Gave $35
  • Margaret T.
    I Gave $500
    To honor my mother, Asako and my father, Phil. Thank you Yayoi for giving these women a voice and a chance to share their story. You are amazing!
  • Romaine W.
    I Gave $100
    I know it is not much, but I support you and thank you for all you do.
  • Myokei C.
    I Gave $100
    Doing what I can to keep this going. Thanks Yayoi!
  • Lynda  C.
    I Gave $100
    Every little bit . . .
  • Jennifer B.
    I Gave $100
    In memory of Masue Nikaido
  • Jennifer B.
    I Gave $100
    In memory of Masue Nikaido
  • Marie v.
    I Gave $100
  • Doris J.
    I Gave $200
    In memory of my okasan, Fumiko Sumi Factory and my otosan, William M. Factory Sr.
  • Tess  G.
    I Gave $25
    Gambatte, Yayoi!
  • Silvia B.
    I Gave $35
  • Gayle A.
    I Gave $50
    I just had to make one more donation. I really want this project to be realized before it's too late.
  • Roleta Fowler V.
    To an exciting journey and an unforgettable film! Ganbatte kudasai!
  • M C.
    I Gave $300
    Yayoi, thank you for your work on this wonderful project. M Fumie Craig
  • Lynda  C.
    I Gave $100
    On behalf of my mother, Fumiko Kiyamura Caine, and in memory of my father Johnny Forrest Caine, Jr.
  • doris T.
    I Gave $50
    I'd love to see this story!
  • Paz R. C.
    I Gave $100
    Just a little to help!
  • Regina L.
    I Gave $50
    Regina F. Lark, Ph.D.
  • Kareem H.
    I Gave $75
    Please release this movie! -Kareem
  • Paulette T.
    I Gave $35
    I look forward to seeing this. It is important to remember these stories. Thank you for your work.
  • Sarah R.
    I Gave $25
    Looking forward to film.
  • Andy C.
    I gladly make this cause on behalf of my mother and father
  • Vera Z.
    I Gave $25
  • Charles F.
  • Dorothy A.
  • JoAnna M.
    I Gave $100
    Continue the good work!
  • Carol S.
    I Gave $100
  • Marlene B.
    I Gave $50
  • Alvin L.
    I Gave $500
    My ALoha & All the very best on your latest film project!