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Flowers Amidst the Ashes

The end of the war liberated my mother. Like many other Japanese, for the first time she was able to imagine how she might make a life free from the oppression of the military state. It was a time when everything was in flux, presenting the opportunity to do things that had never been possible. Claiming she knew some English, my mother boldly sought a job at the US general headquarters, and when an American she met there asked her to date, she took a chance and went out with him. When he later asked her to marry, she decided that she was willing to take on that challenge too and accepted his proposal. My grandparents must have been moved too by the new space that existed in society, because they allowed the American to move into their Tokyo home. The American, who became my father, was also crossing boundaries and stepping into the unknown when he decided to marry a Japanese, have children with her, and live with her family in Japan. We, the children of postwar unions, are the products of our parents revolutionary actions. Some of us were born unwelcome in this world, while others were seen as flowers amidst the ashes––springing forth with hope and promise from the devastated land.

Excerpted from When Half is Whole

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