“Dear Japanese” is a documentary made with Okuyama’s personal perspective as a Japanese living in the Netherlands. When Japan occupied the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, in 1942, many Indo males were jailed, leaving their wives and daughters to fend for themselves. Once males were imprisoned in the Japanese POW camps, in search of a livelihood, women started to work at Japanese offices, or cafes and restaurants serving the Japanese. This situation led many young women to have relationships with Japanese and children were born based on love or economic need, while a few were from assaults.
Japanese children grew up in the hostile atmosphere towards Japan. 70 years after the war, some are still searching for their fathers as an important missing piece of their identities, and are suffering from the lasting psychological effects of difficult childhood.
Miyuki Okuyama, born in northeast Japan in 1973 and living and working in the Netherlands since 2006, graduated from the University of Alabama with MA in art. Her photographic works often deal with her identity and roots, interacting with the others’.
She became one of the finalists of Hitotsubo Photo Award (Tokyo) in 2006. Her recent documentary series “Dear Japanese” depicting the Japanese-Dutch-Indonesian children born of the World War II, has been exhibited in UK, the Netherlands and in Japan, and her self-published book “Dear Japanese” was nominated for The Anamorphosis Prize and Fiebre Photobook Dummy Award in 2015, and it is now part of MoMA Library and Franklin Furnace Foundation collections.
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