A group of 54 Japanese citizens who’d been taken in and raised by Chinese families at the end of WWII gathered at a cemetery in Fangheng county of Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Monday to honor their adoptive parents.
The former orphans, now well into their 70s, had been abandoned by their birth parents as Japanese troops hastily fled China at the end of the war in 1945. Many were only months old when they were left behind.
More than 4,000 Japanese children were left in China when the war ended, but most of them returned to Japan after the two countries mended diplomatic ties in 1972.
While some of their adoptive parents were not actually buried at the cemetery, members of the delegation said that they wanted to pay tribute to all the late Chinese parents who took in abandoned children.
The group arrived months ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of the wars, which the Chinese government will heavily promote this year by releasing dozens of documentaries, TV dramas and animated shows.
by Maggie Wong