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OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE IN JAPAN

During the repatriation of Japanese crossovers in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) to Japan between 1954 and 1960, only 20 families were able to leave Vietnam with their Japanese fathers. Given that the DRV prohibited this, one can assume that these families probably left from areas below the 17th parallel, controlled by the Associated State of Vietnam in the wake of the signing of the Geneva Accords of 1954 and over which the DRV lost control. These families mainly relocated to the big cities of Osaka and Tokyo. The shift to life in postwar, urban Japan was often not easy for returning Japanese soldiers who had lived in the jungle for more than ten years and had continued their combat career well beyond the Japanese defeat in 1945. Life was even harder for the Vietnamese wives who did not know Japanese or Japanese culture. Finding work was hard for both husband and wife. And to make matters worse, these mixed couples often could not escape the eye of the Cold War. Their affiliation with the communist-run DRV led the Japanese police to tail many families well into the 1960s. Le Thi Hue followed her husband to Japan in 1959 and later recalled in an interview that it was an “extremely hard” period in her life. While other Vietnamese had lived and studied in Japan since the turn of the 20th century, this was for all intents and purposes the beginning of a Vietnamese diaspora in Japan. See also DESERTION; LOVE AND WAR; OVERSEAS CHINESE; OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE IN FRANCE; OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE IN THAILAND.