In some ways tracing my family history is easier than my classmates. That’s because my parents emigrated from Asia to American to pursue an education. However, my parents come from countries “we” (Americans) consider to be polar with each other.
My father’s family hails from China. More specifically, they lived in western China. However, after the communist takeover of China in 1949, my grandparents like other followers of Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan. After fleeing to Taiwan my grandfather served in the military and eventually became a banker. On the other hand, my grandmother stayed at home to raise the children, as most women did in that time period. Even though my grandparents left China, their Chinese identity passed on to their children. However, tracing my family roots past my grandparents is a daunting task. But, I have it on good authority (documents) that my great-grandfather was the governor of the province of western China. Unfortunately, as I explained before, the Communist take over forced my great-grandparents immediate successors (my grandparents) to flee. Moving beyond my great-grandfather and to my great-grandmother, first-person accounts state that she also stayed at home and tended to the children. So not much differed from her and my grandmother. This was a result of the time period that they lived in. Going past this point in my father’s side of family history proves nearly impossible because of the lack of documentation. But, one day I hope to uncover the truth about my Chinese heritage.
My mother’s side of the family originated from Japan. She was born and raised in Tokyo. However, her grandparents and parents lived in the northern island, Hokkaido. I know that many relatives on her side of the family were entrepreneurs. My grandfather owned a pharmaceutical company, and his parents owned restaurants. Although my great-grand parents were not college educated, it did not hinder their success as entrepreneurs. On the same island of Hokkaido, my grandmother’s family owned shoes stores, hot springs, and hotels. Like my grandfather’s parents, my grandmother’s parents were also not college educated. But, thankfully both my grandparents broke this chain and went to college. My knowledge of my mother’s side limits me to this point because I was not particularly close to them. Like my other side of the family, I hope to understand were exactly my Japanese roots come from.