Villagers in northwest China's Shaanxi Province held a funeral on Thursday for Mszusaki Hideko, an 89-year-old Japanese war orphan who spent most of her life in China.
Mszusaki Hideko died on Jan. 6 in Leijiadong Village, Zhulinguan Township of Danfeng County in Shaanxi. Her stepson and other villagers arranged a funeral on Wednesday, said Bai Qiyan, a village official.
Hideko was born in 1929 in Fukuoka, Japan. She was an only child and her father was a fisherman, said Xing Weilin, a township official.
Hideko's mother died when she was 11. Unwilling to stay with her stepmother, she came to China in 1942 with her aunt and uncle to live in Changchun, capital of Jilin Province in the northeast.
Hideko adopted Wang Yulan as her Chinese name. After the Japanese army surrendered in 1945, she stayed in China. She had four marriages, the last one was with Li Mingtang in 1976 in Danfeng County, Xing said.
Wang had no children. She had a stepson, Xing said.
In 2005, her relatives in Japan sent people to China to ascertain her documents. She and her husband traveled to Japan and stayed with her cousin.
"She hardly spoke any Japanese. She had to speak through an interpreter with her cousin. No one knows why she would not stay in her home country," Xing said.
"Hideko had good relations with other villagers. She cooked well, and whenever there were banquets in the village, she would volunteer to help," said her neighbor who gave his name as Li.
Japanese started a war in China in 1931. Before that, it sent many citizens to the northeastern part of China. More than 4,000 Japanese children were left in China after Japan's defeat in 1945, mostly in the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, as well as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. They were taken care of by Chinese foster parents.
"Hideko used to tell me she was a Japanese 'guizi' or devil. She never hurt anyone and she was no devil at all, just another victim of the war," said Bai.
"If there were no war, she could have had another life. Now we bury and lay her to rest her like we do with any other Chinese citizen," Bai said.