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Looking for relatives (Yokota)


16 Feb 2019
I am looking for relatives on my mother's side in Japan. She recently passed away and I have very little information to go on. She rarely let slip any information, but I think her parents were Eitaro and Asano Yokota. Her name was Yoko and she was born in Seattle, Washington in 1923. In 1932 a ship's passenger list showed her returning from Japan with her mother, her brother Sennosuke, and her sister Sanaye. The family went back to Japan at some point after 1937, but she returned alone to the US in 1949. To my knowledge, the rest of her family all remained in Japan.

I believe I found a death index for her father, indicating he died in 1994 at the age of 99 (born 1895). His last residence was listed as Osaka-Kobe.

A woman who said she was my mother's niece came to her home in San Diego, California 20+ years ago and one of the things she told her was that her father lived to be 99. That woman would have been my cousin, but my mother would not give me her name.

I think my mother once told me that she lived in or near Nara during the time she lived in Japan.

That is all that I have been able to discover so far. I would be grateful for any information that would help further my search.
Additional information: The ship's passenger list showed Eitaro's birthplace as Okayama-ken and Asano's birthplace as Mayakami-mura Okayama-ken. Google Maps does not recognize Mayakami-mura. Keeping misspelling in mind, if anyone has any idea where that might be, it would be appreciated.

My brother and I plan to go to Japan soon to spread some of our mother's ashes, whether we have any clues to pursue or not, but are gathering what information we can. If nothing else, it will be a wonderful trip. I was there once many years ago and loved it, but my brother has never been.

Before I went, I tried to get my mother to give me names and places, so I could contact family while there, but she refused.
The spelling is correct. 馬屋上村 Mayakami-mura(= village) existed until 1955.
馬屋上村 Mayakami-mura and 野谷村 Nodani-mura were merged into 津高村 Tsudaka-mura at March 1st 1955,
Tsudaka-mura and 横井村 Yokoi-mura were merged into 津高町 Tsudaka-chō(= town) at Feburary 1st 1959,
Tsudaka-chō was incorporated into 岡山市 Okayama-shi(= city) at January 8th 1971,
Okayama-shi was designated by government ordinance at April 1st 2009,
and as a result, the former Mayakami-mura belongs to 岡山市北区 Kita-ku (= district), Okayama-shi now.

There are 馬屋上小学校 Mayakami Elementary School, 馬屋上幼稚園 Mayakami Kindergarten or まやかみ農園 Mayakami Farm in Kita-ku, Okayama-shi.

Do you know their kanji names? It's quite hard to get their information only by romaji names.
Thank you so much for the information!

No, we don't have anything showing their kanji names. We are going through her things trying to find anything that might help in our search. If we want to get the koseki for Eitaro or his father, Yasutaro, we would go to Okayama-Shi?

I found another passenger list showing their previous address in Japan as No. 1261 Miwa, Umayakamimura, Mitsugun, Oyakamaken. That list had Yeitaro, instead of Eitaro.
区 "Ku" should be translated as "ward" in English in my previous post.

Umayakami-mura is a misreading of Mayakami-mura. The first kanji 馬 can be read "uma". Also, Oyakamaken is obviously a typo of Okayama-ken.

岡山県御津郡馬屋上村大字三和 Ōaza(= larger section of village) Miwa, Mayakami-mura, Mitsu-gun(= county), Okayama-ken(= prefecture) is the present 岡山県岡山市北区三和 Miwa, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken.

Yeitaro and Eitaro are just variations in romaji transliteration. Those two names refer to the same person.

You know his detailed address, so it could be possible to reach them even with romaji names. 岡山市北区役所 Okayama-shi Kita-ku Word Office might have their information.

You can contact them via e-mail.
(all in Japanese)

I remember that there was a member who wanted to get her family's records(koseki) like you.

She sent a Japanese e-mail to Obama city hall, as in the thread linked above, and got a reply in Japanese. She PMed me their reply, and the city hall said that the followings were necessary to get koseki in the e-mail.

- a document to confirm her personal identification (official ones with face photograph such like passport or residence card)

- an official document to confirm the relation of consanguinity between her and her great-great-grandparents, and the Japanese translation of it

They also asked her to contact 小浜市役所市民課 Obama City Hall Community Services Division via telephone through someone who can speak Japanese before she went to the city hall in order to check about the necessary documents and whether it's possible to give koseki or not.

I don't know whether she succeeded in obtaining koseki or not since she didn't come back to the forum, but you would need similar documents. I recommend contacting the ward office first, anyway. (Okayama-shi is a relatively big city. There must be someone who can speak English there, so I think it's OK to send an English e-mail. Please tell us if you don't get their reply. We might be able to help you with translating your e-mail into Japanese.)
Thank you again for your generous assistance.

I am going to Seattle on Friday to try to obtain her birth certificate. However, I may not be able to get it without her mother's maiden name, which I don't know. We'll see what happens. Otherwise, the only thing I have showing her relation is the passenger list that connects her to Asano, and Asano to Y. Yokota at the Mayakami address.

I looked at the translated version of the form and I'm not quite sure what it's asking for in some of the fields, but I will give it a try.

I'm thinking we'll need a translator/interpreter when we visit the ward office. I've found a few websites for tour guides/interpreters in Okayama. Do you have any recommendations?
I looked at the translated version of the form and I'm not quite sure what it's asking for in some of the fields, but I will give it a try.
The first field is for your name.

The second is for hiragana name.
This field is needed for the reading of the kanji name since kanji names usually have multipul readings. (Hiragana is a phonogram, as you might know.) I think it's OK to write your English name again.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th are for your address, phone number and fax number, respectively.
These are not "necessary", so you don't need to write in these fields.

The 6th is for your e-mail address.

The 7th is for the same e-mail address for confirmation (to avoid miswriting e-mail address).

The 8th is for the title of your e-mail.

The last is for the body of your e-mail.

I'm thinking we'll need a translator/interpreter when we visit the ward office. I've found a few websites for tour guides/interpreters in Okayama. Do you have any recommendations?
Sorry, but I'm not helpful with that. I've never hired any interpreters.
Thank you.

I found a website that offers hiragana translations from English, so I will try that.

My trip tp Seattle did not help at all. They no longer have original birth certificates from that period, so we still do not know our grandmother's maiden name. We also searched at the Genealogical Society and the Seattle branch of the National Archives, but neither place had any information that we do not already have.

I have contacted several places that offer guides and interpreters in the Oyakama area, so I think we'll be able to hire someone suitable.
Update: most of the information I have, I got from ancestry.com. With that, I contacted an interpreter in Okayama and a person at familysearch.org. They were able to contact the city hall and found out that I have enough to get the koseki for my grandfather. But more than that, the woman from familysearch.org has actually found my uncle's family, still living near the original family home! I don't know yet if they are interested in meeting me, but just knowing they are there is a thrill. I'm not sure, because the translation sometimes is unclear, but it sounds like I may have an aunt and cousin living here in the states. I am anxiously waiting for more information.
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