The history of humanity is marked by migration. When viewing the big picture, it is simply concluded that human groups have always moved from one place to another in search of better living conditions.
However, when we look closer we can find inspiring stories and people full of courage and bravery to build, practically from scratch, a decent life for their family and themselves.
Recently an Argentine woman of Japanese descent decided to honor her family history by taking the opposite route and finding her origins.
Beikichi Onna traveled in 1931 aboard a steamer from Japan to Argentina fleeing poverty. He himself documented his trip in a journal.
“We moved away from the port of Kobe and, after passing the Genkai Sea, we crossed the high waves of the East China Sea. I saw a tropical coast pass with joy, the exquisite beauty of the sea, the round moon. About forty days have passed since I left my country. On this road of countless miles, we are now crossing the southern Atlantic Ocean.” said Beikichi.
He was 18 years old and had just graduated from high school.
“Since I separated from my country, my body has been on a sad journey,” Beikichi said in his diary.
After two months at sea, he arrives in the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires. There he lived, worked, and raised a family. He never returned to Japan. One of his offspring, Carolina Onna, always knew that she had a Japanese family but she was not very sure about their history. That part of their past seemed lost and forgotten.
Carolina only met her grandfather through her photos.
Her interest in her family history awoke at age 6 when she found some belongings of her grandfather. Growing up she studied Japanese and later a BA in Oriental Studies.
During her studies, she traveled to Japan and had the idea of knocking on the door in the house where her grandfather had been born.
In the summer of 2011, Carolina took a plane to Japan. She was carrying an old passport and a couple of photos in her handbag, with the help of some locals, Carolina, she managed to reconnect with her origins and meet her lost family.