~”Nikkei” in Palau~ Interview Series: Vol.7 Ms. Kabrina Kazuko Idip
Ms. Kabrina Kazuko Idip is an 80-year-old woman who has 5 children; a son and 4 daughters. With a love of farming, Ms. Idip enjoys harvesting her crops so that she can bring them to the Ekei market. Her story is rooted in her soul-searching.
Ms. Idip was born in Palau on March 12th, 1943 to Japanese parents and was adopted by a Palauan family. She grew up in Ngchesar until she got married. She lived in Chuuk and Saipan with her husband who worked for the US Trust Territory government.
Ms. Idip has little recollection of her biological parents who are both from Okinawa, Japan. She didn’t know her mother’s name, but remembered that her mother was a school teacher in Angaur while her biological father, Mr. Seiken Shirado, worked at a food establishment that served the Japanese military during the Japanese administration time in Palau. She has a younger brother who lived in Okinawa. While living in Chuuk with her husband, Ms. Idip found out that her biological father, Mr. Seiken Shirado was looking for her with the intention of bringing her back with him to Okinawa. However, after seeing that Ms. Idip was married and doing well, he went back to Okinawa without her.
Ms. Idip’s Palauan parents raised her with care and affection so that she feels she is their own child. She attended an elementary school from first grade to sixth grade in Ngchesar. She didn’t know any Japanese language until she started working as a sales clerk at the Duty Free Shop in Saipan where she was required to learn the language to help her in selling products to Japanese customers. After her family moved back to Palau, she continued to work at the duty free shop in Palau until she retired.
She has visited Okinawa with her family a few times and has also been to other places in Japan such as Tokyo and Nagoya. After Ms. Idip gave birth to her first child, she went to Okinawa with her family to visit her biological father. She also went to Okinawa for her biological father’s funeral and for her son’s wedding as well. She remembers the amazing taste of uni (sea urchin) sushi and fell in love with the full blooming Japanese cherry blossoms during one of her visits.
Ms. Idip was an active member of Sakura-kai, an association of Palauans of Japanese descent. With the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Palau approaching, Ms. Idip hopes that the good friendship between both countries will continue on for many more years.