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British Forces Commonwealth badge

Date: 1950s
Dimensions:
Overall: 55 x 55 mm, 1.72 g
Medium: Fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from June Hammond
Classification:Visual communication
Object Name: Badge
Object No: 00054433
Related Place:England, Nihon,

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    Description
    This British Forces Commonwealth badge relates to John Morris' service with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan from 1949. John was proud of his military service and marched in Anzac Day parades in Australia.
    SignificanceThis badge is part of a collection relating to a highly significant period in Australia’s immigration history, when the lobbying of a group of Australian servicemen would mark the beginnings of a multicultural Australia.
    HistoryMore than 600 Japanese women migrated to Australia as war brides after World War II. Their husbands had served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) after the surrender of Japan in 1945. At first marriage between Australian soldiers and Japanese women was prohibited. But many men fell in love and lobbied the Australian Government for change.

    When Sadako Kikuchi’s family discovered that she was secretly seeing Australian Army officer John Morris, they threatened to disown her. Strong-willed, Sadako chose to leave, moving into an apartment with John.

    Sadako met John when she was a seamstress in a Kure department store. There was still much bitterness between ex-enemies. ‘Morrisan’ and Sadako had to keep their meetings secret, using Sadako’s brother Yasuo as a go-between.

    In 1952, after intense lobbying, the Australian Government eventually gave permission for soldiers to marry Japanese nationals. Sadako and John had a church wedding in 1952. Most of Sadako’s family attended, despite their earlier opposition. Finally, in December 1953, Sadako and her two baby daughters boarded Changte bound for Adelaide. They were among the first group of non-Europeans officially permitted under the White Australia policy. While many immigrants experienced displacement, culture shock and homesickness, Japanese brides also had to endure bigotry in both Japan and Australia.

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