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Chopsticks wrapper

Date: c 1950
Dimensions:
Overall: 195 × 27 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from June Hammond
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Wrapper
Object No: 00054474
Related Place:Nihon,

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    Description
    This chopstick wrapper was preserved by Sadako Kikuchi, a Japanese woman who fell in love with John Morris, an Australian Army Officer. Morris was at that time serving with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in Japan from 1949. BCOF soldiers were encouraged to explore their surrounds, including cultural and historical sites but were not permitted to marry Japanese women, and a relationship between the two was discouraged by both Sadako's family and the Australian government.

    SignificanceThis chopstick wrapper represents a highly significant period in Australia’s immigration history, when the lobbying by 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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