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Oharu of Jakarta

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Oharu of Jakarta was a woman of mixed Dutch-Japanese parentage who was prominent in Batavia in the 17th century. She remains the object of an annual festival held in Nagasaki today.

Oharu was born and raised in Nagasaki, but was exiled to Batavia in 1639 along with all other people of mixed-race and their Japanese parents.[1] She was 15 at the time. In Batavia, she married the Dutch East India Company man Simon Simonsen, with whom she eventually had four sons and three daughters. Oharu continued to live in Batavia after her husband's death, until her death at age 73.

References

  • Gary Leupp, Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900, A&C Black (2003), 116.
  1. The shogunate forbade in that year anyone other than adult male Dutch East India Company employees from living in the Dutch outpost at Dejima - women and children were obliged to leave, though servants and the like were permitted to stay.
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