Every Child

Has Two Parents

 
 

Why Can't I See My Daddy?                                  

Amy Kalmus's web site

                           

I was married in Dec. 1995 to Tomomi Ito in the Suginami-ku Tokyo ward office. Things started out great. She was a wonderfully happy woman, and I was excited to spend time with her. We had been dating for a short time probably 2 or 3 weeks and she became pregnant. We spoke about our options and in the end decided to have the baby. We were in love and couldn't imagine giving up our baby. After Tomomi was pregnant for about a month it was holiday season and we spent Oshogatsu (New Years) in her hometown of Omuta shi in Fukuoka Japan.

I spent time getting to know her parents, and they spent time telling her I was evil and she shouldn't have gotten married to a foreigner. Her father was very old school Japanese. It seemed he fought for the Japanese during World War II. His daughter had married the enemy. We spent two weeks for the holidays in Omuta and then retuned to Tokyo.

Shortly after returning to Tokyo she told me she wanted to move back home to have our baby. Without knowing that her family was against the fact that she had married a gaijin (non-Japanese) I agreed. I recall thinking that it would be a great experience. I also had no clue that she was planning living in the same house as her parents. Shortly after we moved to small town old Japan - home of the largest WWII POW camp.

Additional Information

Amy Kalmus's web site




I tried to get Tomomi to look for an apartment in Omuta with me but she refused stating that we would be living in her family home. It seemed odd to me, but I soon found out it was very normal in the Japanese culture. I hadn't lived with my family since I was 17 years old, but wanted to make my marriage work so I gave in.

We moved to Kyushu and things were OK at first. There was a bit of a honeymoon period. Her parents and I started to get along better, but over time that didn't last. Her father tried for months to get me to take their last name, and actually suggested I change my name to Ito Erio. Tomomi's mother walked around making comments like - "you have allergies and Tomomi doesn't. People with allergies should only marry other people with allergies." I was never accepted and constantly made to feel like an outsider. ]

In trying to get on with my life I put myself into working hard. I became a typical Japanese "salaryman." I woke everyday at 6, and was on the train at 7. My first job began at 8:45 AM. I taught at two or three schools a a day and made my way back home at usually 9:15 PM. This life was extremely hard on me. I was not Japanese and trying to fit in a culture I didn't really understand took it's toll. The only joy I had was my baby, Amy. She an I would spend all of my free time together. We played at the park, ate pizza and became very close. Amy always called me DADA.

My marriage deteriorated quickly after Amy was born. Tomomi felt powerful in her family home and treated me like I was her money machine. Either I worked or she didn't need me around. She kept me on an allowance and I recall her saying things when I asked her to return my bank cards to me like "if you need your cards then I don't need you."

We hadn't really known each other for very long before getting married and it was pretty obvious. We fought a lot and realized we really had nothing in common. We did everything we could to get along, but things got progressively worse.


At first I didn't want to divorce, but really hated life in Omuta. I had no friends and found myself thinking about jumping in front of oncoming trains every morning. After about a year in Omuta I decided to move and take a job in Tokyo. I would travel back to Omuta every month for a long weekend to be with Amy. This went on for about a year before Tomomi and I decided to call it quits. Nothing was getting better.

We drew up an English and a Japanese divorce agreement and had them translated into each others languages. The translation of "sole parental right" came out as "custody." So I agreed thinking it would be better for a little girl to be with her mother the majority of the time. I had no idea that I was signing away rights to see my baby. We signed the forms and soon after Tomomi told me I would never see my Amy again.


I was shocked that losing my child was a possibility and realized that I didn't really understand what divorce and child custody had meant in Japan. I took my ex-wife to court twice on the basis that the meanings were not translated properly, but she won hands down and I never saw Amy again.

My attorney fought as hard as he could, but court in Japan is nothing like it is here in the states. There was no judge only a panel of four people who tried to get Tomomi and I to make a new agreement. She refused and the "court" backed her up.

I planned to fight as hard as I needed to get my little girl back, but then it came time to renew my visa. I was working for Goldman Sachs as a computer engineer. They agreed to sponsor me and submitted my visa papers to Japanese immigration. I had trouble getting a new visa after that. I have no proof of this, but it seemed that since I was in court with a Japanese national they made it extremely hard. I was told by the visa department at Goldman Sachs that Japan didn't want me around anymore. After living in and giving to Japan for almost 5 years I was refused a new visa and had to return to the USA. In April 1999 my options were up and I returned to Los Angeles.

For the next few years I sent Amy presents and kept up on her growth through people I knew in Omuta. Then one day the presents and letters began to be returned. Tomomi and Amy had moved and I lost all contact with my little girl.

It has been almost 13 years since I last held my little girl, and want more than anything to be reunited. I hope her mind hasn't been poisoned and still remembers the wonderful times we shared. I am hopeful but at the same time doubtful I will see her again unless we can change Japans laws. I try to keep in touch through the web, and google ad words. I pray that one day Amy will find me.

See Also

- Face The Truth

- Abduction is Abduction

 

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.




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