1988. There are, today, still an estimated 15,000 Amerasians in Okinawa, Japan. All of these populations face disproportionate poverty, racial discrimination, and isolation from the social mainstream.

The story of abandoned Amerasians reminds us that there is a legacy of occupation even in times of peace: A large military force inevitably alters the social, cultural, economic and political landscape of the nation in which it is based, often with tragic consequences.

Discussion Questions

  1. 1.In the story, "Armstrong" is American, born after his father retired and married his mother. "Kijo" is  Japanese, raised in an orphanage. "The Tagakita" is Filipina, and was raised by her single mother. How  would their childhood experiences have differed? 

  2. 2.Discuss some of the potential issues an Amerasian might face growing up and upon reaching adulthood.  In what ways might those problems and challenges be addressed? 

  3. 3.What are some of the ways that the permanent presence of a large military force changes the nation it  


Top to Bottom:  1. The final panel from "Trinity" 2. Homeless Filipino  Amerasian street children  3. Minh Ha, left, and Anh Dung in Utica, New York—two Vietnamese Amerasians whose lives are traced in Thomas Bass's VIETNAMERICA

Trinity, pg. 81

Story and Art by: Greg LaRocque

In this story, three extraordinary strangers meet, only to realize that they have more in common than they seem: They are all children of the same super-powered father, a military agent who unknowingly left offspring behind in Japan, the Philippines and the United States.

The story highlights the circumstances of the Amerasian children of American solders, abandoned when their G.I. fathers returned home or were restationed. From 1898, the year in which the U.S. first colonized the Philippines, until 1992, when American military bases were finally closed, over 100,000 U.S. personnel were stationed there; collectively, it is estimated that there are over 52,000 Amerasians still living in the Philippines, many of them impoverished, subject to discrimination and neglected by both paternal and maternal relatives. Many, themselves children of sex workers, have turned to sex work themselves to survive. A class action lawsuit filed in their name in 1993 demanding that the U.S. provide for the children was dismissed—ironically because the children were the product of "illegal acts" (e.g., prostitution).

The Amerasian population of the Philippines is the largest, but far from the only group of "left-behind" children of America: At the end of the Vietnam War, some 50,000 Vietnamese Amerasians remained in the country—referred to by Vietnamese as "bui doi," the "dust of life"; 23,000 eventually were allowed to emigrate to the U.S. under the Amerasian Homecoming Act of