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Switched At Birth: The Japanese Man Who Was Deprived Of A Life Of Luxury

A Japanese man was switched at birth and experienced the opposite of a luxurious life.

San-Ikukai Hospital in Sumida City, Tokyo, accidentally switched two babies right after their births, giving them to the wrong mothers. Already a rare situation, this case in Japan was markedly more upsetting when taking into account the stark difference in the parents’ financial backgrounds.

| San-Ikukai Hospital

One of the babies grew up to be a truck driver living off welfare checks in a small apartment with no appliances. His mother had raised him and two siblings alone after his father died when he was two years old. The other baby, meanwhile, was given a private school education and ended up running his own real estate business.

The former found out about this fact almost 60 years later, and he couldn’t help but feel terrible about the situation.

I feel regret and also anger. I want them to turn back the clock.

— Victim

He was contacted about the mix-up in 2009 by his birth siblings. The wealthy family took a DNA test to confirm why one of the four brothers looked different. They then scoured old hospital records until they found their true brother two years later.

Understandably, he wished that the switch never occurred and he were raised by his birth parents instead. Besides the life of luxury that he missed out on, he also felt sadness at not knowing his real mother and father.

When I found out about my true parents, I wish I was brought up by them. That’s the truth. When I was handed the photograph of my [real] parents, it made me want to see them. Every time I see their photograph, for several months tears would well up.

— Victim


He eventually sued the hospital for the damage that was done to his life. Though he won the case, he was awarded significantly less money than he asked for. The San-Ikukai Hospital was ordered to pay him 38 million yen ($256,000) instead of 250 million yen ($1.6 million).

Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka told the court that it was “impossible to assess the scale of pain” that the affected parties were subjected to as a result of the mistake.

It is impossible to assess the scale of the pain and disappointment both the parents and the man had to suffer, as they were deprived of opportunities to enjoy their parent-child relationship forever.

— Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka

Following the court ruling, the impoverished man spent more time with his real brothers, bonding over drinks.

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