A Japanese man born to wealthy parents grew up in poverty after being given to another couple in a hospital six decades ago, while the infant who took his place went to live a privileged life of private tutoring, university and is today head of a property firm.
The 60-year-old man – who has declined to give his name – was raised reliant on hand-outs from the state after the man he thought was his father died when he was just two. The woman he considered his mother had to support his three older brothers and there were few comforts in their one-room apartment as he grew up.
The man had to study at night-school while working day shifts in a factory before finding steady employments as a driver with a transport company. He never married and helps take care of three men who are not his brothers, including one who has suffered a stroke.
Meanwhile, the infant that was given to the man’s biological parents was born 13 minutes later at the San-Ikukai Hospital, in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, and grew up in relative affluence.
The boy had a personal tutor, went to university and is the head of a successful real estate company. His three other brothers work for major companies, according to media reports.
Questions were only raised when the three brothers of the man who was given to the wealthy family recently realized that he bore little resemblance to any of his relatives.
In 2011, the family requested access to hospital records and DNA tests subsequently confirmed the mistake. The error apparently happened when a midwife took the new-born babies away to be bathed and then returned them to the wrong mothers.
Speaking to media in Tokyo, the man condemned to a life of hardship described his shock at learning the people he grew up believing to be his parents and brothers were unrelated to him.
“I wondered how on earth this could have happened,” he said. “I could not believe it. To be honest, I did not want to accept it.”
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