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one-to-many bidirectional association

In a relational database in a one-to-many relationship, a row in table X can have  more than one matching row in table Y.

In Object oriented programming, one instance of entity refers to multiple instances of another entity in the  relation called one-to-many relation.

In this tutorial used the relationship between Engineering Branch and Students. In an Engineering college each Branch have many Students.

what is bidirectional?

  • Bidirectional relationship provides navigational access in both directions, so that you can access the other side entity without explicit queries.

one-to-many Tables structure in Database :

one-to-many association

Technologies Used in following example :

  • JPA 2.1
  • Hibernate 5.2.6
  • MySql 8.0
  • Maven 3
  • Spring Tool Suite (STS) 3.9.8
  • Java 1.8

Student.java mapping :

 * The persistent class for the STUDENT database table.
public class Student implements Serializable {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO, generator = "native")
    @GenericGenerator(name = "native", strategy = "native")
    private int id;
    private String contactNo;
    private String fname;
    private String lname;
       * @ManyToOne is used to insert manyeth (numerically one, not many) record that to associate with one record of other table
    private Branch branch; 
//Setters and getters

Branch.java mapping :

 * The persistent class for the BRANCH database table.
public class Branch implements Serializable {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO, generator = "native")
    @GenericGenerator(name = "native", strategy = "native")
    private int branchId;
    private String branchName;
    private String branchShortName;
    private String description;
    //bi-directional many-to-one association to Student
    @OneToMany(mappedBy="branch", cascade={CascadeType.ALL})
    private List students;
//Setters and getters

Cascade :

  • Whenever rows in the parent table manipulated (inserted, updated, deleted) the respective rows of the child table with a matching key column will be manipulated as well. This is called Cascade in Database.
  • JPA translates entity state transitions to database DML statements.

@JoinColumn :

  • @JoinColumn Specifies a column for joining an entity association or element collection. The annotation @JoinColumn indicates that this entity is the owner of the relationship. That is the corresponding table has a column with a foreign key to the referenced table.

To Understand Cascade and @JoinColumn mapping in entity associations see :
Key points to understand associations

mappedBy :

The mappedBy element defines a bidirectional relationship. This attribute allows you to refer the associated entities from both sides.

one-to-many bidirectional association testing :

 * JPA One-To-Many BiDirectional
public class App 
    public static void main( String[] args )
        EntityManagerFactory emf = null;
        EntityManager entityManager = null;
        EntityTransaction transaction = null;
            emf = Persistence.createEntityManagerFactory("jbd-pu");
            entityManager = emf.createEntityManager();
            transaction = entityManager.getTransaction();
            Branch branch = new Branch();
            branch.setBranchName("Computer Science and Engineering");
            branch.setDescription("CSE department offers courses under ambitious curricula in computer science and computer engineering..");
            List<Student> students = new ArrayList<Student>();
            //Branch object having all the information (Branch and Students)
            Student retrivedStudent = entityManager.find(Student.class, branch.getStudents().get(0).getId());
            System.err.println("Branch Name: "+retrivedStudent.getBranch().getBranchName());
        }catch(Exception e){
    private static Student getStudent1(){
        Student student = new Student();
        return student;
    private static Student getStudent2(){
        Student student = new Student();
        return student;

 Output :

INFO - HHH000400: Using dialect: org.hibernate.dialect.MySQLInnoDBDialect
INFO - HHH000397: Using ASTQueryTranslatorFactory
Hibernate: insert into Branch (BRANCH_NAME, BRANCH_SHORT_NAME, description) values (?, ?, ?)
Hibernate: insert into Student (BRANCH_ID, CONTACT_NO, fname, lname) values (?, ?, ?, ?)
Hibernate: insert into Student (BRANCH_ID, CONTACT_NO, fname, lname) values (?, ?, ?, ?)
Branch Name: Computer Science and Engineering
INFO - HHH000030: Cleaning up connection pool [jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/jpa_JBD]

Download Application – JPA-OneToMany-BiDirection.zip (15 KB)


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