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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 18 - 24  > Group formed to relay memory of Battle of Okinawa
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2018 April 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Group formed to relay memory of Battle of Okinawa

April 19, 2018
Aiming to pass down to the next generation the memories of the 1945 ground Battle of Okinawa in which a large number of students had been mobilized and killed, a group was formed on April 18 in Naha City, Okinawa.

The inaugural meeting was attended by 70 people, including 33 former students of junior high schools under the prewar education system. In 1945, there were 21 junior high schools in Okinawa.The group members decided to work to help younger people to understand how fierce the Battle of Okinawa was. In particular, they plan to request the prefectural government to create a plate on which the number of junior high school students killed in the 1945 bloody fight is engraved and to attach the plate to the monument of victimized students in the peace memorial park in Itoman City.

Surveys by persons connected in some way to the 21 schools found that a total of 1,970 students were slaughtered in the battle.

One of the group’s co-leaders, 89-year-old Yuza Shoken, said to the meeting participants, “The surviving students of the 21 schools need to join hands. We should take on this important mission to inform future generations of how horrible the war that we experienced was and how precious peace is.”

An 89-year-old man who serves as a secretary to the group said that the group plans to officially request the prefectural assembly during the April session to install the plate. He said, “As we are all around the age of 90, there is little time left for us. We want to realize our goal while we are alive, hopefully within this year.”

Another co-head, Nakayama Kiku, 89, said that she often thinks of her deceased friends. She went on to say that many students were deprived of the chance to study and were severely victimized by the war. Their lives were all irreplaceable.”

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