WWII Battle of Okinawa Virtual Conference Hosted by OAA

Relatives of victims of the Battle of Okinawa in the final days of World War II touch the Cornerstone of Peace Memorial in the town of Itoman on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa on 23 June 2005. Okinawa on May 15, 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of its return to Japan on May 15, 1972, which ended 27 years of American rule after one of the bloodiest battles of World War II over the southern island of Japan. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

GARDENA – On Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. PT, the Okinawa American Association (OAA) in Gardena will host its annual “Irei no Hi: Remembering the Battle of Okinawa” live on Zoom.

A special guest speaker from Okinawa, Harumi Miyagi, will speak about the mass forced civilian deaths on Zamami Island.

The event will be in Japanese with English subtitles for the presentation and live English translation for the Q&A. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. Registration is mandatory (Zoom link and phone number to send by e-mail): http://tinyurl.com/oaairei22

The World War II Battle of Okinawa has been called one of the bloodiest land battles in the Pacific, with historians calling it a “war of attrition” fought by the Imperial Japanese Army to prevent the U.S. military to reach the Japanese mainland.

The U.S. Army landed in the Kerama Islands (composed of Tokashiki, Zamami, and Kerama) on March 26, 1945. Survivors of Okinawa claim that the mass civilian deaths that occurred during this time were forced by the Imperial Japanese Army. In 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Education ordered the incidents removed from high school textbooks.

Miyagi will talk about these horrific incidents based on his research and interviews with survivors.

Miyagi is a Zamami-born historian, lecturer, and writer. She is currently the Vice-Chair of the New Okinawa Prefectural History Editorial Board (Shin Okinawa-ken-shi Henshū Iinkai) and Chair of the Women’s History Sub-Committee. As a lecturer, she has spoken at Okinawa International University, Ryūkyū University, and the Prefectural Government Office of Women’s History and Gender Studies, Peace, and Human Rights. man, and of the inheritance of troptoomee (Okinawa mortuary tablets).

Her books include “What My Mother Left Behind: New Testimonies of Mass Suicide in Zamami Island”, “Women’s History as a Minority” (co-authored) and “Listen to the Damage of Sexual Violence” (co-authored).

This year marks the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. In Okinawa, a memorial day known as Irei no Hi is celebrated annually on June 23, the date documented as the end of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.” is to commemorate the nearly 150,000 lives that were lost during the war and post-war years and to educate the next generation about Okinawa’s history and current issues.

Angela C. Hale