April 1, 2019

April First 1945 in Okinawa

Filed under: news — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 2:00 PM

Most people think of April 1st as “April Fool’s Day.” In Okinawa, April First is associated with and remembered as the day that Okinawa was invaded by the U.S. ground troops.

 Okinawa Marine Cave Demolition

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OkinawaMarineCaveDemolition.jpg

“This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.”

According to Encyclopædia Britannica ACADEMIA, an online encyclopedia, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library subscribes to,

“Over the final days of March, American underwater demolition teams and minesweepers cleared obstacles from the landing beaches. Under the overall leadership of theatre commander Adm. Chester Nimitz, Fifth Fleet commander Adm. Raymond Spruance would oversee the landings and U.S. ground troops would be commanded by Lieut. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The invasion was launched on April 1, 1945, when a contingent of U.S. ground troops landed at Hagushi, on the west coast of central Okinawa. Before nightfall, some 50,000 men of the U.S. 10th Army, under the command of Buckner, had gone ashore and established a beachhead about 5 miles (8 km) long.”

Britannica Academic, s.v. “Battle of Okinawa,” accessed April 1, 2019, https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Battle-of-Okinawa/631143.

Ted Tsukiyama, Nisei soldier from Hawai’i wrote,

The April 1st [1945] invasion was preceded by 7 days of “softening up” artillery fire of 13,000 rounds by U.S. Navy guns and 3,095 sorties by carrier planes from Task Force 58 at the proposed landing sites at Hagushi and Chatan beaches.

Source: http://nisei.hawaii.edu/object/io_1149316185200.html

The Battle of Okinawa related resources and information: https://guides.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/okinawa/peace_learning

June 15, 2018

Okinawa Memorial Day Event by Hawaii United Okinawa Association

Filed under: events — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 5:00 PM

The Hawai’i United Okinawa Association will commemorate the Okinawa Memorial Day, as known as “Irei no hi / 慰霊の日” in Okinawa on June 21, 2018.

Okinawa Memorial Day

Below is the information on their flyer.

Hawaii United Okinawa Association commemorates “Irei no Hi” – Okinawa Memorial Day, remembering the lives lost during the Battle of Okinawa.

Date: June 21, 2018
(The official Irei no hi in Okinawa is June 23)
Location: Hawaii Okinawa Center
Time: Doors Open 5:30 pm, Program 6-8 pm


  • A heart-to-heart talk about the importance of remembering the Battle of Okinawa and the many lives lost, presented by MIS veteran Dr. Shinye Gima.
  • A video and introduction of Mrs. Betty Fumiko Tamae Ganeku (Gushikawa) and her experience of living through and surviving the Battle of Okinawa.
  • The story of a Himeyuri Butai survivor, Mrs. Janice Suetomi, who was featured in June’s Hawai’i Herald, written by Jodie Ching. (Jodie Chiemi Ching, “Living to Tell the Story of War and the Importance of Life and Peace,” Hawai’i Herald, June 13, 2018, https://www.thehawaiiherald.com/lead-story-himeyuri-survivor-janice-suetomi/.
  • Opening performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii.

Free and open to the public

Please RSVP via link at huoa.org, google doc link below, or Facebook

Pre-Order Bentos are Available for purchase:
1) Mini (teri beef, boneless teri chicken, rice, shoga) – $7
2) Large (boneless kalbi, boneless teri chicken, rice, takuan) – $12
3) Vegetarian (tofu vegetable stair fry and vegetarian yakisoba) – $8

Bento deadline: June 18, mail payment to:
HUOA – Irei no Hi, 94-587 Ukee St., Waipahu, HI 96797
RSVP/Bento Form at https://goo.gl/forms/cRmHI9TxwVOkAybw1

Questions? Call HUOA: 808-676-5400 Email: ireinohi@gmail.com

March 9, 2018

MIS Talk and Presentation Event held at Hamilton Library

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — okinawacollection @ 3:00 PM

On March 7, 2018, Dr. Shinye Gima and Mr. Mark Matsunaga made separate presentations under the event titled “The Pacific War as seen by the Nisei soldiers of the Military Intelligence Service: (a) the Battle of Okinawa: a personal account & (b) the context.

The event started with a warm welcome by Prof. Masato Ishida at the  University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, who is also Director of the Center for Okinawan Studies (COS). Dr. Gima’s personal account of his experiences as a Nisei Military Intelligence Service (MIS) soldier followed. Dr. Gima, who was born in 1925 in Ewa, O‘ahu, but grew up in Maui, fought as a Nisei soldier with an American Japanese Ancestry (AJA) during the Pacific War. His brother, Noboru, who was born in Hawai‘i was in Okinawa when the war broke out. He was forced to fight against the Allied Forces as a member of Tekketsu kinnōtai (鉄血勤皇隊 = “Iron and Blood Troops of Loyal Followers of the Japanese Emperor”).

(Above Dr. Shinye Gima)

Mr. Mark Matsunaga

(Above Mr. Mark Matsunaga)

MIS event

(Fron the Right to Left: Professor Masato Ishida, COS Director; Dr. Shinye Gima; Mr. Albert Katsuyama; Mr. Mark Matsunaga; Sachiko Iwabuchi, Okinawa Studies Librarian)

MIS Related Resources [selected] (Citation in APA style)

  • Swift, David W. (2008). First class: Nisei linguists in World War II: origins of the Military Intelligence Service Language Program. San Francisco, Calif. : National Japanese American Historical Society.
  • McNaughton, James C. (2006). Nisei linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. Washington, DC: Department of the Army.
  • The University of Colorado at Boulder’s US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project (JSLP) http://lib-ebook.colorado.edu/sca/archives/interpreters.htm

December 18, 2017

Yakabushi – song sung by POWs at the Yaka camp in Okinawa

Filed under: resources — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 7:00 AM

Yakabushi (song) and POWs in Okinawa

Yakabushi monument

[Image source: https://www.visitkintown.jp/en/spot/monument-to-yaka-prisoner-of-war-camp]

The song “Yakabushi [屋嘉節]” is often played during the peace memorial in June in Okinawa. In his article titled “Songs of War and Peace: Music and Memory in Okinawa” (2010), James E. Roberson writes:

“Survivors of the Battle of Okinawa, including many civilians, were initially placed by the American military into internment camps throughout Okinawa (Molasky 1999:17). Two well-known songs recall life in these camps, PW Mujō (also, PW Bushi) and Yaka Bushi (Bise 1998:184). The lyrics of both songs largely overlap and were written in the POW camp at Yaka. Both melancholic songs sing of sadness deepened by the harrowing experiences of war, by thoughts of homes and villages destroyed by fighting, by worries about the safety of relatives, and by personal troubles. The lyrics to the first verse of Yaka Bushi are(13)

Yaka Bushi

Beloved Okinawa, turned into a battlefield

Turned into a battlefield

All of the people, with flowing tears

With flowing tears”

Other resources and information related to the songs sung by the POWs are as follows:

  • Ryukyu Shimpo, Yaka Shūyōjoat de tsuito ensō : horyo tsukutta “Yakabushi” hibikaseru (Japanese) / 「屋嘉収容所跡で追悼演奏 捕虜つくった「屋嘉節」響かせる」(『琉球新報』、2017年6月23日)。
  • Nakasone, Ronald Y. (2002). Okinawan diaspora. (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Press), p. 109.

In 2005, Mr. Shōichi Chibana of Yomitan Village in Okinawa visited the West Bank, where he played Yakabushi (or Yaka Bushi) with a Ryukyuan musical instrument called sanshin / 三線.

  • Asahi Shinbun, evening edition (夕刊). (September 17, 2005). “Okinawa, Yimitan songi no Chibana Shōichi-san Paresuchina ni Ryukyu no chinkonka.” Accessed from database Kikuzo II Visual.

October 9, 2017

Takejiro Higa: Nisei soldier from Oahu passes away

Filed under: news — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 11:00 AM

The Ryukyu Shinpo announced that Mr. Takejiro Higa (比嘉武二郎), a nisei soldier from Hawai’i passed away on October 7, 2017 (Hawai’i Time). He was 94 years old.

The University of Hawai’i dedicated a site for the Nisei soldiers from Hawai’i who fought as US citizens against the Axis Powers, including Japan during the WWII.

Mr. Higa was born in Waipahu on the island of O’ahu in 1923 to Takeo and Ushi Higa. The Hawaii Nisei Project at the University of Hawai’i provides more information.

photos of Takejiro Higa and his brother

[Image source: http://cgm.smithsonianapa.org/stories/takejiro-higa.html]

Takejiro Higa: an Okinawan caught in the Battle of Okinawa by Karleen Chinen (The Hawaii Herald, July 2, 1993).

Technician Third Grade Takejiro Higa: 314th Headquarters Military Intelligence Service at The Nisei Solder: Congressional Gold Medal by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board, & Tendai Education Foundation. (1998). Japanese Eyes, American Heart : Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers.

McNaughton, J., & United States. Department of the Army, issuing body. (2006). Nisei linguists : Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa Library’s Archives & Manuscripts Department has a collection on Japanese American veterans to learn more about the nisei soldiers.


The Marines, the United States Marine Corps’ has an article of Mr. Takejiro Higa when he visited Okinawa 69 years after he saved lives from lives from the caves.

Marines. (December 16, 2014). U.S. Army, Battle of Okinawa veteran visits cave where he saved lives. Retrieved from http://www.marines.mil/News/Press-Releases/Press-Release-Display/Article/558222/us-army-battle-of-okinawa-veteran-visits-cave-where-he-saved-lives/

Interviews with Takejiro Higa at the Go For Broke National Education Center site.

June 26, 2017

Maeda Kochi in the film Hacksaw Ridge

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — okinawacollection @ 7:00 AM

The film titled Hacksaw Ridge (ハクソー・リッジ) has been released in Japan in June, 2017. According to IMDb, the film tells a story about a US medic named “Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.” The place in Okinawa depicted in this film is Hacksaw Ridge, which is Maeda Kōchi (前田高地), Urasoe City, Okinawa.

Maeda Kochi in Urase City, Okinawa, shown in Google Maps

[Map source: Google Maps, https://goo.gl/maps/bfWfZXKg7sr]

Film poster titled Hacksaw Ridge

Urasoe City created a webpage which explains the Hacksaw Ridge as a place where both civilians and soldiers were killed and wounded.

map of the war victims at the Hacksaw Ridge, Urasoe City, Okinawa

The number in blue shows survivors, and the one in red is deceased.

[Image source: http://www.city.urasoe.lg.jp/docs/2017050200104/]

A newspaper The Guardian has an article on the film and the main character, Desmond Doss.

Graham-Harrison, Emma. (February 4, 2017). On the real Hacksaw Ridge, a voice is heard: beware the fake glamour of war. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/05/hacksaw-ridge-okinawa-fake-glamour-of-war-mel-gibson

June 22, 2017

June 23 is irei no hi (Okinawa Memorial Day)

Filed under: news,resources — Tags: , , — okinawacollection @ 4:00 PM

June 23: Irei no hi (慰霊の日 / Memorial Day) in Okinawa

Yahoo! Japan and The Ryukyu Shimpo has created a special site to teach the viewers and readers about the Battle of Okinawa and the victims during the war.

“Okinawa-sen to, sonogo / 沖縄戦と、その後 (The Battle of Okinawa and its aftermath)” in “Mirai ni nokosu sensō no kioku / 未来に残す戦争の記憶 (memories to pass on for the future)” at Yahoo! Japan

*The site is written entirely in Japanese

The video from the site above titled: The Battle of Okinawa in 3 minutes.” (Adobe Flash required)

Image of The Battle of Okinawa from Yahoo! Japan site


The image of June 23, 1945, from the Yahoo! Japan's Battle of Okinawa site

The site also has other audio/visual materials on the war damage in Japan during the WWII.


NHK (Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) also has a special page, dedicated to the Battle of Okinawa. The site is written entirely in Japanese.

NHK Sensō Shōgen Ākaibuzu:  tokushū Okinawa-sen kuronikuru (NHK War Archives Special: the Battle of Okinawa Chronicle = NHK 戦争アーカイブズ:特集 沖縄戦クロニクル–その時何が起こったのか–)


The Yomitan Village in Okinawa created a page dedicated to a song whose lyrics tells the survivors’ sorrow for losing his family and wish for peace.

The title of the song is Kanpōnu Kuwēnukusā / 「艦砲ぬ喰ぇー残さー(かんぽうぬくぇーぬくさー)」.

June 19, 2017

Battle of Okinawa website by NHK

Filed under: resources — Tags: , , — okinawacollection @ 7:00 AM

Nippoin Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation) has created an online exhibit of The Battle of Okinawa: since 1945.3.20-1945.6.23.



Warning from the Site: “The images and the photographs of human bodies will be shown to tell the reality of war.”

Image of the NHK's site titled the Battle of Okinawa

The site is written in both English and Japanese. Unfortunately, GAMA 360° worked only in the Japanese version of the page.


NHK also aired a documentary titled “Compassion in the War Zone” (Senju no Chimugukuru / 戦場の真心 チムグクル:沖縄を救った日系人) on August 22, 2015.

The documentary features on the 100th Infantry Battalion veteran, Thomas “Taro” Higa who was the 2nd generation Okinawan from Hawai’i.

The Hawaii Nisei Projet at the University of Hawai’i has some information about Higa and his effort to rescue the civilians from the caves during the Battle of Okinawa.

Image of the site "The Hawai'i Nisei Story"

“Only one [other MIS man who spoke the Okinawan dialect], Taro Higa. Taro Higa is the original 100th Infantry member, he fought in Italy with the 100th. And after VE-Day, he came home to be discharged. But seeing that how civilians suffered in the European war, instead of getting discharged, he requested transfer to Okinawa. Go to Okinawa instead of getting discharged.”