Okinawa, here we come!

University of Hawaii officials at Cornerstone of Peace Monument museum in Okinawa

We had a lovely welcome from our Okinawa colleagues, some great food and music upon our arrival in Okinawa. Joining me for this leg of this Asia trip is, from left, Ken Kaneshiro, director of the Center for Conservation Research and Training and Hawaiʻi Evolutionary Biology Program; UH Foundation President Donna Vuchinich; Ed Kuba, a former regent and goodwill ambassador to Okinawa; and Bob Luey, director or the UH Mānoa Center for Japanese Studies, which recently launched the Center for Okinawan Studies.

Our first order of business was a visit to the Cornerstone Peace Monument (museum in the background above) where I placed flowers at the entrance and viewed the many, many marble slabs bearing the names of those who perished in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. The names include the Okinawa residents, the mainland Japanese soldiers and the US soldiers who died. We also visited the touching Himeyuri monument dedicated to more than 200 Okinawan high school girls who lost their lives in the last days of the battle while serving as nursing assistants. It was a very sad story and a well done memorial.

We also spent time visiting Chuba Hospital, where UH has a long relationship and helped to build the very successful postgraduate education program modeled on the American system of training. We met with Chuba Hospital Director Ashimine, below, and members of his staff. More than 900 students have completed this program, now operated by the John A, Burns School of Medicine. Watch the coming issue of Mālamalama for an article on the program.

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UH representatives at Chuba Hospital