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Okinawans still haunted by horror of war 70 years on

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Let's gather all the remaining survivors in all the theatres of WWII and get their last thoughts on record. Because once they are gone...people will say it never happened and wash over the facts.

We owe it to ourselves, our children but mostly to those who lived and died through this dark time never to repeat it again.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

In spite of plenty of evidence that soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army forced thousands of Okinawans to commit suicide so that they wouldn't become spies for the Americans, Abe and his rightwing ministry of propaganda want to whitewash the event and pretend it didn't exist:

TOKYO - The government ordered changes Friday to seven history textbooks describing how the Japanese army forced civilians to commit mass suicide at the end of World War II, the country's latest effort to soften brutal accounts of its wartime conduct.

The high school textbooks say the army — faced with an impending U.S. invasion in 1945 — handed out grenades to residents on the southern island of Okinawa and ordered them to kill themselves rather than surrender to the Americans.

The Education Ministry said there was no definitive evidence that the suicides were ordered by the army. The publishers were asked to modify the relevant passages and submit the changes for approval by a government-appointed panel.

"There are divergent views of whether or not the suicides were ordered by the army, and no proof to say either way. So it would be misleading to say the army was responsible," said Education Ministry official Yumiko Tomimori.

Since taking office in September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted national pride and sought to distance Japan from its post-World War II guilt. His conservative government has bolstered Japan's international military role and amended the constitution to require schools to teach patriotism.

http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=38049

7 ( +9 / -2 )

And here we see the sympathy card being played yet again. Three-quarters of the world are haunted by WW2 and all of Asia still remembers the atrocities of Japan's imperial rule in the first half of last century.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

“I’ll never forgive Japan for what happened,” said the 87-year-old, now the director of a museum dedicated to the nursing corps.

For this woman, and a few others, that have worked just about their entire lives after the war, to keep the memory alive I can empathize with her feelings. She is going to retire soon and I hope that she finally finds peace.

She is mainly concerned now a days with who will carry her story into the future. I also agree that her message needs needs to be kept alive, and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is to have her story forever enshrined in Japanese history textbooks, and not white-washed either.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

100,000 killed, must have been corpses everywhere.

Can't even think how it must have been, a hell on earth. The horrors of war should drive us all to ensure that these kinds of horrors are never repeated again.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Okinawans shouldn't bear the 75% burden of defending an occupier country like Japan which brought nothing but mass death and misery to the Ryukyu people throughout history. Japan should be responsible for its own defense, instead of offloading all the burdens to Okinawans.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It's too dreadful to believe it actually happened.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What a story. No wonder they heckled Abe.

plenty of evidence that soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army forced thousands of Okinawans to commit suicide

Another can of worms for japanese historians.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I wonder why current J people tried to erase what they have been done. It didn't look like the image of J in other countries.

After postwar WWII, J people had courage to show remorse and could sold their market to all the countries that their has attacked before. They still own their face and pride in the countries that they have commit atrocities before. I believe it didn't easy to do that however the J people has done it great and being copy by other countries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Disillusioned, I believe that the Russians were still quite a ways from actually invading Hokkaido, since you needed a lot of ships to move in the supposed two million troops you mentioned. If we had actually carried out Operation Downfall--the physical invasion of Japan--the Russians would not have been able to mount a full-scale invasion until probably the summer of 1946 at minimum.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the Japanese STARTED the war and then got paid back 100 times over for starting the war....

Okinawan are not Japanese. They are not responsible for Japanese crime. Interestingly US did not trial Emperor Hirohito as war criminal. On the contrary US authority treated them as living divine God.

Instead they oppressed, bullied and exploited Okinawa island. After 70 years, it may need extra 30 years for paying back the sin of Mainland Japanese ultra nationalists.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

https://webspace.yale.edu/anth254/restricted/press/NYT_050620.pdf

Above is a good summary, in case such summaries disappear from Japanese books.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@YuriOtaniJUN. 24, 2015 - 03:35PM JST Yet it did happen and the horror is still in progress. From my time in America, many Americans think the Japanese deserved to die. Never mind the people of Okinawa are not Japanese and had ZERO say in the government and foreign policy, odd sort of like today.

Guess what, the Japanese thought the Americans should die, and vice versa, from the American point of view what the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor justified any and all actions against it, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. America thought the Japanese were an inferior race at the time.

There was no differentiating between Okinawa and Japan at the time, they were one and the same for most people. As well too, many Okinawans fought against the US as well, kind of hard to tell between who was an enemy and who was not.

Hindsight (AGAIN) is 20/20.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@yamashiJUN. 24, 2015 - 09:48PM JST @toshiko "Do you have stat?" You need not stat, just read comments of average folks on JT.

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Didn't you know JT has created JT to let people who can use English. JT is not American only service.

Notice JT comment writers usually write percentages and numbers. Comment writers know that American people do not mean just people of Oklahoma town neighbor of Yuri.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The tremendous casualty toll of the invasion of Okinawa--called by many among the Allies a preview of what would happen if the Home Islands of Japan were invaded--was probably the most likely reason to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to force an earlier end to the war.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Steve, war is war, sneak attack? history is written by the winner , propaganda runs the war, and believe me- if the US had it's way it would have had it's own "sneak attack": but would have called it a "preemptive strike".

that is what a sneak attack is called now.

the US troops were painted in the same light as the Japanese people were by the USA. prior to my mother passing away she still believed that all asians were Japanese, all followed the same precepts of the war posters she saw as a teenager. the amount of hatred was hard to bear, and the inability to talk to anyone who was Japanese or even Asian was also difficult because of this.

but this is what Propaganda and History bring- an incomplete tale the A bomb was not justified, just like most of the bombings but i won't get into why now- that history can be discussed later- unless you decide to really study military history

1 ( +4 / -3 )

but this is what Propaganda and History bring- an incomplete tale the A bomb was not justified, just like most of the bombings but i won't get into why now- that history can be discussed later- unless you decide to really study military history

Hindsight is always 20/20 and sadly things get warped from all sides.

This is a fact, the Okinawan people suffered. Should the island have been returned? Not returned? Returned to being the Ryukyu Kingdom? It's all academic now. Okinawa is so integrated into Japan that from now there is no way to have it become independent when it's almost impossible to discern between who is ethnic Okinawan and who is not. Plus to even go down that road opens the door to discrimination, and a host of other problems that most people here would scream bloody murder if it happened in their own country.

People have to accept the fact that Okinawa is a part of Japan, it may be hard for some, but that is the reality.

Once people accept the reality, the other problems can be dealt with, if one is willing to have an open mind and not treat everything as being black or white, (which is VERY UN-Japanese btw).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@YuriOtaniJUN. 24, 2015 - 03:35PM JST Yet it did happen and the horror is still in progress. From my time in America, many Americans think the Japanese deserved to die. Never mind the people of Okinawa are not Japanese and had ZERO say in the government and foreign policy, odd sort of like today.

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What many Americans??? Do you have stat?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@miscalculation: Emperor did not have power. Since before Boshin War, Emperor was used as puppet to rationalize wars/ . (BoCho KinnoShiDan)

Here about A Bomb. USA did not know effect ot A Bomb and tested and tested underground in Nevada desert. near current Las Vegas. And from there, went to Japan. In Japan we were in Summer recess. We did not know Kokura was target and we heard Nagasaki was bombed, we felt Japan would be defeated as Nagasaki was Christian area. People pretended not Christian and were called Kakure Kirishitan. If they bombed Nagasaki, they were not going to forgive Japan Asahi and Mainichi explained/ Military Govt already ordered entire Japanese to suicide. About 8/14, PM suicided. Emperor defied Military and used NHK to declare e='end of War. (ShuSen Chokugo). There are many old Japanese who think if it were not A Bomb we were all dead. Later former PM Eisaku Satoh preached against using A Bomb all over in the world. He is Abe's Grand Uncle and he received nobel Peace Prize/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Peeping_Tom you miss the point none of what you wrote is possible. A person from Okinawa or Ryukyu as Emperor? Such nonsense as well as PM or any important position in Tokyo. The reason the bases are on Ryukyu is we are an oppressed minority. The Americans make it all possible for the Japanese majority. This would never happen in America, the land of the fee.

Toshiko san, ah what is your question?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“We were taught Japan was God’s country and couldn’t lose the war,” he said, overlooking the spot in Itoman dubbed “suicide cliff” by American troops.

We were told that nuclear energy was good, and Fukushima was safe.

“We believed the Americans were devils, that they were savages and if they captured us they would cut our ears and noses off, gouge out our eyeballs and run over us in their tanks.”

70 years later and NHK is still sprouting propaganda about foreigners and their "crime spree."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I noticed a comment about the dropping of the atomic bombs. As much as those bombs were the most inhumane thing ever done in the history of humanity, the U.S. actually did Japan a favor by dropping them. The attack was hastened due to there being two million Russian troops lined up on the eastern front and ready to march into Hokaido with orders to sweep through the whole country and kill everybody. So, in a saddistic kind of way, they did Japan a favor.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The fact is well documented that no invasion would ever have taken place as the Russian invasion ended the war. Additionally, no US Pacific top level military commander supported either nuking civilians or an invasion. They collectively felt Japan was defeated and ready to surrender. Here is an excellent starting point for their feelings.

http://doug-long.com/quotes.htm

In this regard, six of the seven highest ranking US WWII officers are on record as stating that using nuclear weapons on Japanese civilian targets was an unnecessary and cowardly atrocity. I place far more weight on their opinions than the fantasy "casualty" figures invented by US politicians as risible justification for mass murder of innocent women and children with nuclear weapons.

As Brig. Gen. Carter Clarke stated:

"….we knew we didnt need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didnt need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs."

American politicians decided to nuke hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children needlessly. They chose to do this despite clear knowledge that Russia`s imminent declaration of war in early August 1945 would cause Japan to surrender, without invasion, upon nearly any terms the U.S. chose to dictate. That makes them complicit in the two most heinous single event atrocities in human history.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Dissillusioned "the U.S. actually did Japan a favor by dropping them" The U.S. actually did Japan a favor by killing thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you said? Though I realize that I am talking to American, so I am very, very patient.

"...two million Russian troops lined up on the eastern front and ready to march into Hokkaido"

This is another well-known myth, created by Americans in attempt to justify horrible bombings of innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By end of August of 1945 Russians defeated the IJA in Manchuria. Some units were redeployed back to the USSR, others remained to stay in China and North Korea, helping to establish Soviet-style administration all across the territory. Thus Soviets had neither reasons nor sources to invade Hokkaido. As it has been already pointed above, Soviets also had not any suitable amount of amphibious crafts to provide large-scale invasion across Sea of Japan.

0 ( +5 / -4 )

After 70 years of exploitation, it is time for the people of Okinawa to kick out their American military occupiers. The US invasion was an atrocity equal in heinousness to the nuclear weapons experiment on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In fact, the the US invasion resulted in the slaughter of approximately one third of all civilians on Okinawa.

As wikipedia states:

"It became common for U.S. soldiers to shoot at Okinawan houses, as one infantryman wrote, "There was some return fire from a few of the houses, but the others were probably occupied by civilians – and we didn't care... Soon after the U.S. marines landed, all the women of a village on Motobu Peninsula fell into the hands of American soldiers. At the time, there were only women, children and old people in the village, as all the young men had been mobilized for the war. Soon after landing, the marines "mopped up" the entire village, but found no signs of Japanese forces. Taking advantage of the situation, they started "hunting for women" in broad daylight and those who were hiding in the village or nearby air raid shelters were dragged out one after another... Marching south, men of the 4th Marines passed a group of some 10 American soldiers bunched together in a tight circle next to the road. They were 'quite animated,' noted a corporal who assumed they were playing a game of craps. 'Then as we passed them, I could see they were taking turns raping an oriental woman…..our outfit kept marching by as though nothing unusual was going on…"

0 ( +5 / -5 )

zichi,

Can't even think how it must have been, a hell on earth. The horrors of war should drive us all to ensure that these kinds of horrors are never repeated again.

Can't agree more.

Yet, as we speak, the bloodbath the US started in the Middle East continues. At the same time, the US is trying to contain China and bolster its East European "defences" against Russia. And puppy dog Abe is trying to change the Japanese constitution so that Japan can fight alongside (or instead of) its ally.

The horrors of war continue.

The only ones who benefit from war are arms manufacturers and those who collect the taxes from same.

As the title of this article states, "Okinawans still haunted by horror of war 70 years on."

They are.

Because it is still continuing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ Toshiko Could it be said that many people of Okinawa suffered because of the selfish miscalculations of the Japanese emperor. Again where are your stats.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, there was no justification for racist hate propaganda. The American military mass slaughtered innocent Okinawan and Japanese civilians. The murder of approximately one third of Okinawa`s civilian population is essentially genocide.

Japan bombed the US military base in Pearl. However, the US instigated hostilities between the nations when they actively took China's side in their war against Japan. Prior to this America had already invaded China and also the Philippines. The US invasion of the Philippines resulted in the death of approximately one million innocent Filipinos.

The fact remains that American and Japan were two rapacious, greedy and immoral imperial empires on a collision course for domination in the Pacific.

You still play the victim, yet Japan and the US are now allies. Time to live in the 21st century, otherwise people like you will cause the same thing to happen again.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Farmboy,

Your link shows only one side of the story as obviously there are other accounts which do not paint such favorable pictures of the American soldiers in Okinawa. While it may be considered a good summery by some, it can be seen exactly as a one-sided story showing American soldiers in a favorable light. I cannot see it as being any different from the Japanese trials to whitewash the horrors the IJA inflicted on people in many parts of Asia.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

toshiko the American trinity test or the gadget atomic bomb was exploded above ground contaminating vast amounts of American soil and killing untold millions by cancer. It and the tests that followed were an American tragedy as well.

Yubaru just because I hold resident status does not mean I want to lose my Japanese citizenship by taking an American one.

Again and again the lesson of Okinawa and the atomic bombs is about tragedy. If 82,000 is the correct American total that what is the total for the people of Okinawa? 500,000 thousand Okinawa casualties? Almost every building was destroyed on Okinawa, all public services, transportation, etc. The Americans could of bypassed it after taking out the airstrips. The invasion was not necessary for American victory.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

America puts the number of civilian deaths at about 150,000 but not all killed directly by them because of those forced to fight or commit suicide.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Yuri: Testing of A Bomb was done in Nevada, not in other 49 states in USA. Remind you there are 50 states in USA. There is an A Bomb Museum in Nevada. near Vegas. When USA plans to store all nuclear waste ships to Nye County Nevada politicians, casino owners and residents get together and opposed in past.

Back to topic, even Okinawa was attacked, Japanese military Govt did not want to stop war. Unconditional Surrender (Mujouken Kofuku) was Emperor's idea in Japan. People were sick and tired of war then, I don't think anyone believed we would become a jewel of 100 million pieces after we suicided/ (IchiOku GyokuSui). So. we had ketchup and in school, we practiced how to put ketchup in our front without making our school uniform dirtied before summer recess. Not soldiers but Govt we disliked in our area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes they are!

There are a few folks that are living in the 15th century here, well preserved, and still posting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When i think of the horrors of WWII, i thank of how Japan got to that place in history. I think about how the United States, after bombing the people of Okinawa, became a co-conspirator in the atrocities committed by Unit 731 in China between WWI and WWII. I think about the atrocities committed by the the United States when they dropped the bombs on Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I am ashamed to be an American.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@misunderstoodJUN. 25, 2015 - 03:19AM JST @ Toshiko Could it be said that many people of Okinawa suffered because of the selfish miscalculations of the Japanese emperor. Again where are your stats.

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I don;t have stat on your opinion.

Yuri oftne write with conjectures and so I asked her stat.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interesting..... the Japanese STARTED the war and then got paid back 100 times over for starting the war....

so.........whats the problem......

maybe they should NOT have sneak attacked Pearl Harbor......maybe they should NOT have done the Battan death march......maybe, maybe, maybe

As Admiral Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

He was right and they got back what they deserved...... I really DONT see what we did wrong....

as General Sherman said " war is hell "

-2 ( +3 / -6 )

@toshiko "Do you have stat?"

You need not stat, just read comments of average folks on JT.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

toshiko I am from Okinawa and am only living in Japan while my guy gets medical treatment. We will be returning to Okinawa in a year or so. While I have a green card am not an immigrant. How does living in a another country remove my being Okinawan?

As for the Americans they lost 7,000 dead vs 1/3 of the population of Okinawa or 200,000 people. In the war there were very few American civilians killed vs the millions of Japanese civilians. As for being interned hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were "interned" including American citizens. Inward facing machine guns meant they were in truth concentration camps.

As for playing the victim card, the crimes of the USA are alright? Something is just very wrong when a minority of a countries population must shoulder such burdens.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As for the Americans they lost 7,000 dead vs 1/3 of the population of Okinawa or 200,000 people. In the war there were very few American civilians killed vs the millions of Japanese civilians. As for being interned hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were "interned" including American citizens. Inward facing machine guns meant they were in truth concentration camps.

Your by numbers are off by quite a bit here Yuri, "U.S. manpower losses amounted to over 82,000 casualties, including non-battle casualties (psychiatric, injuries, illnesses) of whom over 12,500 were killed or missing"

You enjoy the liberty of a green card (making you an immigrant who chooses to live the best of both worlds). Yes the US put the Japanese in internment camps, there was much hatred towards Japan, (and at the time rightly so) for it's actions at Pearl Harbor.

Japan instigated the war, and yes few American civilians died, but that is only because of the oceans that protected it from the conflict.

You still play the victim, yet Japan and the US are allies, once enemies, but now friends. Time to live in the 21st century, otherwise people like you will cause the same thing to happen again, no come across as being no better than the Chinese or Koreans who protest against Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"...there was much hatred towards Japan, (and at the time rightly so)...."

I disagree. There was no justification for America's racist hate mongering.

"....Boy you have a strange view of history..."

My views are supported by mainstream historians. In this connection, I highly recommend Pulitzer Prize winning American historian John Dower's "Cultures of War".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Okinawan are not Japanese"

Yes they are!

They have a passport issued by the state and Government of Japan.

If they need to fill in any docs, the ONLY nationality they can declare is Japanese.

If they want to vote, they can only vote in Japan.

They can only be appointed to Governmental higher positions in Japan

An "Okinawan" can be Japan's Prime-Minister.

They can even become Emperors of Japan.

Okinawa itself is a JAPANESE NAME, given to the former Ryukyu, dead for all intents and purposes in 1609.

All said and done, you are slightly confused on this issue.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yet it did happen and the horror is still in progress. From my time in America, many Americans think the Japanese deserved to die. Never mind the people of Okinawa are not Japanese and had ZERO say in the government and foreign policy, odd sort of like today.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I cannot see it as being any different from the Japanese trials to whitewash the horrors the IJA inflicted on people in many parts of Asia.

What Japanese trials?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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