Himeyuri screened in Germany: 180 people view the documentary in Japanese school

Himeyuri screened in Germany: 180 people view the documentary in Japanese school

The students of Japanese International School in Dusseldorf watch Himeyuri.

May 7, 2011 by Kumiko Hokama, a correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

Himeyuri (2007), a full-length documentary, which ASIA Documentary Productions and the Himeyuri Alumnae Incorporated Foundation collaborated on to produce, was screened at Japanese International School Dusseldorf (principal: Yoichi Fukumori) in Germany .

One hundred eighty students from fifth-grade in elementary school to third-year in junior high school viewed the film. After intently watching the two-hour long documentary, the students expressed their appreciation of those survivors who related their experiences of the Battle of Okinawa, allowing the children to deepen their understanding of the history of Okinawa.

The film was screened in the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne in 2010, which then led to two further screenings in Eko house in Dusseldorf. After watching it in Eko house, Hiromi Kida, the school’s executive officer, wanted the students to see it too, leading to the first screening of Himeyuri in a Japanese school overseas.

The students each reacted differently to the film. Many felt string feeling of respect towards the survivors, saying, “I am very grateful to those who talked about their experiences despite having been through such awful things.”

Other students said, “It was shocking that more than half of the Himeyuri Student Corps were killed even though they weren’t soldiers.” “It was cruel for them to be compelled to commit suicide” and “Okinawan people were caught up in an absolutely terrible battle all those years ago.”

Rika Iriomote, who is originally from Okinawa, but now teaches at the school in Germany, watched the film for the first time, saying, “It is really important for people like us who have never experienced the horrors war not to forget the courage and intensity of feeling of those who talked about their wartime experiences in Himeyuri. We need to keep this story going from one generation to the next. I think it is really heartening for us Okinawans to have someone like Mr. Kida convey the story of the Battle of Okinawa with such great passion.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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