Former Governor Ota opens an exhibition hall on the Battle of Okinawa – “War is Ugly” is his message
March 1, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On March 5, former Governor of Okinawa and member of the House of Councilors Masahide Ota opened an exhibition hall of the Battle of Okinawa in the Ota Peace Research Institute in Naha. Through the years, the 86 year-old pacifist scholar and prominent politician has collected documents and photographs related to the Battle of Okinawa, the reconstruction of post-war Okinawa, and the Nazi genocide against the Jews. The 1760 separate items on display in the hall convey the horrors and misery of war.
Ota commented, “Many young people, particularly young Okinawans, do not know anything about the Battle of Okinawa. I want as many people as possible to understand the ugliness of war.” As a member of the Tekketsu Kinno Tai, or Blood and Iron Student Corps, Ota witnessed the devastation of his homeland during the Battle of Okinawa. He continued to research the battle as a professor of the University of the Ryukyus and since his time as a young professor, this dedicated researcher has gathered documents, photographs and records of the Battle of Okinawa from the National Archives in Washington, DC and other places.
Visitors to the exhibition will learn that many civilians were caught up in the fighting, and that huge numbers of people were killed. The displays include photographs related to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and military propaganda leaflets distributed by Japan and the United States during the Pacific War.
The Ota Peace Research Institute also has a seminar room. Ota said, “I would really like to see this place serve as a university for peace where people can learn about Okinawa and peace studies.”
The exhibition is open for viewing from 9:00am to 6:00pm. (Closed on Thursday). Admission costs 300 yen for members of the general public, 200 yen for students, but is free for elementary school pupils.
For further details, call the Ota Peace Research Institute at 098 (979) 9490.
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)
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