Remains from the Battle of Okinawa found in Nishihara

Remains from the Battle of Okinawa found in Nishihara

Human remains that seem to be of people killed during the Battle of Okinawa were found in the Kochi area of Nishihara by Yoshikiyo Takaesu on June 14.


June 16, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 15, in the Kochi area of Nishihara, seven sets of remains that seem to have been soldiers and young civilian personnel of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Battle of Okinawa were found. Among those, there are skulls and teeth with three sets of remains. Yoshikiyo Takaesu, a representative of Gamafuya, the volunteer group dedicated to the recovery of remains of the Battle of Okinawa, said, “If we can carefully collect these remains, we should be able to find something to identify them from. The teeth of the remains are really well preserved, so we may be able to conduct DNA testing on them.” The group hopes to collect the remains and return them to the bereaved families.

Takaesu found the remains them this January scattered along a 200 meter-long ridge of a steep slope. Considering their state and the location they were in, the local police first looked to confirm that there were no related incidents on file. Bone thickness would suggest that two of the three remains that had teeth were young boys. It is possible that they were students mobilized during the Battle of Okinawa. Black buttons and a safety-pinned name-tag that did not belong to a military uniform, were found near one set of remains, but the name could not be identified.

During the Battle of Okinawa, the 11th Company of the 22nd Infantry Regiment was stationed at Kochi, where many artillery shells were later found. Five remains were found in a cave in 2009. At the request of Gamafuya, the Japanese government has been conducting DNA testing on the remains as well as on people who could possibly be the bereaved families. Takaesu said, “The fact remains are still being found despite 67 years having passed since the end of the war is testimony to cruelty of the war. I hope that as many sets of remains as possible can be returned to the bereaved families.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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