Donald Keene visits the Cornerstone of Peace in Itoman

Donald Keene visits the Cornerstone of Peace in Itoman

On December 13, at the Cornerstone of Peace in Itoman, noted scholar of Japanese literature Donald Keene commented that war is a terrible mistake and should never be repeated.

December 14, 2012, Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 13, Donald Keene, the famous 90-year-old scholar of Japanese literature, visited the Cornerstone of Peace in Itoman, offering prayers for the victims of the Battle of Okinawa. Keene participated in the battle as an interpreter for the U.S. military. He said, “Many civilians were killed unnecessarily. There are many reasons why armed conflicts occur, but choosing war is the biggest mistake we can make. It should never be repeated.”

Keene landed in Okinawa in 1945. He interrogated Japanese prisoners and appealed to Japanese soldiers to surrender. Keene said that he had a strong desire to rescue Japanese people, but many civilians firmly believed Japanese military propaganda that if they were captured by U.S. soldiers, women would be raped and children would be killed, so they opted to die as quickly as they could. The responsibility of the Japanese military in creating this situation is significant.
Keene is also concerned about the recent territorial disputes over the Senkaku and Takeshima Islands, and commented that all human beings are capable of negotiating, and so we should not make hasty choices on courses of action. He went on to say that peace should be something that all of mankind aspires to achieve and maintain.

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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