American veteran passes on information about Okinawa’s postwar history

March 11, 2013 Tamiko Suzuki Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

Through his website entitled REMEMBERING OKINAWA HISTORY, American veteran Donn Cuson, who currently resides in the suburbs of Tucson, Arizona, provides information on Okinawan history under the U.S. occupation from 1945 to 1972.

Cuson said that as the years pass information on the Okinawa of that time is becoming increasingly scarce. He hopes that the website will serve to remind people of the postwar history of Okinawa, and help to keep memories fresh.

Cuson went on to say that he has created a log of postwar Okinawan events that he wants both Americans and Japanese to know about. He said that many young people do not know what happened in postwar Okinawa, how their grandparents and parents who survived the battle lived after the war had ended, or that the U.S. military was committed to contributing to the reconstruction of Okinawa. Cuson says that all of the materials that he has collected are useful for understanding Okinawa’s postwar history.

The website provides snapshots of urban scenes and views of U.S. military bases, Naha and Koza City (currently Okinawa City), people engaging in their jobs and the daily life of Okinawans through the postwar period. Cuson has also posted an intriguing video of Naminoue during the 1960s. In addition, the website introduces postcards, postage stamps of Okinawa, Okinawan karate, various relics and memorabilia, and readers’ comments.

Cuson provided the Ryukyu America Historical Research Society with 151 separate materials that he collected during the period from 1945 to 1972, something that the Ryukyu Shimpo has previously published an article about.

Cuson, who turns 70 this year, joined the U.S. Air Force in 1963. Stationed at Kadena Air Base, he was in Okinawa for a total of four years. Somehow linked by fate, Cuson went on to marry Kim, who was originally from Naha. After his retirement from the armed forces, Cuson worked in the aerospace industry as a microelectronics manufacturer and worked on notable projects such as the landing on the moon. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in engineering.

After that, Cuson became a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve. During that time, he worked for a private company as an electrician, setting up factories in South Korea and China, as well as managing manufacturing processes and facilities.

Cuson said that his stay in Okinawa was a very meaningful period in his life. He went on to say that he launched the website after thinking about Okinawa in the old days because he thought that Okinawa had changed so much.
Cuson’s website can be found at www.rememberingokinawa.com

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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