Battle of Okinawa testimony documentary film to be screened

Battle of Okinawa testimony documentary film to be screened

Curator Miwako Ueyonahara (second from left) of the Peace Memorial Museum and Director Minami Tamamoto of the World Youth Uchinanchu Association (far left) held a press conference about the film at the prefectural government building on September 24.

September 25, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

From September 28 at the Peace Memorial Museum in Itoman City, the Okinawa Prefectural Government will screen a documentary film featuring 350 Battle of Okinawa survivor testimonies.

To mark the film release, on September 28 a symposium was held with Professor Shinobu Yoshihama of Okinawa International University as guest speaker. The theme of the symposium was how to pass down lessons from the Battle of Okinawa to the next generation. Four days earlier, on September 24, Curator Miwako Ueyonabara of the museum and Director of the World Youth Uchinanchu Association Minami Tamamoto held a press conference at the prefectural government building. They called for many people to come to the museum to see the documentary.

The documentary film features 300 stories that survivors told their family members in a government project conducted in fiscal 2012. At the end of the year the government will release a further 50 stories from Hawaii and the Pacific Islands that the museum has edited. The museum has now collected and released a total of 600 testimonies. Referring to the large-scale publication of 350 testimonies, Ueyonahara stressed the need to pass down lessons learned from history to the next generation.

Tamamoto, one of panelists at the symposium with Professor Yoshihama and survivor Kojun Yokota, suggested using Shimakutuba or the Okinawan language as a new way to pass on the stories. She said, “We have only heard stories of the war told in Japanese. Some of the survivors have said they could tell their stories better in Shimakutuba. I would like to see a discussion of the war linked with the succession of language.”

As related events, from October the government will hold debriefing sessions on the neighboring islands and in the central and northern parts of Okinawa. For further details, call the project office at 098 (862) 0012.

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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