Davao statue memorial service held for the Okinawan war dead in Philippines

Davao statue memorial service held for the Okinawan war dead in Philippines

On May 15, at the memorial service held at the Statue of Davao in the Mabuni district of Itoman City, bereaved families offered incense and prayed for the war dead.

May 16, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 15 at the Statue of Davao at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City, the Okinawa Davao Association held a memorial service. About 150 people attended, including bereaved families of the victims of the Pacific War who died in Davao in the Philippines. They prayed for the war dead.

Before the Pacific War, many Okinawans emigrated to Davao. Later they became victims of the war. At the service, the president of the Okinawa Davao Association Yoshihiro Yamaniha stated, “It has been 69 years since the end of the war. However, the memory of the war remains deep in my brain and I cannot forget it.”

Seventy-three-year-old Sachiko Ishihara attended the service with her two sisters. She lost her little brother because of malnutrition when she and her family members evacuated to the mountains to avoid US military attack. Not knowing the war had ended, her family stayed hiding in the mountains after August 15. After the war, her family returned on a ship to Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture. However, her then-ten-year-old and eight-year-old brothers died from pneumonia.

Sachiko said, “If a war occurs, children who are short on physical strength will be the first victims. We should never cause any wars again.”

The Okinawa Davao Association will visit Davao City from July 20 to 26 to attend a memorial service.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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