Villagers hold memorial service on Zamami Island marking 70 years since forced mass suicide

Villagers hold memorial service on Zamami Island marking 70 years since forced mass suicide

Participants offered incense to the war victims at the tower of peace in Zamami Village on March 26. (Photograph taken by Takaya Kinra)


March 27, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 26, 1945, U.S. forces landed on the Kerama Islands, beginning the ground war in Okinawa. To mark the seventieth anniversary since that day, the Zamami Village Office held a memorial service at the tower of peace. About 100 people, including survivors and bereaved families of the war dead, attended the service. The participants made a wish for ‘permanent peace and no more war.’ They said they felt a sadness that could not be erased, even 70 years after the end of the war. The memorial service was held for the first time in five years
.
The names of one thousand and two hundred war dead, 647 villagers, including victims of compulsory mass suicide, Japanese military soldiers, civilian personnel, including schoolteachers, and workers from the Korean peninsula have been engraved in the tower.

At the service, Mayor Satoru Miyazato said: “While we must forever endure the pain that can never be healed, people who survived the war have been able to spread the message of the preciousness of peace, as storytellers. Many of them have passed away,” “We should not forget the peace and richness of the island has been built on the painful sacrifice of many war dead and the day-to-day hardships of their family members.”

Fumio Hirata gave a memorial address on behalf of the bereaved family members. Student representatives from the three junior high schools on the island made a peace declaration.

(English translation by T&CT)

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