Praying for life-saving cave and peace at Shiohira Gongen Festival
June 10, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
A ceremony to give thanks for the natural cave that saved more than 500 evacuees during the Battle of Okinawa was held on June 9. The ceremony, Shiohira Gongen Festival, took place in front of the cave known as “Shiohira Gongen cave” located in between Shiohira and Ahagon in Itoman City. The ceremony is held annually on May 5 of the lunar calendar. Forty-five residents gathered at the ceremony, offered treats and prayed.
Residents in Shiohira evacuated into the cave for about three months from March 23 of 1945. They were chased off by Japanese military but returned to the cave, and almost all of them were taken into US custody on June 14.
Eighty-one year old resident Masahiro Kinjo who was among those to survive by escaping into the cave remembered the time and said, “When the attack became more severe we cooked food in the cave. We suffered with the smoke and endured as we crouched down on the ground.”
(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)
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