Junior high school students clean up Okinawa battle site for preservation

Junior high school students clean up Okinawa battle site for preservation

The participants entered Iriyuji-gama cave, a historical battle site in Gushikami, Yaese Town, on August 21.

September 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

A non-profit organization called shizen taiken gakko (Nature Experience School) Okinawa branch in Yaese Town held a clean-up event at a battle site in Iriyuji-gama cave in Gushikami, Yaese Town, on August 21. Twenty-seven participants from Gushikami Junior High School and the general public attended the event to clean up litter around the cave and to learn about the local historical battle site.

The Iriyuji-gama was used by soldiers belonging to the Japanese Imperial army as the headquarters for the 5th troop from the 89th Infantry Regiment. The cave was also used as a storage space for documents from the Gushikami village office. Seventy-one years after the war, the cave is still not well known among the neighboring residents, and it has been degraded by illegally dumped waste around its entrance.

The chief leader of the NPO group, Tomoya Yoshimura, explained the purpose of the event, saying, “By cleaning up the battle site, we can let people know about the presence of such a cave in Yaese Town. I hope this place can be a space used for peace education in future.”

After the event, the participants entered into the cave and received instructions on how the cave was used in the war. A senior student of Gushikami Junior High School Shota Nakama remarked, “The preservation situation was pretty bad with a lot of waste, so I’m glad I was able to attend this event. I think it’s important to continue informing people about how such a battle site existed in Yaese Town.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)
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