Family of Korean war victims faces difficulty in getting names inscribed on Okinawa Cornerstone of Peace Memorial

Family of Korean war victims faces difficulty in getting names inscribed on Okinawa Cornerstone of Peace Memorial

“Marine Roster” showing the assignment of Quan Un-son to the Special Surface Force 104 Squadron

October 6, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The family of two Korean war victims who were suspected to have died in Okinawa had been hoping to get the victims’ names inscribed on the Cornerstone of Peace in Mabuni, Itoman City. However, on October 5, they were told they could not apply because there was no official record to prove the victims died in Okinawa. A representative of “Okinawa han no hi no kai,” an organization that helps war victim families with procedures to get names inscribed, said, “To reveal the truth of Korean war victims dying in Okinawa, we hope to have flexible enforcement of inscription rules for Koreans.”

The two victims are Quan Un-son and Pak Hui-te. According to the enlistment record stored by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, both were assigned to the Special Surface Force 104 Squadron under the direct control of the 32nd Army. The squadron formation chart also shows that Quan was assigned to the 3rd Platoon on Okinawa Island, and Pak belonged to the 1st Platoon on Tokashiki Island.

According to Tokiko Okamoto of “Okinawa Han no hi no kai,” Su-chon, the son of Quan Un-son, heard a testimony about Un-son’s death from survivors of the Battle of Okinawa. He was told his father sought shelter in a cave that was later bombed.” Chuna, the daughter of Pak, also heard that Pak was decapitated by a Japanese soldier because “he stole and ate a potato from a civilian residence.”

However, the official record in the Korean family registry only says “missing” and “death” on the Korean family registry.

On September 23, “Okinawa Han no hi no kai” submitted a petition requesting research on Korean victims of the Battle of Okinawa and inscription of the two names. The September Education and Welfare Committee Regular Meeting deliberated on the petition on October 6. Okimoto said, “The Japanese government does not carry out research, so most Korean victims are recorded ‘missing.’ To convey a precise picture of the Battle of Okinawa to the next generation and to follow the principle of the Cornerstone of Peace, inscription rules for Korean victims should be as flexible as for Okinawans.”

As for Korean victims, more than 10,000 victims are enshrined at the Korean War Memorial in Peace Memorial Park. Meanwhile, the number of inscribed names on the Cornerstone of Peace is 447, which includes North and South Koreans. Inscription of Korean war victims is an ongoing issue for the Cornerstone of Peace.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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