Tsushima Maru Memorial Unveiled in Uken
March 20, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
Midori Iwasaki reporting from Amami Oshima
The monument commemorating the evacuation boat “Tsushima Maru,” which was sunk by a torpedo attack from an American submarine in August, 1944, had its unveiling ceremony March 19 at Funoshi beach in Uken, on Amami Oshima in Kagoshima. Around 100 attendees, among which were 20 survivors and descendants from Okinawa, prayed for victims while looking out over the ocean.
According to a person involved with the monument on Amami Oshima, where a large number of victims floated ashore, “We created a place where descendants can memorialize [the event]. We hope that this place will tell later generations about the Tsushima Maru.”
There are two other memorials for the Tsushima Maru. The first is “Kozakura no To” in Wakasa, Naha; the other is in Akusekijima, part of the Tokara Islands in Kagoshima. Because there was no monument in Amami Oshima, up until now when descendants and survivors visited the island they lamented that there was no place for them to offer their prayers.
As the number of people who lived through this experience grows smaller, one person from Uken who was rescued at the time, Antoku Oshima , 90, said that, “The event must not be forgotten.” The people of the town listened, and formed a “Construction Executive Committee,” received funding from the town, and completed the construction.
Uken Mayor Nobuari Motoda said, “I hope this monument passes down the memory of the war, and is useful in educating the area about peace. Our mission is to continue sending this message.”
Keiko Taira, 82, from Ogimi, who was rescued after boarding the Tsushima Maru said, “The misery of the people of Amami Oshima must not be forgotten. Okinawan Vice-Governor Isho Urasaki commented, “I hope that many people will visit the memorial, and will continue to express the value of peace.” After the ceremony, the children of Uken received education materials about the Tsushima Maru from the Tsushima Maru Memorial Association.
(Translated by T&CT and Sam Grieb)
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