Former governor Masahide Ota touted ‘Apostle of Peace’ at his memorial service

Former governor Masahide Ota touted ‘Apostle of Peace’ at his memorial service

Many people paying their respects to Masahide Ota at his memorial service in Urasoe City, Okinawa

June 16, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

The memorial service for former governor of Okinawa Prefecture Masahide Ota was held at Inanse Ceremonial Hall (Inanse Kaikan) in Urasoe City on June 15. Ota passed away on June 12, which was his 92nd birthday. Those who attended the service included his students from his time as a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, persons who knew him through political and financial circles, persons acquainted with him elsewhere, and others; attendees numbered 1,500 altogether.

Former vice-governor of Okinawa Prefecture Mikio Higa, a long-time family friend of Ota’s, delivered a memorial address at the service. He described Ota as an ‘apostle of peace,’ saying, “Ota-san was delivered to humanity to teach everyone to understand the folly of war and the value of peace.”

Higa talked about his state of mind when he heard Ota had passed away in a hospital room amid a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday.’ He choked on his words and turned away as he said, “I could not bear the shock and grief.”

Ota’s 65-year-old nephew Kaoru Yamazato also spoke at the service, representing the bereaved family. He said, “On Uncle Masahide’s 92nd birthday, peacefully surrounded by his family while listening to ‘Happy Birthday,’ he passed on as though falling asleep.” As Yamazato thanked attendees for coming, he mentioned that in accordance with Ota’s wishes he intends to make a portion of the condolence gifts received at the memorial service useful to peacemaking efforts.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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