A list of Okinawan POWs in Hawaii was discovered in Okinawa Prefectural Archives

A list of Okinawan POWs in Hawaii was discovered in Okinawa Prefectural Archives


July 21, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 20, a list of Okinawans who were captured during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 and taken to a prison camp in Hawaii was found in the Okinawa Prefectural Archives. In February, Kaori Akiyama, who researches the compulsory detention of Japanese people in Hawaii at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, found the list.

According to Akiyama, approximately 3,600 names are on the list. Many details such as the reasons for transferring Okinawan POWs to Hawaii remain unexplained in the studies of the Battle of Okinawa. Akiyama says, “It may lead to uncovering the whole picture.”

The Prefectural Archives got hold of the list from the United States National Archives. Since 2002, the Prefectural Archives has released the list with the title of “Military Police Long Mails.” In the list, prisoners’ names, class, ID numbers, and addresses are described in English.

According to Akiyama, the dates of registration are August 5, August 11, September 8, September 14, September 25, October 16, November 23, 1945.

At least 12 Okinawan POWs who were taken to Hawaii died in Hawaii. Their remains have not yet been found. In June, a memorial service was held in Hawaii for the first time. Families of victims and ex-POWs requested the Prefecture progress with the collection of remains.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana) 

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