Young men who vandalized Chibichirigama cave apologize, wish to learn about the Battle of Okinawa

Young men who vandalized Chibichirigama cave apologize, wish to learn about the Battle of Okinawa

Paper crane offerings from the young men on December 6 at Chibichirigama in Namihira, Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture


December 7, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


On December 6, four young men on probation for vandalizing the natural cave Chibichirigama visited the cave with their guardians and probation officers.

Chibichirigama, in Namihira, Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture was the site of “collective suicide” (collective forced death) by civilians during the Battle of Okinawa.

The young men visited the cave and apologized to the families of those who died there.

Norio Yonaha, head of the Bereaved Families Association, responded to the Ryukyu Shimpo’s interview by saying, “The young men will always live with the weight of their crime, but we at the Bereaved Families Association want to support them until they come of age so that they can return to society.

First and foremost, I want them to learn about Chibichirigama.”


According to Mr. Yonaha, each of the young men apologized, and they then placed paper cranes and flowers on the ossuary and put their hands together to pay tribute to the deceased.


The young men told the families that they would not do anything to hurt them again in the future and said that they wanted to study the Battle of Okinawa so they can teach their own children about it in the future.

One of the young men also delivered a letter containing words of apology.


The young men plan to work together with Minoru Kinjo, creator of the “Statue of Peace Connecting Generations” at the entrance to the cave, to repair the statue, and will also clean up the area around the cave.


Because the young men vandalized Chibichirigama as a prank without knowing the history of the cave, the families asked them to study Chibichirigama using materials and books, and to compile a report on what they learned.


In September, the young men pulled apart the strings of paper cranes inside the cave and destroyed mementos and signboards.

They were arrested for damaging physical articles and put on probation.


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)


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