Four young men who vandalized Chibichiri-gama set up 12 Buddha statues

Four young men who vandalized Chibichiri-gama set up 12 Buddha statues

A Buddha statue set up by the young men and the Bereaved Families Association on January 25 at Chibichiri-gama in Namihira, Yomitan Village. Photograph2: Minoru Kinjo set up the statue with the young men and said, "I hold out hope for these men."


January 26, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo



Between January 23 and 25, the four young men who vandalized Chibichiri-gama vistied the site with their probation officers as part of their probation program.

They assembled Buddha statues by attaching face and arm pieces that the bereaved family members and Minoru Kinjo had prepared beforehand, and set up these 12 statues around Chibichiri-gama.

Over these three days, they also put their hands together in prayer for the deceased in the cave.



On January 25, the four young men cleaned up Chibichiri-gama in Namihira, Yomitan where residents were forced to commit suicide during the Battle of Okinawa.

With Kinjo, creator of the Statue of Peace Connecting Generations at the entrance to the cave, they also set up 12 new Buddha statues.


They listened to the stories about “collective suicide” (collective forced death) from the Bereaved Families Association, and learned about the biggest tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa and the importance of passing the story down.



According to Yonaha, head of the Bereaved Families Association, the young men apologized again and said they did not know the history and committed a significant wrongdoing.

They expressed their desire to make sure such a crime will not happen again in the future, and to pass down stories of the Battle of Okinawa.

Yonaha said they were nodding with serious expressions at the words of the bereaved families.


Yonaha told the four young men, “Since you set up the statues, I would like you to visit gama to put your hands together in prayer.”

He recalled, “The boys reflected on their past conduct and seemed to have changed through work.” Kinjo said, “I was happy to see they were working silently. I hope the boys will pass down the history of the Battle of Okinawa.”



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

They were arrested for property damage and put on probation.


The Statue of Peace at the entrance to the cave was also damaged.

The bereaved families are considering working together with the young men to repair it.



(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)



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