Tokashiki Village holds memorial service for mass suicide victims

Tokashiki Village holds memorial service for mass suicide victims

On March 28 at Shiratama no To on Tokashiki Island, attendees of the memorial service joined their hands in prayer facing the stone slab.


March 29, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo



On March 28 at Shiratama no To, Tokashiki Village hosted a memorial service for those who died in the “collective suicide” (compulsory mass suicide) 73 years prior on March 28, 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa.

More than 100 bereaved family members and concerned persons attended. Attendees looked for names of their family members and friends on the stone slab, offered flowers nearby, and joined their hands in prayer.



Tokashiki Village’s mayor Yoshikatsu Matsumoto gave an address, saying, “Time flies like an arrow, 73 years have passed.

We must not forget the tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa.”

He then indicated his determination to pass down knowledge of this tragic history to the next generation.



Students of Tokashiki Elementary and Junior High School dedicated an art piece of folded paper cranes forming the character for “oath,” which indicates a vow of non-war.

Kanta Yamamoto, a second-year student from the Junior High School said, “We want to pass down stories we heard from survivors and through our peace studies,” and quietly prayed facing the stone slab.



Jitsui Makiya was the 5th mayor of Tokashiki Village and the head of an industrial association during the war.

He and his wife, Nahe, died in a group suicide. His daughter, 91-year-old Sachiko Miyagi from Ginowan City, traced the names of her parents engraved on the stone slab with her fingers, tearfully murmuring: “Dad, Mom.”



Miyagi was born on Tokashiki Island. She was mobilized to the Zuisen Student Corps during the war when she was 16 years old and living on Okinawa Island. It was after Japan’s defeat that she was informed of the death of her parents.

“Tears will not wither, no matter where on the island I look the tears flow. I will not let anyone have such experiences ever again,” she said with a grim look.



On March 27, 1945, the U.S. Army landed on Tokashiki Island.

The Japanese military ordered the residents to gather at Nishiyama at the northern part of the island.

On the 28th, displaced residents were cornered and forced to commit “collective suicide,” resulting in the death of 330 people.



(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)


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